Your emphasis on "empty"

Boomer

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I'm curious about your thoughts and studies on "void" and "emptiness".
In many many studies across all the arts I study, emptiness has been a constant re-occuring theme. None seem to compare though to the Japanese obsession with it.
Even the characters chosen to write "kara-te" use the word "void" (or "empty"). The philosophy of mushin no shin (which I have studied at great length, but still feel I've only scratched the surface) spews forth emptiness at the same time requiring free flowing.

So the most basic way I've been able to break it down is this: the empty part is what makes you useful. The inside of a house would be worthless to live in if there was no space inside for a human. A cup would be useless if it was simply a brick with a handle.

I'm very curious to see your thoughts about this, as it applies to you, and to your various martial paths; and to know how often do you employ your thoughts on it as well.
Thanks.
 

Monadnock

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The Void is the source of the Original Mind. When you train to let go of the Active Mind (your current consciousness, or ego) then you act from the Original Mind, which is the most natural, or unfettered. It is also referred to as the Beginner's Mind.

If you are coming across arts that teach this subject I think that is great. Good luck on your journey.
 
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Boomer

Boomer

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I like the use of the word "unfettered", there. I just read the book "Unfettered Mind" by Takuan Soho (for the fourth time) and I think I'm getting closer. It's a tough read, but by dissecting peices I managed to make some sort of interpretations.

Most times I see the "void" and "empty" through Japanese styles...any other stylists out there encounter similar things?
 

qi-tah

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I like the use of the word "unfettered", there. I just read the book "Unfettered Mind" by Takuan Soho (for the fourth time) and I think I'm getting closer. It's a tough read, but by dissecting peices I managed to make some sort of interpretations.

Most times I see the "void" and "empty" through Japanese styles...any other stylists out there encounter similar things?


Sure... the Chinese Taoist Yin/Yang symbol is all about the duality of form and emptiness. Within the fullness of yang (form) there is the seed of emptiness, and vice versa. Nothing can exist in isolation, and nothing in life is static... form is constantly decaying to nothing and emptiness is constantly being filled with form.

I also used to study a CMA style called Zi Ran Men (Nature boxing) - it's philosophy is Taoist and it's principles are as follows:

"There is no beginning or end of movement,
There is no beginning or end of stillness,
There is no beginning or end of change.
Actual attack is hidden within fake attack,
Movements are within stillness."
 

Steel Tiger

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I think that the concept of "emptiness" is an extention or the ideas contained originally in the Baghavadgita in the Mahabharata. This is where Krishna encourages Arjuna to fight without attachment because he was about to battle his own family.

So the void or emptiness is an attempt to describe this condition whereby action is carried out without emotion or desire.

I can understand why it became something of an obsession in Japan. The samurai were particularly fond of Zen because of this concept. It allowed them to do what was necessary without going crazy I guess.

Takuan Soho is a good starting point. He is alledgedly the monk who initially set Musashi on the Zen path.
 

Darksoul

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A group of alumni, highly established in their careers, got together to visit their old university professor. Conversation soon turned into complaints about stress in work and life.

Offering his guests coffee, the professor went to the kitchen and returned with a large pot of coffee and an assortment of cups - porcelain, plastic, glass, crystal, some plain looking, some expensive, some exquisite - telling them to help themselves to the coffee.

When all the students had a cup of coffee in hand, the professor said: "If you noticed, all the nice looking expensive cups have been taken up, leaving behind the plain and cheap ones. While it is normal for you to want only the best for yourselves, that is the source of your problems and stress.

Be assured that the cup itself adds no quality to the coffee. In most cases it is just more expensive and in some cases even hides what we drink. What all of you really wanted was coffee, not the cup, but you consciously went for the best cups... And then you began eyeing each other's cups.

Now consider this: Life is the coffee; the jobs, money and position in society are the cups. They are just tools to hold and contain Life, and the type of cup we have does not define, nor change the quality of life we live.

Sometimes, by concentrating only on the cup, we fail to enjoy the coffee. Savour the coffee, not the cups! The happiest people don't have the best of everything. They just make the best of everything. Live simply. Love generously. Care deeply. Speak kindly.
 

Freestyler777

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I think Steel Tiger is a very smart man.

To me, the Hindu concept of 'Brahman', the taoist concept of 'heaven' and the buddhist concept of 'emptiness' are all rather similar. The kabbahlists call God 'ha Ein-sof' meaning, 'the without end'.

One of the fundamental concepts of eastern spirituality is that the world of the senses is 'maya' or illusion, and that beyond being and non-being, or yin and yang, is emptiness.

The nature of the self is also emptiness. Emptiness means the primordial chaos that exists before we have this and that. Before there is distincition and contrast, there is unity. Everything eminates from the one, and at some point returns.

I hope that helped
 

Flatlander

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I'm curious about your thoughts and studies on "void" and "emptiness".
To observe or engage without preconception or bias. To disengage from the conscious self - to see things in their "suchness". When our preconceived notions, beliefs, emotions, fears and such cloud our perception, we are slowed, and must filter that which we sense in order to see truth. When we are empty, we see as things are, without judgement.
 

Monadnock

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To observe or engage without preconception or bias. To disengage from the conscious self - to see things in their "suchness". When our preconceived notions, beliefs, emotions, fears and such cloud our perception, we are slowed, and must filter that which we sense in order to see truth. When we are empty, we see as things are, without judgement.

So how does this fit into your martial art training? Or does it not?

If you are truely empty, why are you studying and memorizing techniques?

Do you train to not see the fist coming at your face as "a fist coming at your face"?

If all you train for are straight punches, round houses and jabs, isn't that all you will be looking for in a real fight? Isn't burning in responses to those techniques running counter to being able to react without preconceptions?

I don't know of too many schools that teach from the principle of the "void". Well, I know of one or two ;)
 

JadecloudAlchemist

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I'm curious about your thoughts and studies on "void" and "emptiness".
In many many studies across all the arts I study, emptiness has been a constant re-occuring theme. None seem to compare though to the Japanese obsession with it.
Even the characters chosen to write "kara-te" use the word "void" (or "empty"). The philosophy of mushin no shin (which I have studied at great length, but still feel I've only scratched the surface) spews forth emptiness at the same time requiring free flowing.

So the most basic way I've been able to break it down is this: the empty part is what makes you useful. The inside of a house would be worthless to live in if there was no space inside for a human. A cup would be useless if it was simply a brick with a handle.

I'm very curious to see your thoughts about this, as it applies to you, and to your various martial paths; and to know how often do you employ your thoughts on it as well.
Thanks.
First I would like to say the Japanese are not obsessed with emptiness(At least in modern times) Second the Kanji for empty means Ku=Sky,Air what have you. The kanji Mu=would equal nothing such as Mumei=no name. So now we have clarified nothing and emptiness.
Emptiness to me means when dualstic opposites have been realize for what they are. Thus to me emptiness and fullness are dualstic and seeing this to we realize the fullness of real emptiness lol
End of my babblings don't take my word for it rather experience it for yourself.
 
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