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Old 10-23-2002, 12:40 PM   #10
Paul Smith
Join Date: Jun 2002
Posts: 59
I think that this goes to a whole methodology, on the question of approaches to learning.

In the west, we presume there is an "I" which "builds things." In acting, my old background, "I" "build" a character. In the east, or more specifically in Japanese/zen thought and practice (in Japan, hard to distinguish the two, really), there is no "I" to build anything - in fact, the way to learn is to empty the self and emulate, completely and utterly, one's Sensei - one's "One Who Went Before."

I have chosen the latter as a means towards a betterment of the self. I cannot presume to know anything if "I," meaning a whole host of assumptions, patterns, fixed-thoughtedness, etc., resists in any way the teaching of my teacher.

It is not just a metaphysical abstract. When Toyoda Sensei (and now, Moore Sensei) would throw, one's mind could not hope to have the idea of what it was he was after - any sticking opened one up for a rude awakening, and the only way to (at times, it felt) to survive was to empty and give over completely.

Now, as he once told me, by doing this, by emptying completely, by, in fact, modeling completely on one's Sensei, paradoxically, it is believed, you learn how to truly create one's own art.

This is all a long winded way of saying: you cannot create true art with a stuck mind. The way to unstick the mind is to get out of the way. The only way to get out of the way is to immolate the stuck notion of "self" and although it can be done on one's own, it is more likely successfully achieved by learning at the feet of a master.

I know myself - I know my ego is both so strong, and so fragile (if this makes sense), that were it not for this approach I would never learn anything of true budo.


Paul Smith
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