The Demon's Sermon on the Martial Arts and Other Tales

Kodansha International (2006)
Abstract
The Demon said to the swordsman, "Fundamentally, man's mind is not without good. It is simply that from the moment he has life, he is always being brought up with perversity. Thus, having no idea that he has gotten used to being soaked in it, he harms his self-nature and falls into evil. Human desire is the root of this perversity." Woven deeply into the martial traditions and folklore of Japan, the fearsome Tengu dwell in the country's mountain forest. Mythical half-man, half-bird creatures with long noses, Tengu have always inspired dread and awe, inhabiting a liminal world between the human and the demonic, and guarding the most hidden secrets of swordsmanship. In The Demon's Sermon on the Martial Arts, a translation of the 18th-century samurai classic by Issai Chozanshi, an anonymous swordsman journeys to the heart of Mt. Kurama, the traditional domain of these formidable beings. There he encounters a host of demon; through a series of discussions and often playful discourse, they reveal to him the very deepest principles of the martial arts, and show how the secrets of sword fighting impart the truths of life itself. The Demon's Sermon opens with The discourses, a collection of whimsical fables concerned with the theme of transformation-for Chozanshi a core phenomenon to the martial artist. Though ostensibly light and fanciful, these stories offer the attentive reader ideas that subvert perceived notions of conflict and the individual's relationship to the outside world. In the main body of work, The Sermon, Chozanshi demonstrates how transformation is fostered and nurtured through ch'i - the vital and fundamental energy that flows through all things, animate and inanimate, and the very bedrock of Chozanshi's themes and the martial arts themselves. This he does using the voice of the Tengu, and the reader is invited to eavesdrop with the swordsman on the demon's revelations of the deepest truths concerning ch'i, the principles of yin and yang, and how these forces shape our existence. In The Dispatch, the themes are brought to an elegant conclusion using the parable of an old and toothless cat who, like the demon, has mastered the art of acting by relying on nothing, and in so doing can defeat even the wiliest and most vicious of rats despite his advanced years. This is the first direct translation from the original text into English by William Scott Wilson, the renowned translator of Hagakure and The Book of Five Rings. It captures the tone and essence of this classic while still making it accessible and meaningful to today's reader. Chozanshi's deep understanding of Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Shinto, as well as his insight into the central role of ch'i in the universe, are all given thoughtful treatment in Wilson's introduction and extensive endnotes. A provocative book for the general reader, The Demon's Sermon will also prove an invaluable addition to the libraries of all those interested in the fundamental principles of the martial arts, and how those principles relate to our existence.
Keywords Military art and science  Kendo Philosophy  Military art and science Philosophy  Martial arts Philosophy
Categories (categorize this paper)
Buy the book $1.97 used (91% off)   $13.49 direct from Amazon (33% off)   $37.84 new    Amazon page
Call number U43.J3.N5813 2006
ISBN(s) 4770030185   9784770030184   9781590309896
Options
 Save to my reading list
Follow the author(s)
My bibliography
Export citation
Find it on Scholar
Edit this record
Mark as duplicate
Revision history Request removal from index
 
Download options
PhilPapers Archive


Upload a copy of this paper     Check publisher's policy on self-archival     Papers currently archived: 9,357
External links
  •   Try with proxy.
  • Through your library Configure
    References found in this work BETA

    No references found.

    Citations of this work BETA

    No citations found.

    Similar books and articles
    Analytics

    Monthly downloads

    Sorry, there are not enough data points to plot this chart.

    Added to index

    2009-01-28

    Total downloads

    1 ( #306,230 of 1,088,781 )

    Recent downloads (6 months)

    1 ( #69,666 of 1,088,781 )

    How can I increase my downloads?

    My notes
    Sign in to use this feature


    Discussion
    Start a new thread
    Order:
    There  are no threads in this forum
    Nothing in this forum yet.