Prominent thinkers in the world have attached paramount significance to the interaction between body and soul, (this is being confirmed by modern science), and acting according to which brings man real happiness. Rationality and enrichment of mind along with body, as underlined by Kendo, serves as a launching pad catapulting man to the pinnacle of the celestial world and light of divinity. The quest for wisdom guides man from the dark labyrinth of ignorance to the bright plains of enlightenment.
Awareness of the role of reflection in life and the relationship between mind and life is a category all, particularly the younger generation, seek to apply in the settlement of complicated problems unfolding before them in life.
The extent of our commitment and responsibility finds meaning in proportion to the scope of our awareness and thought. The interaction between knowledge and action signifies the obedience of action from knowledge and knowledge minus action brings but ruination and deviation. Only the association of knowledge with action can lead man to salvation and human sublimity.
Knowledge and action move in one straight line and, as underlined in Zen, knowledge is the same as action, an attitude that has brought about the dazzling progress of Japan, China and India respectively.
In the Upanishad, salvation is attainable in two ways: spiritual reflection and action. In acquiring knowledge one should consider acting accordingly and gratifying God, not commanding others, priding oneself and dispute.
There is also a relationship between mind and face. People, particularly young people, like to engage the attention of others, but most of them do not know how. By their appearance they try to be attractive. However, the correct method to achieve this purpose is fixing intention, clearing incentive and clean and beautiful thought, not simply trim appearance. If man nurtures love of God and others in one’s mind and respects others and attempts to fulfill the needs of others, one will gain divine secrets and the world would be in one’s hands.
To make a comparison between Indian and Islamic thinkers, the former consider attainment of perfect insight and the spiritual journey to lie in exercising control over the body and enduring austerity. In their view, this control empowers one to obey spiritual demands rather than submitting to physical and instinctive desires, thus attaining full salvation. However, the rich Islamic culture and its comprehensive definition of man neither sanctions Indian asceticism nor Christian seclusion; it stresses a natural path to obtain pure life. Bridling the desires and supervision over them is what leads man to a clean life. Augustine, the great Christian authority, said take care of your body for the salvation of the soul.
By practicing kendo, we follow Augustine’s guideline and attempt to bring under control our wrath, jealousy, despair, desperate mental feelings, sad rushes and grief from our mind. These are the devils plaguing the soul, also disrupting mental order by injecting poison into the body and consequently weakening the nerves and dealing irreparable damage to the mirth of the body and soul.
Our observations in daily life also endorse this interaction between soul and body. There are numerous instances of the impact of thought on the body. One example will suffice us. In this case, an old woman was hospitalized for bone fracture. After treatment, she was ready to be discharged from hospital and her daughter was informed of this. When daughter came to the hospital where she met her mother who expected to leave the hospital, but the daughter told her that her husband was no longer ready to accept her in his home and she had to live in a senile hospital. With this news, the poor old woman whose fracture had improved died two days later due to broken heart.
We practice kendo to learn how to avoid such inhuman acts.
Hossein Karamyar is President of the Iranian Kendo Association of Martial Arts Federation.