Essays From The Master

Archive for March, 2012

The immovable heart and mind

Komuso No Fudoshin: The immovable heart and mind of the Monk of the void
It has been noted that the kanji for Nin is composed of the ideograms for Ken or blade and Kokoro or heart. Ken and Kokoro fuse to form Nin which can be read as stealth or endurance which the Komuso Ryu understands as meaning “enduring through stealth.” In order to “endure through stealth” the ninja of the Komuso has among his tools the Fudoshin or immovable heart and mind. The first principle that a student of the Komuso Ryu learns is “the mind is all” and that the mind is his first and best weapon or blade. It is said that the sword in action expresses or reflects the spirit of the one that uses it and is thus is the key to either paradise or the inferno as these states of reality are found within. In life it is the mind that makes living paradise or a torture, at the moment of death it is what the mind expects that creates the death-scape for the present incarnation while the eternal spirit moves on in keeping with the path of that spirit. The wedding of the heart and mind puts the total energy of the individual under the conscious control of that individual i.e. the unity of thought and action through the will.
To achieve Fudoshin the ninja must quiet his own mind, understand his own feelings and what they respond to and cultivate his will to mirror that of the cosmos i.e. the will must be ruthless to achieve the goals of the individual. It should be noted that while the will of the individual should be ruthless the mind and emotions of the individual should be disciplined by a code that reflects the innermost spirit of that individual. Fudoshin is the ability to experience all that is going on in one’s sphere of influence without the actual will of the individual being disturbed and one’s goal being achieved. Fudoshin is not a lack of emotion or being unaware or unconcerned as to the possible outcomes of a given action rather it is an ability to act beyond one’s self if needed. Emotions that are negative tend to cause memories to replay as other than facts which usually manifests as one rehearsing ills in one’s life. By using the will, which builds the will, to silence these phantoms of memory and choosing to feed the emotional feedback that adds to one’s will one finds that the goals of the will are obtained in spite of circumstances be they inner or outer in nature.
Fudoshin is known in some circles as fighting spirit but the state of being is far from being limited to combat. To develop the Fudoshin of the Komuso the student stops themselves in some way when a negative memory-emotional complex rises unbidden such as forgoing some pleasure when one indulges in one’s litany of suffering as one example of practice. By forcing one’s self to silence said litany and enflaming the will the self is focused on the present and the goal of the will. Emotive-memory complexes draw energy in order to keep going and so silencing them frees up energy to go toward one’s will and the goals one is seeking through that will. This state of being is also what allows one to endure great pain and not reveal information because the pain does not matter. In the case of being questioned the goal of the will is to not reveal what one is being asked about and to do so is no more than saying yes or no. Silencing the litany of suffering is one means of building the Fudoshin and is a precursor to using it. By learning how to silence the inner enemy one learns how to call it forth in others which is another weapon in the arsenal of the Silent Way.
The term Fudoshin in part from the name of the deity Fudo-Myoo that is shown holding a sword as well as a lariat and is a patron of the martial arts as well some Shugendo sects. The Kami that embodies and is the patron of the Komuso Ryu is Susano who is known to use a sword that was drawn from a dragon of chaos which marks the Fudoshin of the Komuso Ryu distinct from that embodied by Fudo-Myoo. Susano in legend is a ruler of the Tengu or slayers of vanity and the Underworld which in the practice of Fudoshin refers to control of self image, the ability to sift data and access to those parts of the self that the masses think are hidden or unconscious. The sword of Susano is Kusanagi or “the sword of the gathering storm of Heaven” or “the divine sword of storm” is symbolized by the inverted crescent moon in the crest of the Komuso Ryu showing the Fudoshin in a visual form.
A further practice to develop Fudoshin is to stand before a candle and allow the flame to touch the palm using the aura to repel the flame. In the beginning of this practice the pain of the flame is used to focus the mind and the will is used to ignore the pain. Pain is not the point of this practice as anyone can simply allow damage if the will is set on doing so. The point of this practice is to use the Fudoshin to focus through circumstance and repel flame as an example of the active use of Fudoshin. The image of Susano used by the Komuso Ryu has nine arms one for each of the mudra used in Kuji Kiri and all that they symbolize marking it as distinct from the general Kami of the same name. In Kuji Kiri one is made to harness each element of nature and the student of the Komuso Ryu should develop ways of using each of the nine elements to build Fudoshin.
While Fudoshin may sound esoteric it is mundane in nature being merely focus and self control pushed past what is assumed to be normal. The Fudoshin is a means to overcome manipulation linking it to the discipline of Haragei being one of the higher forms of that form of Kuji Kiri. By having an immovable mind and heart that is not swayed by emotive memory reaction one is able to protect the concerns of both the mind and the heart. Fudoshin is not meant to negate having connections in life but rather it concerns having undo attachments to those connections in life which are needed so that life can be lived fully. The heart or spirit of the individual is what wields the mind as a blade through the will as a means to express that spirit. Fudoshin makes anything in the world a weapon if need be or the body able to endure any circumstance or enables one to see through to the truth of things.
By having a will that is set beyond the influence of circumstance the adept need not devote energy to the actions that go with the doing of that will as the will so trained draws what is needed to it from the self whose will it is. The action of an immovable mind and heart is an embodiment of what the Kanji of Nin expresses as a paradigm i.e. to endure through stealth and by enduring triumph. The means to endure is not an end in and of its self it is a tool so that one can enjoy the fruits of one’s own actions. Fudoshin is more than a weapon or armor it is one of the keys to objective action both in life and combat. It is through Fudoshin that the adept shatters the mirror of subjection and deals with the world as it actually is.