Tuesday, June 15, 2010

Hagakure: The Omnipresent Now and Worldly Affairs


From Hagakure of Yamamoto Tsunetomo:

There is surely nothing other than the single purpose of the present moment. A man's whole life is the succession of moment after moment. If one fully understands the present moment, there will be nothing else to do, and nothing else to pursue. Live being true to the single purpose of the moment.

Everyone lets the present moment slip by, then looks for it as if he thought it were somewhere else. No one seems to have noticed this fact.  But grasping this firmly, one must pile experience on experience. And once one has come to this understanding, he will be a different person from that point on, though he may not always bear it in mind.

When one understands this settling into single-mindedness well, his affairs will thin out. Loyalty is also contained within this single-mindedness.


It seems to me that almost every sentence in this passage is worthy of a separate meditation. Does anyone want to try one and see where it leads them . . . I'll go first in comments . . .


Art Work and Credits:
Hagakure by Yamamoto Tsunetomo, p. 74. Trans. William Scott Wilson. Kodansha Press. Available.
ToshidoYoshi,  "Cherry Blossoms" (1970). A ukiyo-e or wood block print, frequently presenting "the floating world" but has other genres.
Toshikato Mizuno, "Samurai with Long Bow" (c. 1900). A kuchi-e or frontispiece to a magazine.

14 comments:

Ann T. said...

Dear Readers,
The sentence I'll pick:

"But grasping this firmly, one must pile experience on experience."

It seems to me that mindfulness allows us to build a means that justifies, or makes happen, an end.

Therefore, the quality of each moment and how I handle it determines the themes, as well as the results, of my life.

Hmmmm.
Ann T.

Bob G. said...

Ann:
Sounds a lot like "cause and effect", yes?

BTW, I love those prints...they'd look so nice in our living room (over my sword).

:)

The Bug said...

"And once one has come to this understanding, he will be a different person from that point on, though he may not always bear it in mind."

I find that when I learn a truth I have trouble holding onto it. Perhaps I should consider truth tattoos. Or maybe, less painfully, a charm bracelet where each charm represents a hard won truth. Hmmm.

tgace said...

"Therefore do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself. Each day has enough trouble of its own." -Matthew 6:34

Ann T. said...

Dear Bob,
Those prints--they would be fantastic, wouldn't they?

Thanks for stopping by.
Ann T.

Ann T. said...

Dear The Bug,
I think that was my second favorite sentence. That the present may push the lesson to the back of consciousness, and sometimes we have to re-call it.

I have a journal for just what you are suggesting. Of course, even then . . . .

Thanks for stopping in. It's a great passage, isn't it?

Ann T.

Ann T. said...

Dear tgace,
Oh, yes.

I recall also Heidegger's theory of being, that most of us don't live in the moment. We're afraid to.

Sufficient unto the day.

Thanks for this.
Ann T.

Mrs. Bunker said...

"When one understands this settling into single-mindedness well, his affairs will thin out."

Print, laminate, live by.
Quit wasting time with people & things you don't like or care for (there are a few that I care for but don't always like that much).

Ann T. said...

Dear Mrs. Bunker,
Another great sentence.

It occurs to me that when this happens, your loyalty also gets down to the essentials.

Hmm, what a good choice! it also implies quality and even hope.

Thanks for stopping in.

Ann T.

the observer said...

Ann T:
OK, I'll bite:

"But grasping this firmly, one must pile experience on experience."

It's hard for me to separate one sentence from its context--it's my training in biblical hermaneutics. But this sentence hinges together two things--living "in the moment" conscious of everything happening and also, realizing that everything experienced leaves its mark, even when we don't acknowledge it. Thus we are instructed to move through life fully in the moment, not overly future focused and not careless, but fully "in the now" in our experiences. We come out the other end changed, and ready for the next moment.

Really neat stuff--I need this book!

Thanks for posting

The Observer

Ann T. said...

Dear The Observer,
You picked the sentence I did, and explained it differently!

This was a fun thing. I am learning from everybody.

For sure I will do this next Tuesday, same page even, because there were great passages all through this book.

Thanks for explicating,
Ann T.

Gia's Spot said...

I love that I always learn/think while reading your very diverse blog, AnnT!!!!

Ann T. said...

Dear Gia,
I love when you stop by!! Just come by to look, and anytime you have a thought to share, just drop it in!

Ann T.

Ann T. said...

Dear Readers,
I think I have At Least two more Tuesdays of Hagakure lined up.

Stay tuned,
Ann T.