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Old 08-16-2011, 02:25 PM   #39
Fred Little
Dojo: NJIT Budokai
Location: State Line NJ/NY
Join Date: Apr 2001
Posts: 632
Re: The two body/mind concepts of Japanese Martial Arts.

Keith Larman wrote: View Post
Now... How does that compare with Pan-Asian views of mind and body? And how does this change how we view notions of "dualism" in mind/body distinctions? Is this something we think we understand in Japanese arts or are we wearing Bertrand Russell "rose tinted glasses" when we examine these things?

The short answer is that Buddhism (Indian origins notwithstanding, I'll tag it "Pan-Asian") has a fundamental doctrine of dependent origination.

One of the more common examples given of this process is basic Boy Scout fire-starting-theory:

In order to start a fire, it is necessary to bring together fuel, oxygen, and heat.

In this view, consciousness in relation to the physical aggregates of the body is like fire in relation to fuel, oxygen, and heat -- something that seems to be distinct from those aggregates, yet remains dependent on and conditioned by those same aggregates.

Now things get interesting. In this view, once consciousness arises from those aggregates, the aggregates seem to also become dependent on and conditioned by the activity of mind, and that which has arisen and that from which it has arisen become mutually conditioning -- allowing for the possibility of changing the mind through changing the body or vice-versa, or (to pick up on Marc's usage) through varying combinations of the two along the spectrum from "pure body" to "pure mind" (neither of which actually exists in isolation from some measure of the other).

While this is a pretty orthodox Buddhist view, it has worked its way pretty thoroughly into the Asian cultural substrate, in the same way that the Cartesian (or if you prefer, Platonic) view has into ours.

Or something like that.

Hope this helps.


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