Bujinkan Jūdan 拾段: In The World

In The World, digital c-print photograph by Andrew Binkley
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 seeker's 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
Bujinkan Nanadan 七段: The Bull Transcended
Bujinkan Hachidan 八段: Both Bull and Self Transcended
Bujinkan Kyūdan 九段: Reaching the Source

Now as a Jūdan, you may stroll casually through the dojo, yet your steps are not misplaced.
Woodblock print by 德力富吉郎 Tokuriki Tomikichirō
 入鄽垂手 In the World
Barefooted and naked of breast,

I mingle with the people

of the world.

My clothes are ragged and dust-laden,

and I am ever blissful.

I use no magic to extend my life;

Now, before me, the dead trees

become alive.

I have abandoned the whip and ropes

All ideas of shuhari 守破離 have been swept away. Anyone still in the cycle of shuhari will not see the source of your freedom. Simply,
"You destroy whatever needs to be destroyed, you subdue whatever needs to to subdued, and you care for whatever needs your care." - Chögyam Trungpa
As one who has reached the peak of our Bujinkan training experience or found enlightenment as in the Oxherding poems, you appear remarkably unaffected. You have internalized our art and this is reflected purely in everyone you meet. In this reflection you see wonderful taijutsu expressed by any student of the art.

This stage is one of freedom. You don't consciously show any signs of ability or seniority. Nor do you adhere to any rules, forms, or training regimen. Yet simply and without striving, you express mastery.

Hatsumi Sensei quotes Confucius, "Those that understand play have life's greatest treasure."

It is strange to no longer show any skill. Skill is too limiting and you have slipped free of that trap. Yet you are a great help to others who may be seeking skill. Students grow just by being around you. This is Shinden 神伝.

Some may turn away from you or critique your abilities. You reply with a smile. Tenkataihei 天下泰平, all is peaceful under the heavens.

People expect that someone of your level will have incredible skill and almost supernatural technique. You know those skills are there but realize they are actually ordinary illusions and even unnecessary.

Your pure state is reflected in everyone. As you shine forth, anyone may collect some of your light. You simply help anyone you meet to grow and learn. This happens naturally without concern for compensation or worry about who accepts your help.

Hatsumi Sensei says that Shōsan had the feeling of "The heart that thinks of oneself, suffers. The heart that thinks of others, is free."

This journey through Jūdan and the ten Oxherding poems and pictures was inspired by Hatsumi Sensei's teacup that has these ten drawings. He says as he sips from this cup, "It is the moment when tea and Zen are one."

And you are there like the moonlight reflecting in a hundred cups of tea. Each reflection is whole, yet nothing takes away from the moon itself.


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