My personal "Interpretive" Lens!
"One thing has always been true: That book ... or ... that person who can give me an idea or a new slant on an old idea is my friend." - Louis L'Amour
"Read not to contradict and confute; nor to believe and take for granted; nor to find talk and discourse; but to weigh and consider..." - Francis Bacon
"What is true today may be reevaluated as false not long after. Judgements are frequently based upon a set of "temporary" circumstances surrounding them. Conflicting ideologies can exist simultaneously. Antagonistic dualities are complementary aspects of a unified whole: are seen as mutually dependent mirror images of each other." - Nahum Stiskin
Warning, Caveat and Note: The postings on this blog are my interpretation of readings, studies and experiences therefore errors and omissions are mine and mine alone. The content surrounding the extracts of books, see bibliography on this blog site, are also mine and mine alone therefore errors and omissions are also mine and mine alone and therefore why I highly recommended one read, study, research and fact find the material for clarity. My effort here is self-clarity toward a fuller understanding of the subject matter. See the bibliography for information on the books.
Note: I will endevor to provide a bibliography and italicize any direct quotes from the materials I use for this blog. If there are mistakes, errors, and/or omissions, I take full responsibility for them as they are mine and mine alone. If you find any mistakes, errors, and/or omissions please comment and let me know along with the correct information and/or sources.
A person's heart is the same as Heaven and Earth while the blood circulating is similar to the Sun and Moon yet the manner of drinking and spitting is either soft or hard while a person's unbalance is the same as a weight and the body should be able to change direction at any time as the time to strike is when the opportunity presents itself and both the eyes must see all sides as the ears must listen in all directions while the mind must grasp all the tactual data not seen on all sides and not heard in any direction.
A person’s heart is the same as Heaven and Earth while circulatory system is similar to the cycles of the moon and sun yet the breathing methods are either hard or soft while one’s posture should allow one to advance, retreat, engage, and disengage as the body should be able to act in accordance with time and change so that one must enter a state of emptiness (mushin/zanshin) allowing the eyes must see all sides and the ears should listen in all directions while the mind must grasp all the tactual data not seen on all sides and not heard in any direction. - My rendition per translation from Andy Sloane Sensei.
A Discussion of Heaven (Heaven is pure eminence and pure Wisdom)
Bear with me, I took excerpts out so I could comment on them. Look for the [comments to be in brackets] while the excerpts stand along in quotations.
As we begin with the first excerpt let me say that how the ancient Chinese sages define their usage of "Heaven" is greatly separated by a chasm of opposites where its inference is not of the Heaven we tend to think in our religious views. So, in that light DO NOT TAKE OFFENSE when an explanation seems to be outside your current understandings. It is like the "rei or bow" in traditional dojo which is a basic Asian courtesy and not some way of demeaning an individual or make them feel subservient to the Sensei.
Let me stress that my comments will be geared toward Karate primarily with smatterings of reference to the classics so it will be limited by this effort. Remain aware that it all goes much further and deeper than I can go at this point of my studies. This post is my viewpoint through my interpretive lens (lens in reference to the "third eye" for seeing the more esoteric values).
We begin …
"Heaven's ways are constant."
[It may be a reference in our gokui that it is important to remain constant in the practice of the fundamentals where those same fundamentals remain intact at the core yet allow for the constant change of humans to adapt and assimilate to our own uniqueness.]
"If you practice the Way and are not of two minds, then Heaven cannot bring you misfortune."
[First, this seems like stating a double negative to reach a positive. This is just the way they thought and wrote in those times. It could be the actual characters the Chinese wrote but it must be kept in mind that in translation the translator could have inserted the form which could reflect that individual, it is s subjective matter for the reader to accept or not. In my way I see the reference to "two minds" to be the present moment mind and the mind that allows the intrusion of both past and future thoughts to distract. Yes, we still have to reference past and possible future to come to some consensus in acting in the present but this should not be to the detriment of the present moment mind.
If we practice the Way where the mind is trained to remain in the now, the present moment, and that training is constant then we are able to avoid that misfortune. The Way is to use the singular practice of some art form to teach us about the two minds and how we can take some semblance of control thus control of our lives.]
"To bring to completion without acting, to obtain without seeking - this is the work of Heaven."
[Mushin or mind-no-mind, a complex way of remaining in present moment mind where the past training and practice are reached quicker by the mind/brain for acting in life situations which include the possible use of karate where the intrusion of the second mind, thoughts of past or future possibilities, etc., cause the present moment mind to delay and lose focus results in not winning, in anything, but if one can not act or not seek to stay in present moment mind then they can complete things quickly in the manner prescribed.]
"Heaven has its seasons; earth has its riches; man has his governance. Hence man may form a triad with the other two."
[A person is same as Heaven and Earth; Heaven has a rhythm and pattern that it follows by reference to the seasons that come and go, i.e. summer, fall, winter, and spring. This is constant while the Earth with its riches, i.e. land, water, trees, flowers, the soil to grow and provide food, etc. Then man, or person whose heart is good natured, provides governance which is tantamount to full realization of the cycles of the seasons and governs human actions to balance out actions accordingly, i.e. when to plant, when to store up for winter, etc. Man is the middle point of the triad of Heaven, Man, and Earth which is referenced a great deal in the interpretations of the I Ching or the Book of Changes.
Heaven, the seasons, the sun and moon, Earths involvement and Man's role as the fulcrum to balance all is a way to show the various ebbing and flowing of karate-do, i.e. balance of the person literally and mentally, the ability to shift and translate movement, when to focus, strike, deflect, etc. and what we do to perceive, evaluate and act from perceptions of the mind through the "eyes and ears."]
"The ranks of stars move in progression, the sun and moon shine in turn, the four seasons succeed each other in good order, the yin and yang go through their great transformations, and the wind and rain pass over the whole land."
[What better explanation of life and in smaller parts the practice of karate-do. Movement in progression means that we must not change or subvert the steps/processes of practice and training to achieve movement to more exciting places. We always have to first provide fundamentals and through natural progression of training and practice achieve efficiency and proficiency to gain the next level. Each description affirms this in a manner much like the need to practice, practice, practice and then when you get it practice again. It is that rhythm and pattern of life and karate-do, it provides us the guidance to remain on track at all times even when we might be tempted to bypass natural progression of training.
Yin and Yang going through transformations is practice and training with diligence and continuity so that we may transform ourselves within and without so when actions are required we are knowledgable and proficient enough to act according to the natural laws of the Universe.]
"Ears, eyes, nose, mouth, and body all have that which they perceive, but they cannot substitute for one another. They are called the Heavenly faculties. The heart dwells in the center and governs the five faculties, and hence is called the heavenly lord."
[Much like the spirit conveyed by Tatsuo for Isshinryu as referenced by the gokui we as practitioners should listen to our "hearts" and use our senses with emphasis on eyes and ears to perceive all the myriad things of Heaven, Man and Earth with out preconceptions caused by our current perceptions and beliefs. This is necessary to avoid being trapped by our own minds tendency to stay in a comfort zone and to not see or not hear facts, truth and those things that bring about changes in the mind and in our practice and training.
We need to allow our hearts to help us move beyond the limitations of the minds perceptions governed by our emotions, etc. ]
"When we turn our thoughts to Heaven, we seed to understand only those phenomena which can be regularly expected. When we turn our thoughts to Earth, we seek to understand only those aspects that can be taken advantage of. When we turn our thoughts to the four seasons, we seek to understand only the changes that will affect our undertakings. When we turn our thoughts to the Yin and Yang, we seek to understand only the modulations which call for some action on our part."
[Phenomena and aspects to be expected is determined by the level of knowledge and experience which is attained by seeking the knowledge with out restrictions or preconceptions and the experience by what we do in practice and training which is always influenced by the knowledge as training of the mind/brain. The thoughts to the four seasons is about the variances we encounter in training and in combat where attaining the knowledge and experience provides the understanding of the changes these encounters affect on us and take appropriate actions to counter or accept the benefits or detriments of those actions.
By understanding the concepts of the classics and in particular the ebb and flow or polar extremes and those variances that travel between we understand the changes and the lack of permanence in all things be they of Heaven, of Man, or of Earth and all the myriad things of the Universe.]
"Heaven has its constant way; Earth has its constant dimensions; Man has his constant demeanor."
[In the constants of the Way of the Empty Hand we can readily see and experience the microcosm of life with particulars toward the mental influencing the actions/physical acts to achieve greater understanding and by way of that avoidance of those detrimental influences, i.e. acceptance and manipulations for benefits vs. detriment.]
"If you have no faults of conduct, why be distressed at what others say?"
[Karate-do by way of gokui allows us to go further than the mere physical but into those realms that allows us to see and hear our own faults. Knowing and learning our faults allows us to make changes and that is what life is about, changes and finding the balance.]
"To be refined in purpose, rich in virtuous action, and clear in understanding; to live in the present and remember the past - these are things which are within our own power."
[Teachings, seeking knowledge and understanding of ourselves lead to understanding of others and society so we may act appropriately in all situations is within our power and through our singular practice and study of the way we can see, hear, and understand clearly so that our practice teaches us to consider the past with out its emotional/mental baggage so that our present moment mind remains clear and open, all within our power to achieve only if we acknowledge the truth of the Universe as taught through practice and gokui.]
"The sun and moon are subject to eclipses, wind and rain do not always come at the proper season, and strange stars occasionally appear."
[A reminder that nothing is written in stone, all things are subject to change and its influences but what is done with that knowledge is critical. This is the teachings that although we accomplish great things those things may need change to continue the progression of Heaven, Man and Earth as depicted by references to the rhythms, patterns, and influences of the sun and moon, hard life and softer living, our balance to life and nature, our ability to change direction when change is necessary, to act when action is appropriate, and to see and hear all things and not just those that provide comfort, etc.]
"In the Heavens nothing is brighter than the sun and moon; on Earth nothing is brighter that fire and water; among natural objects nothing is brighter than pearls and jewels; among men nothing is brighter than ritual principles."
[Ritual principles including a rhythm and pattern developed by the practice of such principles as adherence to the natural progression of learning a fighting art such as karate/karate-do.]
"If you harmonize with what is best in the Way, all will go well."
[To harmonize is to create a symbiotic relationship between our spirit and mind; between ourselves and our fellow practitioners; between ourselves and others of society. The self improvement resulting in the betterment of self that transcends our ego's and allows for beneficial and harmonious connections to all the myriad things of this Earth in direct result to the recognition of Heaven, Man and Earth.]
Watson, Burton. "Basic Writings of Mo Tzu, Hsun Tzu, and Han Fei Tzu." New York, Columbia University Press. 1967.