Pull Yourself Together With Bushinwa 武心和

photo by ghindo
In the Densho for Gyokko Ryu Kosshijutsu, one of the 9 schools we study in the Bujinkan, there is a precept which is expressed like this:
 Bu Shin Wa O Toutonasu 武心和を尊 The heart of the warrior holds peace righteous, or, a warrior heart holds harmony as sacred. 
Of course the idea of Wa or harmony is vital to understanding the physical aspects of our training. But there is something deeper in this idea. An idea that is deeply Japanese and connects us to the roots of our art and the history of Japan itself.

Wa 倭 until the 8th century, when the Japanese replaced it with 和 is the oldest recorded name of Japan. The idea of harmony in Japan is expressed in art, the tea ceremony, philosophy and even in daily manners or enforced through law. Many of the codes of honor of the Samurai were the result of an attempt to preserve harmony.

Honor of a bushi was most important in this code. Abusive language was punished by confiscation of the samurai's weapons and property or even banishment. All because it could lead to an armed fight over honor that might end in death. Striking a bushi was such a grave insult, that the offender would pay with his life or serious physical injury.

Hatsumi Sensei says that this Bushinwa idea from the Gyokko Ryu Densho can be traced  back to ideas expressed by Shotoku Taishi (573-621, the Prince of Holy Virtue, a Japanese regent, statesman, and scholar) in his Jushichijo no Kempo. This was one of Prince Shotoku's most important written pieces, the so-called "Seventeen-Article Constitution" completed in 604 AD. The title "constitution" does not accurately describe Prince Shotoku's writing. But, Shotoku's document does set forth 17 specific laws or principles applied to nation-wide behavior.

Hatsumi Sensei says,
 Early Samurai were strongly influenced by the teaching of Shotoku Taishi.  The first phrase from Shotoku Taishi's Seventeen article constitution, "Cherish the harmony among people" is assimilated into the Gyokko Ryu idea that "Bushin (the warrior heart) cherishes the harmony among people."
Here is that first article from Prince Shotoku,
604 AD, 4th Month, 3rd day.
(1) Harmony should be valued and quarrels should be avoided. Everyone has his biases, and few men are far-sighted. Therefore some disobey their lords and fathers and keep up feuds with their neighbors. But when the superiors are in harmony with each other and the inferiors are friendly, then affairs are discussed quietly and the right view of matters prevails.
Shotoku was himself strongly influenced by Confucian and Buddhist writings. So this idea was basically an adaptation of one of the Confucian Analects:
When there are no stirrings of pleasure, anger, sorrow, or joy, the mind may be said to be in a state of equilibrium. When those feelings are stirred and act in their due degree, there ensues what may be called a state of harmony. Equilibrium is the great root from which grow all acts of humanity; harmony is the universal path that guides them.
Let the states of equilibrium and harmony exist in perfection, and a happy order will prevail throughout the heavens and earth, and all things will be nourished and flourish.
When Hatsumi Sensei says that we should not act out of personal desire, but learn how to fight to protect life, this is part of the depth behind those ideas. Peace, Harmony, and a better life for all! That's what the warrior's heart is all about.

As the old saying, " Bushiwa Aimi Tagai," puts it, it is customary with the Japanese samurai to understand and aid one another; and they even extend sympathy and aid to the enemy soldiers, killed or disabled in battle.
In the ego's world of illusion, all things are in flux. But continuous change is constant chaos. When the ego sees itself as the center of so much swirling activity, it cannot experience cosmic harmony.
-Han Shan


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