|photo by katclay|
What is Ninpo Ikkan exactly? Well, as with a lot of Japanese to English interpretations you will find many answers (an interesting lesson in itself). A simple expression of Ninpo Ikkan is consistent devotion to the way of the ninja or the way of perseverance. Ninpo 忍法 being the way of the ninja, or as Soke sometimes writes, 忍宝 NinPo, or the treasure of nin.
Where is the treasure?
First, to find the treasure, you must empty yourself so that Isshi Soden becomes possible. You cannot receive this direct transmission of knowledge from a teacher or from nature unless you are free from your own life. Soke says that Bushido means "to die." This is sutemi. Throwing your life away, erasing the self, making your mind empty and feeling like you are dead. In that place is a surprising treasure! You cannot be trapped or defeated because you do not exist. You may live each day with a peaceful mind.
As Doug Wilson describes Hatsumi Sensei's Ninpo,
"It is often misunderstood that since the meaning of “Nin” in Ninpo, means to endure, that one must endure and persevere in a fight. But the ultimate goal is to feed the fight nothing but emptiness, on a physical and mental level, resulting in no physical conflict whatsoever, and ultimately no need to exert any effort or need to endure.
This is the Ninpo that Hatsumi Sensei teaches."
Soke says you can begin to learn this through fuza,
"... straighten the spine and breathe through the belly. It is also effective generally for maintaining good health. You start to understand Ninpo Ikkan when you achieve mental patience by sitting for a long time. The value of looking about one meter ahead with half closed eyes is to teach you that if you open your eyes fully and try to look far, you may not recognize the satori right around you..."A Zen story about Banzan describes this moment:
When Banzan was walking through a market he overheard a conversation between a butcher and his customer.
"Give me the best piece of meat you have," said the customer.
"Everything in my shop is the best," replied the butcher. "You cannot find here any piece of meat that is not the best."
At these words Banzan became enlightened.
This helps us see that if you can be grateful and take things as they are, then everything is good for you. When you accept what is, every piece of meat - every moment - is the best. The moment you are living right now is the best — because it is the only one you have and the only one you can live right now.
My friend Paul Masse describes it this way,
"No matter where you are, no matter what time it is, no matter what is happening, isn't is always the best time, the best place? If you grasp this, you can fully appreciate this moment. When you have appreciation, light will come into your life and you will begin to perceive the miracles all around you."
This is one way to read the air like 気学 kigaku and create your own fortunate victory!