GoJou – The Five Ethics

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From Duncan:

“Soke has been mentioning the Gojou 悟宝.

The Gojou represents the five ethics which should be kept by a human being in Confucianism. The Tokugawa Shogunate adopted Confucianism as an official ideology. The Gojou therefore became a samurai’s ethics standard. These are also the five values represented by the five pleats in the front of a hakama.

Fumetsu no Fuse 
Everlasting giving

Mamichi no Jikai 
Vow of the true way

Shizen no Ninniku 
Natural resolve

Shizen no Choetsu 
Transcendance of nature

Komyou no Satori 
Illumination of the awakening

I was told a story by Nagato Dai Shihan about Fumetsu no Fuse.
There was once a monk who was proud of his ability to fulfill the goal of being able to selflessly give endlessly. Hearing this, a man approached him and said,” I’d like your ear please.” The monk looked at him, then cut of his ear, and gave it to him. The man took it and when he turned to walk away, he threw it into the bushes!

These precepts are given to aid those in developing a balanced life. If ( like anything ) you develop in an unbalanced way, you can loose the capacity to discern right from wrong and live in society harmoniously with the self and others.
Developing in a balanced manner also allows you to see the truth and falseness that lies everywhere around us. It also minimises the chance of being manipulated.

Jo Ha Kyu

Jo – Introduction or Beginnings
Ha – Change
Kyu – Impact

Or perhaps we could apply this to Shodan, Shidoshi, Shihan?
Or perhaps we could say “learn, understand, apply”?
Or perhaps we could say Form, Formless, always Form?

There is a rhythm to our training and levels of understanding.  I drew a circle in class the other night and discussed how it represented the path of training from the beginning with no understanding – all the way to applying the knowledge/mastery.  We also discussed how this cycle never really ends and as we THINK we have reached the “end” or mastery, we are actually starting over to discover new depths of the information.  So as Jo leads to Kyu, Kyu leads to Jo.

As we have been training on the sword, we are seeing the sword cut away our own misconceptions and lay bare who and what we are. There is nowhere for false bravado or false fronts when faced with the thin line between life and death. In that moment, the truth is self evident.

See you on the mats.