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Through the Kagami 鏡

Mirrors can represent truth back to us. Do you see yourself reflected in your training? What is reflected?


The mirror or kagami 鏡 plays a crucial role in Japanese culture. It is one of three Imperial relics handed down from the gods along with the sword and jewel. It was hung from a tree to lure the sun godess Amaterasu out from hiding in a cave. Her brother Susano-o had filled the world with darkness and storms, but when she peeked out and saw her own reflection of light, she felt safe.

Soke has mentioned the idea that training is a process that polishes our hearts till they reflect one another purely. As you would polish a bronze mirror.

The Kamidana we pay our respects to in the dojo has a mirror in the shrine to attract the Kami residing in its reflection. Mirrors are significant in Shinto as the reflective surfaces are thought capable of revealing without prejudice the true aspect of any person or object placed before them.

The word kagami also has a different kanji which means: to take warning or learn a lesson from. If we take the 'ga' (self, ego) out of the word kagami we end up having the word "kami" which is spirit.

And what reflection does Soke see? He says that: "Soke signifies nothingness, zero, emptiness, void. Something that exists, and yet does not. The Soke is just an ordinary person, and yet, somehow, he is someone who is living his life according to some invisible divine command. You see, I do not live by my conscious mind, not at all, so that whatever I have thought up till now can just suddenly change in my mind, though it is not a consciously engineered change."



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