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Showing posts from June, 2012

Bujinkan Nanadan 七段: The Bull Transcended

Hatsumi Sensei describes the journey of a Bujinkan student through the Dan ranks as being akin to the Ten Oxherding pictures in Zen Buddhism. These pictures describe the seekers journey to enlightenment.

If you haven't read my other posts in this series, please check them out. You may find them useful no matter what your rank is:

Bujinkan Shodan 初段: Searching for the Bull
Bujinkan Nidan 弐段: Discovering the Footprints
Bujinkan Sandan 参段: Perceiving the Bull
Bujinkan Yondan 四段: Catching the Bull
Bujinkan Godan 五段: Taming the Bull
Bujinkan Rokudan 六段: Riding the Bull Home
On reaching seventh dan we may find that we have forgotten the ox. What does it mean to forget the Ox?


忘牛存人 The Bull Transcended
Astride the bull, I reach home.

I am serene. The bull too can rest.

The dawn has come. In blissful repose,

Within my thatched dwelling

I have abandoned the whip and ropes

We made it home. Comfortable in our own taijutsu and in our dojo, whatever ambitions we had attached to training or ra…

Bujinkan Rokudan 六段: Riding the Bull Home

Hatsumi Sensei describes the journey of a Bujinkan student through the Dan ranks as being akin to the Ten Oxherding pictures in Zen Buddhism. These pictures describe the seekers journey to enlightenment.

If you haven't read my other posts in this series, please check them out. You may find them useful no matter what your rank is:

Bujinkan Shodan 初段: Searching for the Bull
Bujinkan Nidan 弐段: Discovering the Footprints
Bujinkan Sandan 参段: Perceiving the Bull
Bujinkan Yondan 四段: Catching the Bull
Bujinkan Godan 五段: Taming the Bull
Passing beyond Godan brings us to a place of creative play. The Bull (mind) obeys without searching about and we don't need to work to constrain it anymore.

骑牛归家 Riding the Bull Home
Mounting the bull, slowly
I return homeward.

The voice of my flute intones
through the evening.
Measuring with hand-beats
the pulsating harmony,
I direct the endless rhythm.

Whoever hears this melody
will join me.

Sensei says that "When you pass the Godan test, then yo…

Bujinkan Godan 五段: Taming the Bull

Hatsumi Sensei describes the journey of a Bujinkan student through the Dan ranks as being akin to the Ten Oxherding pictures in Zen Buddhism. These pictures describe the seekers journey to enlightenment.

If you haven't read my other posts in this series, please check them out. You may find them useful no matter what your rank is:
Bujinkan Shodan 初段: Searching for the Bull
Bujinkan Nidan 弐段: Discovering the Footprints
Bujinkan Sandan 参段: Perceiving the Bull
Bujinkan Yondan 四段: Catching the Bull
In the Bujinkan, Godan is marked by the Godan test. You must be free of doubt to pass through this gate. How do we become free of doubt?

牧牛 Taming the Bull
The whip and rope are necessary,
Else he might stray off down
some dusty road.
Being well-trained, he becomes

naturally gentle.

Then, unfettered, he obeys his master.

Once you have caught hold of the bull, rather than simply hanging on desperately as he bucks and runs around, it is necessary to tame the bull. The Ox or bull in these pa…

Bujinkan Yondan 四段: Catching the Bull

Hatsumi Sensei describes the journey of a Bujinkan student through the Dan ranks as being akin to the Ten Oxherding pictures in Zen Buddhism. These pictures describe the seekers journey to enlightenment.

If you haven't read my other posts in this series, please check them out. You may find them useful no matter what your rank is:
Bujinkan Shodan 初段: Searching for the Bull
Bujinkan Nidan 弐段: Discovering the Footprints
Bujinkan Sandan 参段: Perceiving the Bull So now you've made it to Yondan. For many people in the Bujinkan this is a pivotal moment. This is a moment of getting a hold of yourself… and finding the form of the self is empty.
得牛 Catching the Bull
I seize him with a terrific struggle.

His great will and power

are inexhaustible.
He charges to the high plateau

far above the cloud-mists,

Or in an impenetrable ravine he stands.
I have abandoned the whip and ropes After some years of training, you go from thinking you know something, to realizing you know very little. The…