Sunday, October 23, 2011

Cultivating Wisdom

The classic Chinese text, the Bubishi, was passed down through numerous generations of teachers to students of quanfa (kung fu) until it finally arrived in Okinawa in the mid-to-late 1800s where it had a profound impact on the development of karate. A diverse tome, the Bubishi covers an array of subjects on martial arts such as fighting techniques, healing methods, and philosophy.

I'm not an advocate of gleaning self-defense methods from a book, and traditional Chinese medicine is commonly viewed as snake oil by even modern Chinese physicians. But the following portion of this ancient text, ideas clearly inspired by Daoism, Confucianism and Zen, are timeless tenets to live by for anyone in any culture.

Laws of Wisdom

1. Let anger be your enemy.
2. Remember, an empty vessel makes the most noise.
3. Patience is the foundation upon which security and long life rest.
4. Know well your station in life.
5. Trustworthy reputations are only gained from virtuous merit.
6. Success is the fruit of the strong and wise.
7. Delay is the best remedy for anger.
8. Those who will be enlightened are the ones who live moderate lives, have simple tastes, consume natural foods, and pursue the wisdom of the sages.
9. Remain honest in your heart, true to your discipline, and refrain from overindulgence, and you will enjoy great rewards in life.
10. Mind your manners and your own business.
11. Discretion is the better part of valor.
12. The barriers of human achievement lie only in the mind.
13. An idle mind is a demon's workshop.
14. Justice exists for those who live according the Way, as these are one and the same.
15. Be happy without cause and make the best of what you have.
16. True friendship knows no boundaries.
17. It is a humble virtue to be wealthy and not affected by it.
18. Cause and effect are mutually consistent.
19. Despair is the conclusion of fools. Tomorrow's success is built upon yesterday's failures. Live in the here and now. Do not seek more but learn to enjoy less.

SOURCE: Patrick McCarthy 1995. The Bible of Karate: Bubishi. Tuttle Publishing.

Labels: , , , , , , ,