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The Narrow Path of the Interior

I borrowed this title - not from the Scriptures,- but from Matsuo Basho, the greatest haiku poet of Japan. At his time, there was indeed a road through the interior of Japan, as opposed to the road along the seashore, which was relatively safe. Basho took the more dangerous road of the interior, but the title of his book also refers to the spiritual path that any scholar should tread towards wisdom or enlightment.

But I am running ahead... I am not a scholar, just an engineer. I read a lot since my childhood, and I got into the habit to take notes and fill many notebooks with quotes from my readings.

So why am I putting these notes online? Maybe because Confucius was right saying:

"The ancient scholars studied for their own improvement. Modern scholars study to impress others."

  • The Truth beyond words - Both Zen and Confucianism claims that the truth is not in words, that ultimate wisdom cannot be attained by study alone...
  • The Great Learning

    "A person of high virtue is not conscious of virtue and therefore possesses Virtue.
    A person of little virtue tries to be virtuous and therefore lacks Virtue."

  • Zhuang Zi on archery

    Archery was always a prime example of an art that requires both physical and mental training. Lets read a passage from book XXI of Zhuang Zi (Chuang Tse) about the famous archer Lieh Yue-kou.

  • The shooting of non-shooting...

    Yagyu Munenori, founder of the Shinkageryu school of swordfighting, explains very clearly these obscure words. This quote is from the Heiho Kadensho, the "secret" book of the Yagyu family, transmitting their system from generation to generation.

  • The true spirit of meditation

    Zen master Hakuin (1689-1796) compares zazen practice to true enlightment, which can be sustained during our everyday life.

  • Seek the lost mind

    Zen priest Takuan, quoting and explaining Meng Zi (Mencius)...

  • Basho on Sabi

    "If a man goes to a party, dressed up in gay clothes, or goes to the war, dressed up in stout armour, if this is an older man, there is something lonely about him."

  • Sun-faced Buddha, moon-faced Buddha

    Chan master Ma Tsu lies sick in his bed... The head monk comes to visit him, politely inquiring about his health... Lets read this famous koan from the Hekiganroku collection...

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© 2002, Zoltan Barczikay