The Way of The Warrior
The Training Of The Mind And Practice of Meditation, Pt. 3
The Next Step in the Mental Training
by Kaiten Nukariya
In the next place we have to strive to be the master of our bodies.
With most of the unenlightened, body holds absolute control over Self. Every order of the former has to be faithfully obeyed by the latter. Even if Self revolts against the tyranny of body, it is easily trampled down under the brutal hoofs of bodily passion.
For example, Self wants to be temperate for the sake of health, and would fain pass by the resort for drinking, but body would force Self into it.
Self at times lays down a strict dietetic rule for himself, but body would threaten Self to act against both the letter and spirit of the rule.
Now Self aspires to get on a higher place among sages, but body pulls Self down to the pavement of masses.
Now Self proposes to give some money to the poor, but body closes the purse tightly.
Now Self admires divine beauty, but body compels him to prefer sensuality.
Again, Self likes spiritual liberty, but body confines him in its dungeons.
to get Enlightened,
we must establish
the authority of Self
over the whole body.
We must use our bodies
as we use our clothes
in order to accomplish
our noble purposes.
Let us command body not to shudder under a cold shower-bath in inclement weather, not to be nervous from sleepless nights, not to be sick with any sort of food, not to groan under a surgeon’s knife, not to succumb even if we stand a whole day in the midsummer sun, not to break down under any form of disease, not to be excited in the thick of battlefield–in brief, we have to control our body as we will.
Sit in a quiet place and meditate in imagination that body is no more bondage to you, that it is your machine for your work of life, that you are not flesh, that you are the governor of it, that you can use it at pleasure, and that it always obeys your order faithfully.
Imagine body as separated from you. When it cries out, stop it instantly, as a mother does her baby. When it disobeys you, correct it by discipline, as a master does his pupil. When it is wanton, tame it down, as a horse-breaker does his wild horse. When it is sick, prescribe to it, as a doctor does to his patient. Imagine that you are not a bit injured, even if it streams blood; that you are entirely safe, even if it is drowned in water or burned by fire.
E-Shun, a pupil and sister of Ryo-an, a famous Japanese sword master, burned herself calmly sitting cross-legged on a pile of firewood which consumed her. She attained to the complete mastery of her body.
Socrates’ self was never poisoned, even if his person was destroyed by the venom he took.
Abraham Lincoln himself stood unharmed, even if his body was laid low by the assassin.
Masa-shige was quite safe, even if his body was hewed by the traitors’ swords.
Those martyrs that sang at the stake to the praise of God could never be burned, even if their bodies were reduced to ashes, nor those seekers after truth who were killed by ignorance and superstition.
Is it not a great pity to see a man endowed with divine spirit and power easily upset by a bit of headache, or crying as a child under a surgeon’s knife, or apt to give up the ghost at the coming of little danger, or trembling through a little cold, or easily laid low by a bit of indisposition, or yielding to trivial temptation?
It is no easy matter to be the dictator of body. It is not a matter of theory, but of practice.
You must train your body that you may enable it to bear any sort of suffering, and to stand unflinched in the face of hardship.
It is for this that So-Rai aid himself on a sheet of straw-mat spread on the ground in the coldest nights of winter, or was used to go up and down the roof of his house, having himself clad in heavy armour.
It is for this that ancient Japanese soldiers led extremely simple lives, and that they often held the meeting-of-perseverance, in which they exposed themselves to the coldest weather in winter or to the hottest weather in summer.
It is for this that Katsu Awa practised fencing in the middle of night in a deep forest.
The history of Zen is full of the anecdotes that show Zen priests were the lords of their bodies.
~ Kaiten Nukariya, The Training Of The Mind And Practice Of Meditation