On Samurais Learning From Zen Monks and Not The Other Way Around

In Thomas Cleary’s translation of “The Book of Five Rings” by legendary Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi, he mentions in one of the prefaces how ideas from Zen Buddhism flowed into the writings and ideas of martial artists, and that it rarely went the other way around.


Let’s get out of the way, immediately, the idea that spiritualities about enlightenment and transcendence are typically dependent on a mundane world to “transcend” or be “enlightened” about.  Let’s understand that there can be something of an elitism by those whose professions are, one way or another, the domain of intellect rather than what Indian thinkers would call any variety of Karma Yoga (action aligned with Dharma, aiming at transcendent union).

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