Archive for ceremony

Martial Arts Time-LARP

Posted in Cults, Fighting, martial arts, Paganism, Religion, self-help, Shintoism, taijiquan with tags , , , , , , , on April 27, 2010 by wizardsmoke
Something to note about Japanese martial arts is the CEREMONIALISM. For instance, what really is the difference between the presentation of Japanese koryu (samurai-era schools) and sport arts like judo? Mostly the ceremony. And between those two groups of arts lies modern gendai budo like the Bujinkan, Genbukan, Jinenkan, Iaido, Aikido, involve pseudo-free-form small patterns that are derived from ritual. Unlike Systema or Taijiquan where you have basic fundamentals demonstrated on their own, in koryu-derivative arts, you have symbolic patterns, which are neither specific techniques, nor are they extended kata or forms.

To me this feels like a culturally distinct Japanese process, where much of the transmission takes place in the subtler cues and the practitioner’s ability to read between the lines or perceive the information along cultural lines. But I guess that’s the gist of EXISTENCE eh? That’s how you figure out anything, no matter how seemingly clear-cut the language. My problem is that I don’t understand cultural cues from Japan! So everytime I find myself in these totally sweet Shinto-esque training environments, I don’t really know how to bypass the ritual itself. Ah, but that’s the game I guess. It just sucks when I don’t get it and I get straight rude injured by the practice. SO IT GOES AHAHA

But the truth is, I find martial arts to be kind of lame and nerdy. Not nerdy in a geeky sense, but nerdy in that there are a lot of people who obsess over the stuff without any bigger use for the material, save for their ego. I find myself TOLERATING a lot of the people I meet in the martial arts, rather than really enjoying their company. HEY HEY not that I’m some great company myself but… the issue is that with annoying nutjobs, crazy or angry people, etc. their presence comes with a higher price. You have to actually physically fight with these people, even if only an exercise. Not as much of an issue in music, business, academia, etc. where you generally just deal with the stupid non-violent status war shit that all groups have.

And that’s the other thing: sparring, fighting, etc. When are you going to get in a dirty streetfight, save for someone surprise assaulting and destroying you? When will you need to use your god-given right to firearms, except to commit a crime? I don’t know, I guess if it happens, the training is worth it. And good survival/martial training will certainly show you WHEN you’re coming close to those situations, since you lookat them more directly (if you’re not retarded), but when do you walk into those things? Very rarely. Time is an expensive commodity, and I would imagine most people don’t have that to spare for this survivalist shit.

To me martial arts ends up being a kind of “violence ritual”. This is something along the lines of what Scott Philips talks about. I just think it’s a way of warding off the negative emotions and fears that come with thinking about violence without first-hand knowledge of it. So, by exposing yourself to it on a regular basis in a safer environment, it’s easier to tame within one’s psyche; it is not as much of a severe control factor in dictating one’s life.
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No Prayer for the Dying

Posted in Buddhism, Christianity, Cults, Daoism, death, Mysticism, Religion, society, Uncategorized, World of Emotions with tags , , on July 22, 2008 by wizardsmoke

Funerals are so weird. Despite the fact that they focus on one person’s life, that person really does not have much of a hand in the process. How strange that funerals are so personal, yet at the same time very impersonal in relation to the deceased. What better argument that funerals and prayer are often for the living?

Not that this is always the case. The actual ceremony is for the living. But it’s hard to really give a good ceremony in which people have a good time. That’s what I would want for my funeral. A good fun time to be had by all! A real fun, hilarious, bitter-sweet bash! Because you only remember the good times. The bad times slip away into the shadows of the mind, only reappearing to haunt us.

I guess there are three reasons to pray for the deceased, all of which are similar in their needs: (1) rebirth, reincarnation, salvation or whatever your choice in transmigration, (2) assuaged feelings in the family, friends and community of the deceased, and similarly (3) maintenance of ceremony, ritual, and needs of a congregation or tradition.

The idea of praying as a group or having a specialist (as in Tibetan Buddhism, Judaism, etc.) pray for the newly deceased seems logical enough to me. In particular, if the deceased has been careless or unprepared for their death, their mindstream or “dedicated energy stream” might not be very focused. The kind of energy a person carries around is not purely retained in some empirical physical body. People have a kind of omnidimensional presence which can get divided, whisked away, or maybe even shred up without proper guidance or practice. Yeah, at least that’s what I’ve surmised without any concrete evidence.

People who have developed their shen (spirit) are probably less in need of someone to actually pray for their rebirth. It’s still a good thing to do, if only for the sake of ceremony, but there is a point where one’s spirit has gone beyond the prayers of laypeople. Some people do not need prayers as much as others, or sometimes it is not the deceased person but their community and ancestors who require them. This is why we mourn when a truly wonderful or virtuous person dies. We need to pray for ourself, for our own future in the shadow of their lives.

Hee hee, it’s kinda like in SIT: Zen Teachings of Taisen Deshimaru when a student asks why they’re doing a kito (commemorative prayer service) for the Pope. And then whether they should ever do one for Deshimaru himself. But he’s like, “I am beyond a kito, but if it makes you feel better…” Haha, Deshimaru had the most annoying, hilarious, charming way of talking to people. I guess a lot of recent generation Zen masters from Japan are like that, yeah? So off-the-wall goofy and arrogant it becomes funny.

Man… I better cool off with the Deshimaru, though. What am I, some kind of cult member? Pshh!!!