Most people who purport to teach meditation don't realize the importance of some aspects cf the practice and how it affects the brain. Meditation is the key to becoming a complete spirit, an integrated person, a whole human being, enlightened. The biological process of enlightenment involves encouraging the endocrine system to awaken the hypothalamus and cerebellum. These are the oldest parts of the brain and could be said to represent our deepest nature. They are concerned with movement, balance, protection, and music. They would also seem to be the seat of problem-solving, vision, and creativity if the cortex is primarily memory storage and word processing.
In recent years a great deal of research has been done on the effects of meditation. If you are interested in listening to a group of Western psychologists and scientists report to their colleagues, Insight Recordings has a six-tape collection of presentations from the Inner Science Conference for a very reasonable price. Write them at P.O. Box 546, San Jacinto, CA 92383. One of the points these researchers make time and time again is that meditation is hard work. The techniques I share here are empirically researched and provide useful shortcuts to avoiding entrapment by some of the darker emotional states or levels of awareness that can be use ful for survival but aren't terribly helpful when you are taking care of everyday business.
If you have not mastered the simple techniques of basic meditation, you haven't a prayer of attaining your goal of becoming a complete human being or tatsujin. Tat refers to the void and sujin could be a water spirit. It does not matter what your religious background is, or for that matter whether you are religious at all, as the practice of meditation can deepen beliefs or eradicate them depending on the individual. Hatsumi recommends Americans attend the church of their choice. Religion is concerned with worship; this process is concerned with becoming. They are very different. What is important is learning how to discipline your mind and body so that energy may flow through you in the most beneficially natural as well as efficient manner. Meditation or mind-fulness should become so natural to you that you don't have to close your eyes but can drive your car, walk about, make love, or win a fight without breaking your concentration or composure. Eventually you'll attain mushin (divine emptiness/innocence/ absorption by the void) if you make this walk your everyday walk.
I will now present for you a method based on the ancient Tien Tao Chi Kung practices that are hidden within Bujinkan Taijut-su. All of this works and it all works together. You leave out any part, then shame on you. I'll emphasize the important secrets that are usually left out (or only passed on through oral tradition). There are worse penalties than boredom for doing this wrong, so read this over and approach the subject with caution and pure intention. If you're careful and maintain the right attitude by using the Secret Smile, you can have a lot of fun. Practice is more important than intensity or sincerity.
The essential aspect of meditation is relaxation. Medical researchers refer to this as the relaxation response. In the first phase the relaxation response is elicited to open the door for change; the second phase is used to reprogram or rewire the mind with fresh information along desired lines; the third phase is exploring the subconscious, group consciousness, and the process of melting away dualism. Let us remember there is no mind-body dichotomy so what you do affects all. Each individual's experience of certain techniques will be different but the principle remains the same. For example, where my inner vision is relaxed and filled with interesting challenges, my friend Mike Cornelius is constantly doing battle as he learns about his inner rage and competitive nature. Another friend who is enamored of Aleister Crowley suffers enormously for every piece of the inner puzzle gained. Entering the inner world of consciousness is a lot like playing Dungeons and Dragons. Many ancient cultures devised alchemical recipes and visionary exercises for improving oneself. All include meditation, but often only the outer forms or postures are preserved or understood by those unwilling to dig a little deeper or go behind the facade.
"The Lord loveth an upright man" is a true statement and on one level has to do with posture or keeping the back straight as possible. This is very difficult for the neophyte who probably doesn't have much sense of inner balance and doesn't yet have the confidence to allow his bones to support his muscles so he can move freely from his axis. If you've trained in ninjutsu or some schools of kung fu you'll notice there is considerable emphasis on keeping the back straight and the bones aligned in most cf the movements. The postures for sitting in meditation are designed to provide a stable base for the beginning meditator and nothing more until he or she develops their chi through the training of the breath. Sitting up straight is what is important. Occultists refer to this as developing the spiritual body; Togakure Ryu ninjas describe the back straightening process as following or being lifted by an inner light, similar to an esoteric Christian description. The importance of the spine in spiritual doctrine is even reflected in the Latin names of the bones — foramen magnum (Mouth of God) and sacrum (Vessel of the Sacred). Translation of corresponding Chinese acupuncture points in Taoist scrolls renders Heaven's Seat and Seat of the Ocean. The burning sword of Tibet and the sword surrounded by a fiery dragon are both symbols for the spine, as is the serpent-entwined staff of the Greek caduceus of healers and the serpent in the tree for those who work with the living. So much for an esoteric excursion into universal visionary symbology. Here's the first lesson, which is to prepare the body.
Sit in a chair so that your knees are beneath your hips. Pull your shoulders back and then down so they are centered below your ears and your ribs are forward. Tuck your chin in slightly as you tilt up the back of your neck and head as if you were being lifted by your ears or imitating an elf. Close your eyes and pay attention to the back of your eyelids. Raise your tongue so it presses lightly against the roof cf your mouth, the touching point above your upper two front teeth. (If you wear dental apparatus that keeps this from happening, forget vanity and get rid of it while you meditate.) This seal of the mouth is critical and one of the secrets passed in oral tradition. If you don't do this you risk severe damage to your brain stem and exquisite pain. Let your hands drop together in your lap in whatever manner they fall comfortably. Notice how this naturally straightens your spine and is not particularly uncomfortable if you have any strength in your lower back at all. If your lower back is weak, you may have to lean against a wall or tree and use pillows until you get it right. Edgar Cayce, the famous sleeping seer, was fond of pine trees. When you do get it right, you'll know because you'll be able to hold the posture for a long time without strain.
It's balance not muscle that allows the skilled meditator to hold a posture for long periods of time. In fact, some research indicates that meditation does not contribute to relaxation as much as balance and internal harmony. You may find the attentions of a chiropractor or massage therapist of some value in the beginning stages, and if you're a martial artist you'll enjoy their skills for more mundane reasons. Meditation that is done lying down is worthless for achieving the kundalini but can be useful for practice in deepening relaxation, visualization, and healing. (Dr. Rammamurti S. Mishras, The Textbook of Yoga Psychology. New York: The Julian Press, 1963.)
Energy moves through tight muscles slowly, so trying to meditate through strain is largely a waste of time. Sitting in a chair works; it was fine for Egyptian gods and Chinese faeries who val ued stillness over contortion. For many Westerners the very stable lotus position which provides a seat will probably be too painful to derive its mystical benefits. A simpler seat used by the Japanese in both common and meditative practice is called seiza (sitting on one's heels, knees together to the front, ankles raised or lowered or held to the outside cf the hips depending upon foot flexibility), with everything concerning the spine still applying. Another preferred seat of the mystic is called fudosa (the sage seat/the seat of powerful compassion/wind way meditation posture), and I've seen most ninjas alternating between it and seiza for meditation and simple observation. Some martial artists belittle the sage seat as they are not flexible enough to move out of it with ease, but with a little practice you'll be surprised to find that it's no impediment to fast action. The samurai (military ruling class that served the tyrant shoguns until corrupted by mercantilism) liked it a lot.
The sage seat is best accomplished by crossing the legs like the proverbial red Indian chief while seated on a zafu (small, round, pillow or hard pad that raises the hips above the knees). One heel is tucked under to press against the perineum while the other foot is turned to rest against the tucked leg's shin. The perineum press is important, particularly when working on your sitting smile.
Once you have mastered sitting in an erect and still position with your bones balanced so your muscles can just hang relaxed, you can begin working with the breath. Being still allows you to feel subtle differences in your body as you experiment with developing your ability to efficiently process oxygen to ignite the blood. Chi kung breathing uses a simpler formula than many of the yog-ic techniques but the end result is the same. Your breathing should be slow, silent, and seamless.
Seamless means there is no catch; the transition from inhale to exhale is so smooth that an observer cannot tell if you are breathing in or out when watching your shoulders or upper chest. As you breathe in through the nose, you allow your sinuses to fill as you press outward and downward with your stomach and groin muscles in a relaxed manner, allowing your lungs to completely fill with air. This is going two steps below diaphragmatic breathing as practiced by musicians and singers. With a little gentle persuasion the ribs at the front and back can also be expanded to bring in even more air. After all, you are going to need to run in an extremely efficient manner considering your goals. Breathing this way feels a bit like a cobra spreading its mantle, which is another common symbol in the martial arts. Air is our most easily attainable source of food and energy. No air, no Self, no life as we enjoy it.
Once you have made the relaxed, seamless, giant inhale a normal and easy part of your practice, add the following to your ever more complex but easy technique. As you exhale, slowly collapse your ribs and bring in your stomach muscles until it seems your very intestines are wrapping around your lower spine. If you are weak you can extend and exaggerate this tightening and loosening to include every muscle in your body with each breath, giving you the advantage of continual relaxed dynamic tension exercise. You may recall the description from the TaoTe Chingof the master who holds power yet doesn't seem to do anything. This practice is important on many levels even if it is not particularly dramatic, which also accounts for it not being well known. It is sometimes referred to as "the baby's breath" by Taoists as this is how the little tykes breathe; Hatsumi jokes about having very young energy and ninjutsu being a baby art. There is a beginner's body as well as a beginner's mind necessary for development on the Zen, Chen, or Tien path. It may not be pronounced the same but it's all the same nonetheless.
Now that you've discovered or rediscovered how to breathe for depth and power, you'll quickly find this method absorbs the high chest breathing you were doing before. Usually after a few hours of practice this becomes the way you breathe all the time, particularly if you remember to do it when you're walking or driving. If you're moving about it's not necessary to keep your eyes closed but all other references to relaxing, aligning the bones, and balancing on the spine still apply. It might encourage you in your studies of this type of breathing to know a 1987 survey of cardiac arrests at the Menninger Clinic (quoted with great regularity in Rodale Press's various publications) reported that all heart attack victims represented in that survey sample were high chest breathers. One hundred twenty-seven out of one hundred twenty-seven is a fairly conclusive little study. New drugs have been launched on far less evidence. High shallow breathing is also associated with paranoia and anxiety attacks as well as fainting. Learning how to breathe properly is critical to longevity as well as to quieting the mind.
When you've achieved four to six breaths a minute as normal you may want to experiment with faster inhalations and long slow exhalations. In deep meditation you may find a cycle of breath can take up to a minute. You may find that after a while you can also hold your breath for ridiculously long periods of time, which is useful when hiding or underwater or, if your chosen lifestyle is particularly hazardous, both. The morning is a good time to meditate. Before one goes to the dojo or kwoon, it's a good way to get settled even if you plan to meditate with your class later. The Togakure Ryu ninjas like to do it before performance or entering the territory of the opponent, rather like a prayer to enhance their chances of coming home to Mama. It's different from pumping up. Gatherers of intelligence try to avoid the way of cannon fodder.
One cf the best times to meditate, in my opinion, is after sampling an anodyne you've learned to trust. The colorful sunset is fading after a two-day blizzard in January, and the wind chill is about twenty below as you face West and prepare to face the forces of night and death. Build a fire in the Franklin stove so you'll have warmth at your back. Put on some Carlos Nakai, an American Indian flautist and singer of singular power. This probably won't win me many sidekicks, but you should be sitting in fudosa or cross-legged like Chief Sitting Bull or Chief Red Cloud and prepared to do thirty minutes at least. The feeling is something like divine laughter for being crazy enough to participate in Inuit shamanism. It's a little like how a lifetime trainer in the martial arts feels. There's a certain "I'm still here!" about it which is part of the competency of doing it right, that's pumped by a hell of a rush as your animal survival mechanisms seek inner warmth. It's called "The Pleasure Principle."
1 have a friend, Ed Purchis, a retired GM exec, who likes to go canoeing in the winter predawn, when it's quiet on the mid-Michigan lake and the water is coagulating from the cold. It's lonely as a leper's picnic. No one is out there sharing this magical if frigid moment with him. Even his wonderfully adventurous and curious wife, Kay, does not share this particular adventure. I liked it a lot, but it's a hard sell. The water actually grates as you slice through it, and the mist can be very odd.
After Kevin Millis and I had spent some time rooming together in Japan on one of Stephen Hayes' tours of historical sites important in ninja history, he suddenly asked me one sunny cold morning, "What the hell are you? You only take one or two breaths for every three or four the rest of us take and you smoke. You awaken instantly and know exactly where you are and where everyone else is. How do you do that?" He was an observant lad, even when freezing his ass off. I should have said, "I trust in God" but instead I said, "Oh, that's just chi kung. Even a child can do it. Let me show ya."
Quietening the mind is the quintessence of all the skills necessary for enlightenment. It is absolutely necessary to stop what we normally regard as thinking. As one of my early senseis told me, "You must think the thought which is not thought!" I worked on that little gem of a koan on and off for eight years during my diaspora from the martial arts for graduate study. It's a normal human urge to better oneself. But No-thought or Divine Emptiness is a pretty fucking alien concept for someone who is trying to earn a Ph.D. in the industrial Midwest, home of Motown, apple pie, motherhood, Alice Cooper, and Chevrolet, coming out cf Penn State, the US. Army, small towns in the mountains of Pennsylvania, and the home of a Methodist minister and an elementary schoolteacher. I still love burning rubber. My shadow side is attracted to headbanging.
Fortunately, I was sitting in half-lotus one day on the sundeck of our condo contemplating my navel (which is a great joke on the operation of the dan tien, the spot two fingers below the navel which the Japanese call hara, and the medieval alchemists Seal of the Soul). My Puerto Rican neighbor who was working on his master's in business administration or some related subject at U of M, and who had put me onto Gurdjieff and Ouspensky wanders by and shows me Dr. Herbert Benson's little masterpiece on meditative research—his first book, called The Relaxation Response (Avon. 1967). (He has written better stuff since: Yotir Maximum Mind, Times Books, 1987.) In the first book there are perfectly clear descriptions of how to meditate from a medical and psychological perspective without having to misinterpret an archaic language or solve some madman's enigmatic riddle. What a gift. A guidebook on how to quiet and empty the mind for beginners. No samadhi or samantabhadra (total absorption in the object of meditation/pure intention), just silence. This I could handle. I knew how to shut up. This was science and I know the rules in that club.
The following is my interpretation of all you need to know concerning emptying the mind, with some extra challenges for the truly flexible yet exacting practitioner. In some circles this is called Dr. Death's Humbling Bad-Ass Brain Scrub. You should attempt to do this for at least twenty minutes every day, morning or night, until the condition of no mind chatter is normal and preferred. This is a phase one relaxation exercise. Phase Ones are to prepare the meditator's hardware. Everybody loves the Secret Smile (the most respected esoteric tool for transformation across cultures) as a Phase Two moving meditation. Most of the Phase Two exercises I'm using in my next book, or you can take the course or join the ryu (a stream/an integrated, codified, aware consciousness associated with winning under any circumstances/ fraternal-sororal-familial discipline that encourages risk and pain as a process for self-growth and development of leadership qualities for emergencies).
Start the brain scrub by simply counting to ten, one number as you inhale, one as you exhale. You are only allowed to think the numbers. Any extraneous thought such as my feet hurt or this is a stupid exercise sends you back to the beginning because all you are allowed to do is count your breath. Most people last about six seconds if they're honest, when they can't believe that second thought sneaked in and they start over. If counting presents too great a difficulty you might try going "ooonnnneee" with your exhale. This is called using a mantra, and any mellifluous sound will do while you are working on emptying the mind.
"Aum" is probably the most famous of all mantras and can serve the dual purpose of emptying and filling, as it means "All is one, both the beginning and the end." One of my students remarked, "Ah is the sound you make as you begin sex and Lhi is when you finish. Aum is another name for God when you are enlightened." This was without prompting and shows a remarkable parallel to the Tibetan translation of Jewel in the Lotus (om mane padme hum), which is a euphemistic pun for androgyny, as lingam (male principle/penis) is absorbed by yoni (female principle/ vagina).
Or you can just make a loud humming or growling noise so your sinuses and skull bones vibrate. Make your noise as loud as you can and then begin to quiet your sound production until you can hear it only as a thought, and then keep turning down the sound of the thought like you're dialing down the radio until all you can hear is a high-pitched ringing noise which is sometimes referred to as the music of the spheres but in reality is just the sound of blood coursing through the round little blood vessels in your ears. New that's quiet. When your mind is quiet like that you can hear a mouse fart, a useful skill when you are trying to detect the approach of an enemy or hear the admonitions of your true conscience. If you want to increase your hearing, pay attention to the root of your tongue and focus your listening as far from your body as your mind can easily remember. You may get a surprise.
The object is not to improve hearing, however, but to remove extraneous noise. You want a quiet, smooth-running brain that allows easy access to what is stored there. A Cadillac engine of the mind. You don't want a sleepy, moody, ignorant, slow, or jerky brain with a bad memory as a result of not knowing how to do basic preventative maintenance. It's time to change the oil! I'll bet you're still clinging to useful thoughts like 2 + 2 = 4 even though you had the principles pat for years. How many jingles do you have stashed in there? Dinah Shore hasn't sung for me in such a long time yet 111 always see the U.S.A. with her out-flung arms blowing a kiss. If you can't turn it on and off, you don't control it—something else does. On one level it's the difference between external and intrinsic motivation; on another it's simply a matter cf ownership and the normal human desire for quality, particularly when quality translates as having a more interesting and healthy life. Most people treat their most valuable possession like it was somebody else's unattractive dog.
Now once you've stilled the mind and made it quiet, observe how thoughts arise. As they do, just let them slip by without attaching or getting involved with them. Let it be, or let them go, or objectively observe as they float through your consciousness. Once you understand the mechanics of their movement, begin to trace the insectile thoughts with no interference beyond observation or attention without attachment. This exercise is sometimes referred to as The Witness. Once you have examined the contents of your ego or learned self, you can begin the process of debugging your software by simply not feeding unwanted thoughts. Purposively withdrawing your awareness keeps the thoughts quiescent and weak until they simply fade away. You dial them down, you still your mind. You turn off the radio. This is also a good process for dealing with addictions.
Another method which I have little faith in but offer anyway is "the gopher-whacking exercise," where one tries to push back each thought as it arises. This only leads to frustration and is usually given up if the initiate is taught the dialing-down or passive mind methodology. Beating up yourself strikes me as self-destructive regardless of what is being damaged. It's using a sledgehammer where an eraser provides a cleaner transition. If you're drawn to this manic kind of intensity read Crowley's Magick: In Theory and Practice (Dover, 1976). He offers some exercises for those who hate and fear their body which only a Victorian could see in a positive light.
After a month or so of mind-scrubbing you may notice that you're pretty hard to distract and your access to memory is fast and accurate with the exception of trivia, which takes a while because it is now properly categorized. People who never go through this process often spend their whole lives in pursuit cf trivia, no pun on the game intended.
The result of this process is clarity of thought, often accompanied by much greater access to the subconscious---accomplish-ments that are hard to denigrate. It also has the additional benefit of greatly slowing the heart rate and sometimes lowering blood pressure. Research on meditators indicates they score significantly younger on tests of biological aging. The intestinal breathing greatly facilitates digestion and evacuation, which are also associated with longevity. The need for caloric intake often drops to about a thousand per day, which research in the last ten years strongly correlates with low disease incidence and longer life. There is a tendency to become more of a vegetarian in your selection of food and simultaneously to acquire a genuine liking for raw flesh. Takamatsu (thirty third grandmaster) decried modern cooking methods, many of which correlate with cancer, as being a source of weakness. There is a reason you feel energized after a snack of sushi or sashimi. Proper meditation increases your physical as well as mental efficiency. Not having to eat as much and being primarily vegetarian is a considerable advantage on a forced march or when traveling in hostile territory where a cooking fire could betray your presence. Do you need any other reasons why meditation might be useful to a warrior?
Now that you've emptied mind through passive reflection, the question becomes what do you want to put in there that might make your life more interesting? Meditation can increase analytical skills and memory and rejuvenate the endocrine hormonal systems, referred to by the ancients as chakras, as well as strengthen the parasympathetic systems which can be considered our immune system. The following are various ways to build the "inner light." The first is a kung fu exercise that is part of Taoist esoteric yoga and requires a little imagination on your part. You might record the instruction to play to yourself as you practice or have a friend read you the "recipe" while you are mastering the technique. Or buy the tape set that accompanies this book (available from Eurotechnical Research University's school of Polemikolo-gy basic and advanced meditation courses). We start Phase Two with the infamous Secret Smile.
First hit the proper meditative position that you like the most. Close your eyes and slow your breathing. Balance your spine in an upright position and put your tongue up. Put a smile on your face. At least lift your cheeks, so the corners of your mouth turn up if you no longer remember what a smile is. Tighten up your toes until they really hurt and then release them. Do this three times. Once the pain has stopped, pay attention to the relaxed feeling concurrent with it stopping and move that relaxed feeling from the sole cf your foot to your ankles and then up to your calves. Bring it around your knees into the heavy muscles of the thighs and allow them to soften and relax. You may feel yourself settling into your seat as you allow the hips and pelvis to settle. Picture your thorax as a bowl or barrel (grail or vessel) filling up with relaxation. Let the intestines, stomach, and lower back fill up. Allow the relaxed feeling to flow up into your chest, upper back, and shoulders so that it overflows into your arms and down to your fingertips. Let your arms fill up until the relaxed feeling begins to move up the back of your head and around your neck, coming up over your ears and skull to rest behind your eyes. Catch the feeling with your relaxed tongue, mix it with your saliva, and swallow it down to the bottom of your belly, where you swirl it around.
Instead of emptying your mind, remember a time you did something you were not only proud of, but other people recognized your achievement. It doesn't matter what it was or how old you were. Pay attention to how you felt. Erase the people, event, and reward and keep the feeling. Take that feeling down to your feet and breathe it through your body following the same procedure you just did with the feeling of relaxation, but this time you don't have to tighten your toes. Bring it over your head, mix with the saliva, swallow, and allow it to mix with the relaxed feeling and then begin the cycle anew. Do this for three or more cycles of breath.
Picture a time when you were laughing so hard you literally fell down, cracked up, and totally lost it. Take out the joke or situ ation and hold onto that feeling of wild laughter and breathe that through your body, starting at your feet and ending in your belly, Mix it with the first two and breathe all three through the cycle.
Now, remember a time when you were in love and felt loving. Take out the loved one and the situation and hold onto that wonderful feeling. Take that down to your feet and bring it up through your body over your head, to swallow it down and mix with the other feelings. Then combine the four to breathe through your body following the identical procedure. The next segment is rated R and those under 18 must have the permission of their parents or guardians to continue.
If you're sexually active, remember the best orgasm you ever had, and if male, hold onto the moment just before ejaculation and breathe that feeling through your body (as you probably don't want to stain your trousers and the male orgasm is often too short for this exercise). If female, let it rip as you breathe that through your body from the tip of your toes to the top of your head, down behind the eyes, through the tongue, and back to the belly of the beast. This is the power behind the Secret Smile and one of those important little tantric items usually regarded as oral tradition. Once you've succeeded in combining all these feelings and moving them from your feet to your head and back to below your stomach, memorize the process. Make it part of your daily practice until it is so easy that it just becomes background sensation for any other exercise or a warm-up that sticks with you.
The Secret Smile is a process for truly internalizing feelings. The feelings you have just internalized are also referred to as relaxed calm, confidence in your abilities, happiness, love, and ecstasy. You could say you're just making yourself cool, confident, happy, and sexy. I like to think of it as Homo sapiens' (Latin for what you is) natural state. With the distractions and turmoil cf modern living it's difficult to remember that you once were and with a little effort still are in this state of youthful bliss. Zen practitioners call this remembering your Self. As your practice deepens, so will that concept.
Energy moves best through a happy camper and everybody loves a lover. I taught a girl how to do this in about ten minutes a couple of years ago in California when I was out to train with Kevin and the look on her face was great afterwards, she was radiant. She said, "Wow! I didn't even know what smile meant." She couldn't wipe the grin off her face. I dare anybody to try to intellectually flog the mind into accomplishing that little exercise. Mental discipline has to do with attention, remembering, and creating, not how many pushups you can do on your knuckles. The Secret Smile also prepares the body and mind to accept as normal the movement of powerful emotions and sexual energy through it as a means for clearing and opening what Oriental medicine refers to as meridians. Let's move onto another exercise for developing "inner light.',
Look away from the external light source. Close your eyes but pay attention to the phosphorous on the back of your eyelids. No color. Write down black in your diary of meditation events. You are keeping a diary, aren't you? Don't you want to be able to explain to your grandchildren how you got so weird and funny?) Make note of any color or semblance of color you see. Hit the position of choice and, maintaining no expectation, empty your mind with your tongue resting against your lower teeth. Breathe like you used to and watch the back of your eyelids. When you're done with that, put your tongue up and begin chi kung breathing, continuing to pay attention to whatever happens on your eyelids. After you've exhausted those insights, begin the Secret Smile and observe throughout the five complete cycles of breath. Note any differences. Do this more than once. Look around back there; you may find some interesting surprises. If you do, they're yours. Scope 'em out, dude. It might be reasonable to check your progress this way at least once a week as part of your meditation practice. The little fat buddha called "Happy Ho Tai" represents this exercise.
Have you noticed that many of the legendary Japanese heroes are depicted as being more than just a little cross-eyed? I've a woodcut of Musashi, katana (mid-length war sword) held underhand, slicing arrows out of the air while looking backwards with his eyes crossed. Are we talking skill, art, or super-natural here?
Trevor Leggett (Zen and the Ways, Tuttle, 1987) tells us that the crossed eyes are an artistic device used by the Japanese to indicate that the individual was guided by looking inward or following an inner light. You might make the leap of faith from the picture to the godan test as representing something similar. If you've ever examined a Japanese pillow book you might have noticed that some of the positions are done with crossed eyes.
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