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Spirit and body together


There is an idiom saying: 心技一体, pronounced like Shingiittai. Shin means one's spirit. Gi means one's art, Ittai means both together. So this idiom can be translated like Spirit and art together.

In another saying, they say 心技体. Each letter means spirit, art (or technique) and body. It means trinity of these three elements. I think these are often saying in Japanese martial arts.

It might be relative to Dogen*'s teaching: 身心一如. The first shin means one's body, the second one means one's spirit, and last two letters means the truth is one and only one. We can understand that in Buddhistic zen teaching, one's sprit and one's body are united, inseparable, and two faces of one thing.

All Japanese fine arts, martial arts, and even also religious practices are all called with one suffix, do (or to, depending to the consonant before suffix), which means the "way". It is not only the techniques or the arts, but also how you present in this world. Clearly Japanese martial arts are from religious ritual. All are to approach the truth. All about finding the well balance between your spirit and your body.

The meditation is one of the most important training for sotoshu but probably we all can find our own way of meditation.

I had sung for a half of my life. Singing is absolutely like the meditation. Years ago I lost my voice, and quit music.During the time I didn't make any musical activities, I was totally lost. My hair was even orange.

Few month before, on one given day, I don't know why but many people talk to me about the meditation from many close friends to unknown person.

Then next day, I checked my respiration in the morning. I do it every morning and night. I gradually started to do again all activities which I had practiced for singing, such as meditation, physical training like yoga, calligraphie, reading sutra, etc. Then one day I felt like singing. What does it bring to me?

I got an occasion to sing in small public after years of absence. I felt as if I was reput in the correct route of my life, recovered totally myself. Like a great arms bring your car into the road in Super Mario Cart.

Singing is really similar to Buddhistic practice. This is kind of seeking for nothingness. It is all about inspiring-expiring thing to delete your own ego to incarnate someone (the role you sing). When you find the very good balance of your mind and your vocal technique, you feel as if you connect to the universe. You are only part of everything. I call it, to serve the music.

Not only me, I would say, we all human beings are very ill-balanced existence. Everyday we struggle to balance it better in our own way, consciously or unconsciously, religiously or non-religiously. No afraid, as long as you are asking for, you are guided and supported. Even the moment you totally forget who you are, you are not forgotten. You are here for getting knowing yourself, in other word your own truth.

* Fonder of sotoshu sect, one of three zen sects founded Kamakura period in 13th century.


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© 2015 by Akiko Hirai