Hidden Behind The Leaves
On my way to Japan in a few months, I have been going through samurai manuals of all manner and degree of bizarreness/wisdom. Here's a brilliant excerpt from Hagakure (Hidden Behind the Leaves) by Yamamoto Tsunetomo sensei, which clearly indicates that ancient ties bind Indian belief systems with the Japanese:
Recently, people who are called "clever" adorn themselves with superficial wisdom and only deceive others. For this reason they are inferior to dull-wilted folk. A dull- wilted person is direct. If one looks deeply into his heart with the above phrase, there will be no hidden places. It is a good examiner. One should be of the mind that, meeting this examiner, he will not be embarrassed.
The word gen means "illusion" or "apparition." In India, a man who uses conjury is called a genjutsushi ["a master of illusion technique"]. Everything in this world is but a marionette show. Thus we use the word gen.
To hate injustice and stand on righteousness is a difficult thing. Furthermore, to think that being righteous is the best one can do and to do one's utmost to be righteous will, on the contrary, brig many mistakes. The Way is in a higher place then righteousness. This is very difficult to discover, but it is the highest wisdom. When seen from this standpoint, things like righteousness are rather shallow. If one does not understand this on his own, it cannot be known. There is a method of getting to this Way, however, even if one cannot discover it by himself. This is found in consultation with others. Even a person who has not attained this Way sees others front the side. It is like the saying from the game of go: "He who sees from the side has eight eyes." The saying, "Thought by thought we see our own mistakes," also means that the highest Way is in discussion with others. Listening to the old stories and reading books are for the purpose of sloughing off one's own discrimination and attaching oneself to that of the ancients.
A certain swordsman in his declining years said the following:
In one's life. there are levels in the pursuit of study. In the lowest level, a person studies but nothing comes of it, and he feels that both he and others are unskillful. At this point he is worthless. In the middle level he is still useless but is aware of his own insufficiencies and can also see the insufficiencies of others. In a higher level he has pride concerning his own ability, rejoices in praise from others, and laments the lack of ability in his fellows. This man has worth. In the highest level a man has the look of knowing nothing.
[The details of the ukio-e pictured are here.]