Wednesday, September 23, 2009
The Unfettered Mind
I just read "The Unfettered Mind" Writings of the Zen Master to the Sword Master by Takuan Soho.
It is an excellent little book that contains extensive letters to a sword master (or possibly two sword masters). Takuan Soho was a Zen master who was quite famous in his day and recognized as a very wise man. He was a spiritual mentor of sorts to the famed Musashi Miyamoto (considered by many to be the best swordsman to have ever lived). Two of the three pieces were written to Yagyu Munenori (one of the best; instructor to a couple of shogun; author of a book that is comparable to Musashi's). The third piece of writing in the book was written either to Yagyu Munenori or Ono Tadaaki (another great sword master).
The book really doesn't have much to do with martial arts on the superficial level. However, Takuan's writings show a desire to infuse Zen into anything and everything people do. So, just as one should be spiritual in meditation, he should be spiritual in his day-to-day tasks, and be spiritual in his martial arts practice.
I recommend this book to anyone, really, but especially to those interested in philosophy.