This collection of parables written by an eighteenth-century samurai is a classic of martial arts literature. The tales are concerned with themes such as perception of conflict, self-transformation, the cultivation of chi (life energy), and understanding yin and yang. Some of the parables seem light and fanciful, but they offer the reader valuable lessons on the fundamental principles of the martial arts; "The Mysterious Technique of the Cat" is iconic.The "demon" in the title story refers to the mythical tengu, who guard the secrets of swordsmanship. A swordsman travels to Mt. Kurama, famous for being inhabited by tengu, and in a series of conversations he learns about mushin (no-mind), strategy, the transformation of chi, and how the path of the sword leads to the understanding of life itself. The author, Issai Chozanshi, had a deep understanding of Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Shinto, as well as insight into the central role of chi in the universe--points that are succinctly explained in William Scott Wilson's fine introduction and extensive endnotes. This is essential reading for anyone who wants to truly understand the philosophical underpinnings of martial arts, and how these principles relate to our existence.
The legendary seventeenth-century swordsman Yagyu Munenori was the sword instructor and military and political adviser to two shoguns--and was a rival to the great Miyamoto Musashi. Despite his martial ability and his political power, Munenori spent his life immersed in Zen teachings and practice. These teachings formed the framework for his deeply spiritual approach to sword fighting; Munenori saw in the practice of the sword a way to transform the student into a total human being. The Life-Giving Sword is Munenori's manifesto on his approach. His central themes are the "Life-Giving Sword"--the idea of controlling one's opponent by spiritual readiness to fight rather than by actual fighting--and "No Sword," which is the idea that the mind must be free of everything, even the sword itself, in order to get to the place of complete mastery. Munenori's ideas are essential reading for martial artists of all kinds and can be applied to business and human relations as well.
Join David Hinton, the premier modern translator of the Chinese classics, as he stands before a single landscape painting, discovering in it the wondrous story of existence--and as part of that story, the magical nature of consciousness. What he coaxes from the image is nothing less than a revelation: the dynamic interweaving of mind and Cosmos, and the glorious dance of Absence and Presence that is the secret of that Cosmos. The painting called Peaceful-Distance Pavilion by Shih-t'ao (1642-1707) is, like other paintings in that genre, mostly space: one tiny figure, accompanied by an attendant, looks out over a vast landscape of mountains and clouds. But start looking into that space and, with the right guidance, what you end up seeing is profound. David Hinton is the perfect guide. He uses his knowledge of Chinese philosophy, poetry, art, language, and writing system to illuminate this painting's message, which is ultimately the story of the glorious dance between nothing and everything, between emptiness and existence. It's an enthralling journey that can change the way you look at the world, a journey for which David is a wise and eloquent guide.
The bestselling, widely acclaimed translation from Stephen Mitchell
In eighty-one brief chapters, Lao-tzu's Tao Te Ching, or Book of the Way, provides advice that imparts balance and perspective, a serene and generous spirit, and teaches us how to work for the good with the effortless skill that comes from being in accord with the Tao--the basic principle of the universe.
The samurai of Japan, who were the country's military elite from medieval times to the end of the nineteenth century, were synonmous with valor, honor, and martial arts prowess. Their strict adherence to the code of bushido ("the way of the warrior"), chivalry, and honor in fighting to the death continues to capture the imagination of people today, inspiring authors, filmmakers, and artists. The Pocket Samurai contains the essential writings of the era by the most esteemed samurai and philosophers of the age, including the iconic Miyamoto Musashi, author of The Book of Five Rings; Yamamoto Tsunetomo, author of Hagakure, the best-known explication of the samurai code; Takuan Soho, the Zen priest and adviser to samurai; Yagyu Munenori, whose The Life-Giving Sword describes a deeply spiritual approach to sword fighting; and others.
With unflinching gaze and uncompromising intensity Julius Evola analyzes the spiritual and cultural malaise at the heart of Western civilization and all that passes for progress in the modern world. As a gadfly, Evola spares no one and nothing in his survey of what we have lost and where we are headed. At turns prophetic and provocative, Revolt against the Modern World outlines a profound metaphysics of history and demonstrates how and why we have lost contact with the transcendent dimension of being.The revolt advocated by Evola does not resemble the familiar protests of either liberals or conservatives. His criticisms are not limited to exposing the mindless nature of consumerism, the march of progress, the rise of technocracy, or the dominance of unalloyed individualism, although these and other subjects come under his scrutiny. Rather, he attempts to trace in space and time the remote causes and processes that have exercised corrosive influence on what he considers to be the higher values, ideals, beliefs, and codes of conduct--the world of Tradition--that are at the foundation of Western civilization and described in the myths and sacred literature of the Indo-Europeans. Agreeing with the Hindu philosophers that history is the movement of huge cycles and that we are now in the Kali Yuga, the age of dissolution and decadence, Evola finds revolt to be the only logical response for those who oppose the materialism and ritualized meaninglessness of life in the twentieth century. Through a sweeping study of the structures, myths, beliefs, and spiritual traditions of the major Western civilizations, the author compares the characteristics of the modern world with those of traditional societies. The domains explored include politics, law, the rise and fall of empires, the history of the Church, the doctrine of the two natures, life and death, social institutions and the caste system, the limits of racial theories, capitalism and communism, relations between the sexes, and the meaning of warriorhood. At every turn Evola challenges the reader's most cherished assumptions about fundamental aspects of modern life. A controversial scholar, philosopher, and social thinker, JULIUS EVOLA (1898-1974) has only recently become known to more than a handful of English-speaking readers. An authority on the world's esoteric traditions, Evola wrote extensively on ancient civilizations and the world of Tradition in both East and West. Other books by Evola published by Inner Traditions include Eros and the Mysteries of Love, The Yoga of Power, The Hermetic Tradition, and The Doctrine of Awakening.