Martial arts of the world

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Historical regions of Buddhism in Russia are Buryatia, Irkutsk, Chita regions, Kalmykia, and Tuva. Some spread of Buddhism has received in the Altai territory, where the Gelug school of Tibetan Buddhism dominates.

Buddhism also became widespread among the Russian intelligentsia, which adheres to various trends of Buddhism, including Zen. Many representatives of the "Silver age" of Russian culture turned to Buddhism in their work.

The core of this religion is adapted to both Western and Eastern philosophy. Therefore, martial arts based on the spiritual basis of Buddhism in its various forms do not cause systemic contradictions and allow you to create an organic worldview.

Brief description of religion

According to the teachings, the young Prince Siddhartha Gautama, not satisfied with the hopelessness and hopelessness of life, could not accept the idea of karma. In search of the meaning of human existence, he came to an insight that, having already become a Buddha, he clearly and convincingly stated in his teaching. It is based on four great truths:

  • life is suffering;
  • the cause of all suffering is desire;
  • suffering can be extinguished by getting rid of desires;
  • to do this, it is necessary to lead a virtuous life according to the laws of "correct behavior" and "correct knowledge".

"Correct behavior" is living according to principles:

  • do not harm living creatures;
  • do not take anything from others if it is not given voluntarily;
  • do not violate marital fidelity;
  • refrain from false speech;
  • abstain from intoxicating drinks and drugs in order to have a focused mind and not lose control of yourself.

I would like to draw attention to the fact that the meaning of the above instructions is actually much deeper than it may seem at first glance. For example, the first instruction, which calls for no harm to living beings, should not be interpreted simply as the commandment "thou shalt not kill." Harm to living beings can be caused by both action and inaction. So if you could have helped someone but didn't, consider that you did as much harm to them as if you had hit them or even killed them.

"Correct knowledge" implies self-absorption and inner contemplation-meditation. Breathing, gymnastic and physical exercises, as well as martial arts, are ways of knowing the body, through which consciousness is perfected and, consequently, "correct knowledge" is obtained. This is not the study and discussion of religious texts but the knowledge of oneself: "you have to look inside yourself and there you will see the nature of the Buddha." It is believed that finding shelter is the first step to inner freedom.

According to the teachings, the world consists of six basic elements, or rather, States (mahab-Huta), which, interspersed, give its diversity: earth, water, fire, wind, emptiness (or sky) and consciousness. Note that the first five elements belong to the material world, and the sixth – the totality of the spiritual.

If the traditional followers of Buddhism have a predominant religious faith, then the intellectuals of cosmopolitan megacities delve into the essence of the philosophy of Buddhism in order to learn martial arts through it.

The most harmonious connection of martial arts with Zen Buddhism. In Zen Buddhism, the basic principles and techniques of martial arts are used as a way to develop the mind through the order, clarity, and precision of movements, through which practitioners gain a deeper understanding of both the subtleties of the art and themselves. It is the Buddhist philosophy in its Zen form that is the spiritual basis of many Eastern martial arts.

The origins of the interpenetration of Eastern martial arts and Buddhism

The emergence of connections between Eastern martial arts and Buddhism is attributed to Bodhidharma, the founder of Zen Buddhism. In China, it is called Chan Buddhism. Bodhidharma (also known as Damo in China and Daruma in Japan) is a legendary Indian monk and the 28th Patriarch of Buddhism. Legend has it that around 475 AD, he arrived in China, where he began to preach his teachings. Then he settled in the Shaolin monastery and founded the first schools of Zen Buddhism (Chan Buddhism). Damo gave the monks a set of exercises, later called qigong Damo Yijinjing or Bodhidharma qigong.

It is impossible to assume that the art of hand-to-hand combat begins in China only with the "coming" of the mentioned Buddhist cleric. In fact, more than three millennia ago in this country, martial arts became one of the most important types of military sports exercises. Not only ordinary warriors, but even the military leaders of the ancient Chinese army of the Zhou dynasty were required to constantly train in the fight.

And for more than two hundred years before our era, during the Qing dynasty, even special camps were created in which selected fighters were trained in various techniques. The purpose of this training was to train bodyguards for high-ranking officials.

Still, the systematic practice of martial arts in monasteries began with the arrival of Buddhism. At the same time, there were also unusual monks. Outwardly, they seemed to be no different from the others: the yellow vestments of Buddhist priests, their heads shaved, and the ostentatiously humble postures of people deep in pious thought, but even the oldest had an extraordinary slimness of posture, a light, elastic gait, and a calculated precision of movement that is given only by long years of training and cannot be hidden even under a monk's robe.

All the world's religions are against violence. Including Buddhism. But in practice, Buddhism always mimicked the social and historical environment in which it was located, and therefore many precepts of Buddhism, including the key principle of "non-harm to the living" (Ahimsa), although revered, were not always observed. When the use of force is necessary to protect life, health, eternal moral values, and faith, Buddhism has supported this. That is why the Shaolin monks, also called "Wu-sen" fighting monks, have been practicing martial arts since ancient times, as many now say, Oriental martial arts. These humble acolytes have reached a high level of skill and developed unique methods of combat. There are cases when Chinese and Japanese monks of the highest degrees of initiation participated in the development of combat operations, as well as were military advisers.

However, the study of martial arts does not yet entail its mandatory application. Today, Shaolin teachers strictly Orient monks to "non-aggression"; there is even a sacred rule about when and how to use the martial art. After all, it is well known that a person who really understands the secrets of martial arts almost never enters into battle.

Zen Buddhism as the spiritual basis of martial arts.

Zen Buddhism teaches that in its highest manifestation, the Buddha nature is absolutely void, it stands outside of any specific phenomena of our world and is not subject to logical thinking. It can be known only in the moment of enlightenment, sudden and intuitive insight. "Emptiness is the Buddha. The Buddha is yourself, " says a well-known Zen saying. This is an awakening that is given as a sudden flash of consciousness, when a person is aware of himself as both Emptiness and Buddha at the same time. He is in eternity, for him there is only one "eternally lasting present", without Yesterday and Tomorrow. At the same time, he remains in a state of "absence of thoughts" (munen), his mind is not clouded by any idea, moreover, he himself is absent, dissolves in the General fabric of the Universe.

This state, which should be inherent not only to the Zen ascetic, but also to the true warrior, is called "Muga" – "not I" (SKT. – "Anat-man", kit. – "u vo"). The external and internal world, the connection between man and society, between subject and object become one. Everything speaks to everything, and everything is in everything. This consonance of everything with everything is indicated by the famous phrase "there is neither me nor the other" (dosl. "not-I, not-he"). It is in this state that Chinese masters advised to practice Wushu, considering it both as a method and as the ultimate goal of improvement. The same is true of samurai practice: the famous swordsman Musashi Miyamoto taught that "the true sword stroke comes from the Void", and the highest martial skill comes only when "you will find a state of self-forgetfulness and self-absence".

"Purified consciousness" becomes "polished-smooth", it is no accident that Zen Buddhists compared this unshakeable peace of mind to a clean mirror and standing water. It was from here that the famous principles of "mind like the surface of a lake" (Mitsu no Kokoro) and "mind like the smooth light of the moon" came to samurai martial arts, and then to karate, (which evenly illuminates all objects around, without lingering on anything)" (tsuki no Kokoro). Only in this state can a person see the true world, i.e., as it really is – not distorted or obscured by subjective feelings and thoughts. And this meant an insight into the essence of the world (kensho). The outer and inner sides of the world are one and the same, there is no difference between them, just as the sacred and the ordinary are fused together. This vision of the world is actually referred to as "Neja", and it must strive as a Zen monk, and every true warrior.

Zen Buddhism had a strong impact on Europeans with the possibility of "instant" enlightenment, which was very characteristically called" instant awakening "– Satori (kit. – "Dun Wu"). A person gets rid of his ignorance, obscurity of consciousness (klesha) as from a dream, entering the world of pure and directly perceived images. The highest wisdom that is achieved in this "awakening" is not just some new information, not knowledge in the literal sense of the word, but complete merging with the whole world. Perceiving this as the absence of the need for continuous self-improvement, Europeans have formed a false impression of Buddhism as a whole. Permissiveness and aspiration "inside" Zen Buddhism, interpreted by the European worldview, formed the basis of the hippie movement.

On the other hand, the ideas of strict self-discipline, constant self-training, and the unquestionable authority of the mentor that were present in Zen were the best possible response to the warriors ' worldview. That is why Zen was widely developed among samurai, gave an impetus to the development of Eastern martial arts and received an interesting application in the practice of warrior monks and ninjas.

Scientific analysis of spiritual practices of Buddhism used in martial arts

The above-described States of" purified consciousness " correspond to our understanding of the optimal combat state, when visual-effective and visual-imaginative thinking is activated as much as possible, and abstract – logical thinking is disabled as much as possible.

Here again, it is appropriate to recall the functional asymmetry of the human brain. The function of the left hemisphere of the brain is to operate with word-sign information. It works intermittently (discretely) and sequentially (in stages), "managing" abstract-logical ways of processing information. And the right hemisphere thinks in images and processes information simultaneously. Therefore, the response to the situation in the left hemisphere is almost five times slower than in the right. Therefore, in combat, it is necessary to activate (strengthen) the functions of the right hemisphere and weaken, "slow down" the activity of the left. Ideally, this state involves the absence of thoughts and emotions in the head with an immediate response to threats. What is not the state of "pure mirror" or "standing water" in the Zen understanding of martial arts? We can say that the concepts of mental States are conveyed in figurative language with elements of mystical interpretation.

However, even the followers of martial arts themselves say that the described state of consciousness does not mean the knowledge of Zen truth – after all, intuition and spontaneity of reaction can simply be developed through long training. Simply put, it is necessary to distinguish a full-fledged spiritual practice of Zen from certain individual methods that do not lead to spiritual perfection by themselves.

You should also be careful with" full-fledged spiritual practice". It is believed that Daruma (Damo, Bodhidharma) settled in the monastery, sat for nine years with his legs crossed, silently contemplating the wall of the monastery, which made "his spirit became firm as this wall." Whether he reached "divine enlightenment" is unclear, but his legs were taken away from such a long sitting. Even the sacred gymnastics didn't help. According to tradition, Daruma is depicted with paralyzed legs, sitting motionless, wrapped in a cloak. In Japan, this tradition gave rise to a special kind of toy: Japanese "legless" Vanek-Stanek, called "Daruma".

Buddhism and the SBOR System

Nevertheless, both Western and Russian martial arts will not cause rejection in Buddhism – as we said ,the "Buddhist core" is quite universal. Thus, a person who professes Buddhism and studies S. B. O. R. may well use almost the entire Arsenal of the system, including the psychology section, and even find some similarity between individual exercises and meditative practices of Buddhism. Although of course, we should not forget that our exercises are made for people of the Russian (Russian) archetype and therefore require adaptation to the Buddhist worldview.

In conclusion, it is worth noting that if a person is inclined to philosophize and take a mystical approach, then the artistic descriptions of martial States inherent in Zen Buddhism will be closer and more understandable to him, but if a person has a technical mindset, he will prefer a scientific description of thought processes. However, there are a huge number of excellent fighters who are not interested in either a scientific or metaphysical approach. They learn all the truths through training and experience.

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