I do not speak Japanese but I love to “understand” the meaning of Japanese kanji.
This is one of the many things I learnt from Sensei during all these years.
Today, a friend sent me an interesting comment about “kokoroe” (cf. recent post). Kokoroe, “knowledge” is written 心得 shin/kokoro + u/toku. But when the two kanji of “kokoroe” are reversed: i.e. 得心, it is “tokushin” and means “understanding”. So knowledge is also about understanding Nature and Life.
This is good but it gets better!
The sound of the first kanji “toku” in tokushin can be written with different kanji and have different meanings in Japanese. For example, we all know that Karate, 空手 (“empty hand” today) used to be written Karate 唐手, Chinese boxing before Funakoshi Sensei changed it to have it accepted as a Japanese Budô at the end of the 19th century. Obviously a Chinese fighting system couldnt have recognized as a Japanese Budô.
So for “tokushin”, if we keep the sound but change the kanji, we get three interesting meanings.
1) The regular toku: 得, is the kanji we used so far, and it means “benefit or gain”. This is the one in tokushin, but change it (same sound) and you obtain (toku) two other interesting meanings which are:
2) Toku: 匿. This “toku” means shield. Tokushin then can also mean that our mind/heart is shielding us, protecting us from the outside world. Kokoroe, going from Omote to Ura is protecting us from what is bad or wrong. Because through hard training we reach the level where we obtain (toku) the “intuitus” (see “intuitus” in blog), or the awareness and ability to see through; we are protected.
But there is more, and I was totally amazed with what I discovered.
3) This last “toku” written 徳, becomes “benevolence”! In the post on Kokoroe, I quoted Takamatsu sensei writing about “Jihi no Kokoro”, the “benevolent heart”. This new kanji gives a deeper interpretation of the above mentioned text by Takamatsu sensei. In a way, we can see that tokushin (written Toku no Kokoro 得の心) is conceptually similar to Jihi no Kokoro (慈悲の心).
The Bujinkan art is not about war, assasination; it is about peace and this new Sanshin made out of “kokoroe, tokushin, and jihi no kokoro” is there to help us achieving this “benevolent heart” through long study. The only thing to do to get that is to commit oneself to the art. Ranks are nothing if they are not supported by high skills. Training is the key and will lead to true knowledge, the knowledge of the heart!
Takamatsu sensei confirms it when he writes: “Personal enlightenment can only come about through total immersion in the martial tradition as a way of living. By experiencing the confrontation of danger, the transcendence of fear of injury or death, and a working knowledge of individual personal powers and limitations, the practitioner of Ninjutsu can gain the strength and invincibility that permit enjoyment of the flowers moving in the wind, appreciation of the love of others, and contentment with the presence of peace in society.
Peace is our goal, and Ninpô our tool.
Remember that “Budô is not made in Japan, it is made in Human” (Hatsumi sensei). And this is why the Bujinkan path is open to anyone with a pure heart.