Thursday, May 18, 2006

The Path of Emptiness

The sage, skilled in the arts of war, Go being one of the highest, understands that having a plan or strategy in the mind is to invite defeat. If we plan to open a game of Go with a San-Ren-Sei opening without adapting to the moves of the opponent we shield ourselves off from the reality of the game and lose contact with the movement of the stones. The mind is to be devoid of both thought and non-thought, plan and non-plan. Go was, afterall, created in the lands of Chan (Zen) where "empty-handed I go, and behold the spade is in my hands; I walk on foot, and yet on the back of an ox I am riding; When I pass over the bridge, Lo, the water floweth not, but the bridge doth flow."

When we understand emptiness in this way we see Go through the eyes of the sage. We will have no ranking, no joseki, no plan of attack. We will have no form. Like water, moves take the form needed.

As the master swordsman Miyamoto Musashi wrote in his Go Rin No Sho in 1645, "Taking straightforwardness as basic, taking the real mind as the Way, practicing martial arts in the broadest sense, thinking correctly, clearly, and comprehensively, taking emptiness as the Way, you see the Way as emptiness.

"In Emptiness there is good but no evil. Wisdom exists, logic exists, the Way exists, mind is empty."

The Scroll of Emptiness

Go Rin No Sho




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