Friday, August 26, 2005

Takuan Soho

Revisited one of my favorite books, Takuan Soho's "Unfettered Mind." Takuan was a monk, calligrapher, gardner, tea master, and poet. Born in Japan in 1573, served as counsel to many of the Samurai of the day. My all time favorite quote comes from this book. I apply it to ultrarunning, being on the trails, whatever:

"Be like water flowing over the rocks--the water flows constantly, not stopping to consider its path around the next stone."

Takaun wrote several instructive letters to swordsmen of his day on strategy and focus. A few highlights:

"I do not fight for gain or loss, am not concerned with strength or weakness, and neither advance a step nor retreat a step. The enemy does not see me. I do not see the enemy. Penetrating to a place where heaven and Earth have not yet divided, I quickly and necessarily gain effect.

The accomplished man uses the sword but does not kill others--when confronted with his principle-they cower down. He uses the sword and gives life: while he deals with his opponent with a sword, he leaves everything to the movement of the other man, and he is able to observe him just as he pleases. "


moor-rambler said...

Hey, just letting you know I've signed up and doing one to, though I haven't done anything worth reading yet. Good stuff so far, I like your idea about psychogeographic maps. As for Soho, he's next up in my daily buddhist reading rotation. Keep up the training, man, you're doing better than me.

dirt_trail_runner said...

thanks, snyd. hope to read more on yours. it's not easy to keep this up, time constraints and all. hope all is well with you guys.