We received our life form from the universe in two elements, the mind and the body. We can express the relationship between these two by saying that the body moves in accordance with the dictates of the mind and that the mind expresses itself thru the body. The two are inseparable. The continuation of human life is impossible with only one of the two, but when they join together we are able to manifest our highest abilities and our innate powers.
There was once a story of an old Zen priest, who while still young began devout Buddhist practices. He was a very weak man with a serious case of tuberculosis, but in those days it was considered inevitably fatal. During his Buddhist training, the young man collapsed. The doctors pronounced him beyond help, and he, in deep distress, resigned himself to death.
He thought to himself then, "It is a great sorrow that I had to fall ill in the midst of my training, but if I must die, I shall do it bravely seated in the meditation position as a priest should." He got up from his sickbed, assumed the seated Zazen position and entered a state of perfect spiritual concentration, and calmly sat awaiting death. But he did not die. Death did not appear.
On the following day he arose, and again assumed his position, and waited, but again death did not visit upon him. Day in, and day out, he lived seated in his meditation posture. Because he disciplined himself with death constantly before his eyes, in a twinkling his mental attitude had advanced. The priest then decided that since he had waited for death, yet death failed to come, he would cast the question of life and death from his mind and leave it up to the will of heaven / the divine. He also resolved that while he lived he would follow the disciplines of Buddhism to the best of his ability. As he continued his studies, while he was unaware of it, his tuberculosis went away, and a famous priest he lived a rich life of leading and teaching others until well beyond the age of 70.
While resigned to his death and seated in thought he achieved a state of union between mind and body, and overcame his grave illness. Those who would copy him and practice seated Buddhist meditation in an attempt to cure a serious illness should be aware that rather than always curing, such a process could be dangerous. The likelihood is that an illness will get worse if a person approaches the seated meditation from the insecure attitude that "Well, I started seated Buddhist meditation because I heard that if you did it you will get well, but I wonder if that is really true."
It is essential to understand that when one unifies his mind and his body his innate life powers begin to operate and that it is the life powers that actually overcome the illness. You must understand that we can only overcome an illness, if we learn the rules of mind and body unification and if we manifest the ultimate in our life power by practicing so that all physical motion is correctly one or unified. The things that one can do when he or she is sincere, and when his mind, body, and spirit are one; is astonishing.
Humankind receives innate powers from the universe but cannot use them because he is not informed as to how. Only if you learn the laws of mind, body, and spirit unification, and train yourself to use you innate human power at any time, tempering yourself, can you fulfill your heaven sent calling. One must understand the providence of Ki.
If we trace the origins of all things, we reach a point at which nothing existed. On the other hand, nothing - does not give birth to something; or at least so we think. Zen uses a term "mu" which means nothingness, but not a complete nothingness; that is, the Zen "mu" means a state in which, though nothing exists, there is still something.
From a mathematical standpoint, the basic entity of mathematics is the number one. The earth is one. A pebble is one. If it reduced to half, what remains is also one. If, it is reduced by half infinitely, it does not become zero. If there is one, half of it always exists. Ki is the infinite gathering of infinitely small particles. In this way the sun, the stars, the earth, plants, animals, and human mind, body, and spirit are all born of the Ki of the universe / the divine. This One is referred to as Dainichi Nyorai in Japanese Esoteric Buddhism or Mahavaironcana.
From Ki, came movement and calm, joining and breaking apart, expansion and contraction, and many mutual actions, which gave the present universe its form. Ki has no beginning and no end; its absolute value neither increases nor decreases. We are one with the universe and our lives are part of the life of the universe. Since before the beginning of the universe, and even now, its absolute value exists as a solid fact within which birth, growth, death and dissolution continue to take place.
In the Ki Society, we make a clear distinction between the Ki we use everyday and the universal Ki - the real essence of the universe / divine. Ki development is a discipline that helps unite the mind, body, and spirit triad. In other words, the way to union is through Ki. Why is it necessary to unite things that are innately one?
We are given a mind, body, and spirit in order to continue life in this world. The spirit isolates itself from the body and hinders the formation of a whole with it. For this reason, without learning to harness the spirit, we are isolated from the universe.
To exist in this world everything, in a wider sense, is given a spirit and a body. A stone has a stone's spirit, which protects the stone's form. Air has air's spirit which protects its formlessness, protects it movements, and achieves its mission. Buddhism explains this by saying that all things have the Buddha nature. The "harnessing" is to bring things into a "conscious" alignment (conscious Ki) - to become awake, and at the same time empowered as an intrinsic part of the divine that is in complete harmony.
- Koichi Tohei
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