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Zen and the Martial Arts

Bodhisattva Action and Martial Arts
By Jeff Brooks

Martial arts and Buddhism, especially Zen Buddhism, have a long relationship, but the nature of that relationship - its limitations and its potential - has not been well understood.

The Zen Mirror: Every Day is a Good Day
By Jeff Brooks

To understand that every day is a good day takes courage because on some days we will suffer.

Karate: An Antidote to Modernism
By Jeff Brooks

In karate, as in any traditional art, it is the continued self-polishing, the negation process of deep, austere training that allows an understanding of the deeper levels of the art.

Morning Practice
By Jeff Brooks

To start the day with a morning prayer: meditation as part of our martial arts practice begins to condition the mind and aim each person's life toward placing our attention on our present and in so doing makes life more meaningful.

Human Relationships Versus Fragmented Images
By Jeff Brooks

A traditional martial arts dojo provides a venue for genuine human sharing and communication within our modern society which is too frequently characterized by fragmented relationships.

Opinion: Every Moment Is An Opportunity
By Christopher Caile

The greatest of all the truly wonderful gifts that life gives us is freedom in each new moment.

Zen Mirror: President John Adams on 'No First Attack'
By Jeff Brooks

How this president dealt with martial conflict reminds me of the qualities of mind and philosophy we often associate with karate.

Holding Hands With Zen: The Martial Arts Connection - An Inteview With Jeff Brooks
By Anna-Maria Goossens

Zen complements the martial arts by helping develop total concentration without thought, something that allows greater spontaneity of action.

Meditation: Just Do It!
By Jeff Brooks

It?s simple, but profound -- meditating in a relaxed, stable posture, not moving, withdrawing our senses, and letting go of objects of thought; coming face to face with the way our minds influence and distort our reality.

THE ZEN MIRROR: Life & The Scenery of Life
By Jeff Brooks

If we recognize the ultimate purpose of our practice we will never be distracted by the shifting scenery of our lives.

Zen Mirror: The Aim Of Practice
By Jeff Brooks

The meaning of his action that day prompted much speculation, but upon his death his life took on symbolic significance and inspired us.

Zen Mirror: Every Move You Make
By Jeff Brooks

The actions that I take now and the actions I took in the past constitute my life and the state of happiness or unhappiness I have created to live within.

The Zen Mirror: Battle and the Ocean of Mind
By Jeff Brooks

If we fail to recognize that we live in an ocean of mind that creates the way we see and act within the world then we will get lost in procedure and forget our true mission.

Buddhism And The Martial Ideal: Part 1
By Jeff Brooks

There have been times when the tools of Buddhism have been put to non-Buddhist ends, yet when you look closely, the centrality of the warrior ideal in Buddhism itself is evident.

Buddhism and the Martial Ideal, Part 2
By Jeff Brooks

Great warriors such as Genghis Khan and King Ashok who used violence to gain power and territory, later stressed the Buddhist ideals of education and harmony during their reign.

Zen Mirror ? All Perfect
By Jeff Brooks

Only when near death, having let go of his own worldly attachments, could this samurai truly grasp the perfection of the moment he was in.

Zen Mirror: The Cultivation of Simplicity
By Jeff Brooks

Instead of defining ourselves on the basis of our likes and dislikes, what if there was a better basis on which to make choices in our lives? What if we understood simplicity itself as a valuable thing?

Zen Mirror: Different And Better
By Jeff Brooks

There is a certain disease that is keeping martial arts in the dark ages and preventing civilian martial arts from developing and becoming the well of knowledge, expertise and personal achievement that it could be.

The Zen Mirror: Bun/Bu - Coercion and Persuasion
By Jeff Brooks

Mastery of the polarity between coercion and persuasion is the fundamental challenge we face as individuals, leaders, warriors and parents.

Zen Mirror: The Kingdom Within You
By Jeff Brooks

For every action we take on the world around us there is a corresponding effect on the world within us. The implications of this fact are the single most important point to understand if we are to have a truly cultivated life.

Zen Mirror: The Golden Age of Martial Arts
By Jeff Brooks

The mission of the true martial artist now is as critical as it was in Tokugawa era Japan or in the time of Bodhidharma and the Shaolin Temple in China.

Zen Mirror:The Duty of the Martial Artist
By Jeff Brooks

A warrior?s skill, power and life itself have no meaning or purpose unless the sense of duty is clear, and we act in accord with it.

Zen Mirror: Protecting The Dalai Lama
By Jeff Brooks

As practitioners of self defense we are both the defender and the thing we defend. Those functions coexist in us as individuals but also in our relationship to our families, communities, nations... We need to be sure we perform these roles with a single, just mission. Then we can be healthy and strong, and the world can be transformed.

The Zen Mirror: The Cultivation of Gratitude
By Jeff Brooks

The chief antidote to dissatisfaction and constant unfulfilled desire is not among the usual candidates - working harder, accumulating possessions, or gaining status or power. It is instead to encourage our own gratitude.

Zen Mirror: What is Success in the Martial Arts?
By Jeff Brooks

How do we measure success in the martial arts? It is not the same every moment for every person but in the long run there are a set of guiding principles we can rely on and which we can use to measure our achievement.

Zen Mirror: The KEN ZEN Ideal -- Martial arts and Zen As One
By Jeff Brooks

A Zen teacher in his official role as police officer brings a unique prospective to his daily patrols and law enforcement responsibilities.

Zen Mirror: Martial Arts Initiation
By Jeff Brooks

In modern society that lacks traditional rites of passage or initiation methods into adulthood the dedicated study of karate or martial arts might serve this function.

Zen Mirror: Logic and Freedom: A Fresh Look at Classical Zen
By Jeff Brooks

Most western martial artists have come in contact with Zen somewhere in the course of their training. But has the westernized version of Zen missed the point?

Zen Mirror: This Magic Moment
By Jeff Brooks

There is no doubt that in times of hardship people succumb to despair, raiding, addiction and savagery. But people can also band together in a spirit of respect and shared values and recover their humanity through training in karate, taekwondo, kung fu, judo or in any other martial art.

Zen Mirror: The Locus of Subjectivity
By Jeff Brooks

As we mature as a martial artist our locus of self-defense expands to include protection of others as well as our self.

Zen Mirror: The Ark of History
By Jeff Brooks

History is made of stories about the rise and fall of cultures; stories of vitality and decadence, raids and defense, heroism and treachery. That is the human tale. And it continues, unchanged, today. But it is also true for us.

Getting Perspective
By Christopher Caile

Nature can create an intimate connection that draws you out of your own world. It can clear the mind and take it to a central space, a kind of poor man's Zen mind.

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