I wrote this for my students and I thought I might share it with you. It is a kind of funny, odd story:
Baka Ni Nare! (Be A Fool!)
In today's world, we pride ourselves on how much we know and how much we can know by just entering the web and hitting a few buttons. Of course, it is a virtue to be well-informed and to be smart. No one wants to be called, "stupid." For some, this is the worse thing that could happen!
In traditional, old stye training, there is a phrase I heard very often. For a long time, I did not understand or appreciate it. In fact, I thought it was kind of silly and unreasonable. As the years pass and I have much more experience teaching, I am beginning to realize the wisdom of such words and how important they are to apply to one's Life.
Maybe I was too smart for my own good, I don't know. . . . I never thought so myself. I often heard, "Baka ni nare!" Or, "Become a fool!" It doesn't really mean to be stupid or lazy or silly. More than this, it means "Don't be so smart!" In English, I think we say, "Don't be such a smart ass." Or "Too smart for your own good!" In practice, especially, there is great wisdom in this - you must be surprised that I say this! I heard this often in Zen and very often in the dojo.
The person who just comes for practice and enjoys practice for the practice itself always does very well in the long run. The student who thinks he has all the answers, or thinks that he is smarter than others is the one who always gets himself into trouble. Not into trouble so much with others, but with himself.
To become stupid means ultimately to become "pure," or "naive." It is important to practice with a pure heart - this is the meaning of "shoshin" or "beginner's mind." We all know, I think, that as soon as we think as have all the answers, we are already in deep trouble! As much as we know this, we still fall so easily into this old trap.
I know students who suffer so much because they think they have all the answers and prove themselves wrong or who think there is an answer to everything and cannot find the answer they want. For many things, there is no answer. Finally, you will discover everything you need to know in practice as your practice, no where else. In Aikido practice, you already have all the answers - it is not to grab at them, it is to realize them. . . . . Many thanks,