Buddhism and Martial Arts

No holds barred discussion on the Buddhadharma. Argue about rebirth, karma, commentarial interpretations etc. Be nice to each other.

Re: Buddhism and Martial Arts

Postby ronnewmexico » Tue Aug 02, 2011 3:46 pm

One may certainly kill with a bow and arrow, it is part and parcel of that as weaponry. A buddhist may use the discipline of bow and arrow as they may use the discipline of flower arrangement as a means to a spiritual end.

Likewise martial arts can be used to kill. Marital arts can also be used as a means to a spiritual end.

Both are consistant with buddhism though both can be used to kill.
"This order considers that progress can be achieved more rapidly during a single month of self-transformation through terrifying conditions in rough terrain and in "the abode of harmful forces" than through meditating for a period of three years in towns and monasteries"....Takpo Tashi Namgyal.
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Re: Buddhism and Martial Arts

Postby Sherab Dorje » Tue Aug 02, 2011 4:04 pm

Takin' a leak and/or a dump is also consistent with Buddhism, there are even mantras associated with the actions This though doesn't mean that pissing and shitting is Buddhist and a path to enlightenment though, otherwise any sentient being with an anus, urethra or cloaca would/could be enlightened right now.
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"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Buddhism and Martial Arts

Postby Silent Forest » Tue Aug 02, 2011 5:03 pm

I didn´t ever practice the martial art for self defense, I wasn´t afraid from being attacked (maybe because I started at an age at which one doesn´t think that much about such things) nor did I ever need to use the martial art. I think martial arts can teach many things at a very young age which many people don´t learn their whole life long (besides being the obvious parts like self-confidence, self discipline, respect etc.).

gregkavarnos wrote:
Martial arts protects from violence upon oneself.
Don't know what martial art you have practiced but all the ones I know involve controlled violence being directed at oneself (and not always controlled depending on the student/teacher you have in front of you).


One doesn´t exclude the other.

Regarding aggression: I made the experience that martial art actually can help to keep the mind free from anger and aggression. People who get angry quickly havn´t got much of a chance against someone at the same level with good self-control. I guess even if most people know this, only quite few can really apply it in daily life (e.g. staying calm when they are criticized in an unfair way or even in the traffic). A big downside is, that some martial arts also seem to attract bullies which definitely isn´t helpful.

If anybody is interested in ashtanga yoga, this http://www.ashtangayoga.info/ is quite a nice site. What I really find awful with yoga is how often it gets degraded to an aerobic replacement in fitness centers. This seems to me like going to a church and do some kneeling prayers as sport. Maybe this is the same lack of respect which also draws some idiots to martial art dojos.
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Re: Buddhism and Martial Arts

Postby Jikan » Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:16 pm

I'm bumping this old thread, because I'd like to reconsider or complicate some ideas I'd had about this earlier. This may be a way in which a Buddhist tradition can be practiced properly in a martial arts context:

http://wmaikido.com/programs/zen

not as a marketing ploy, but as a good-faith engagement. Further, the tradition they are working in has been involved with martial arts practices for generations.
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Re: Buddhism and Martial Arts

Postby Mr. G » Wed Mar 21, 2012 8:20 pm

Jikan wrote:I'm bumping this old thread, because I'd like to reconsider or complicate some ideas I'd had about this earlier. This may be a way in which a Buddhist tradition can be practiced properly in a martial arts context:

http://wmaikido.com/programs/zen

not as a marketing ploy, but as a good-faith engagement. Further, the tradition they are working in has been involved with martial arts practices for generations.


Do you mean the incorporation of meditation into martial arts programs? It's fairly common among traditional martial arts like Aikido, Karate, Judo, etc.
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Re: Buddhism and Martial Arts

Postby Jikan » Wed Mar 21, 2012 9:05 pm

I mean housing the two activities simultaneously under the same roof. I'm familiar with some instances in which this has gone very badly. It appears to me that the one I gave a post or two back is a counterexample to that. And it makes me want to go hunting for an aikido gi.
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Re: Buddhism and Martial Arts

Postby Sherab Dorje » Thu Mar 22, 2012 8:59 am

Jikan wrote:I mean housing the two activities simultaneously under the same roof. I'm familiar with some instances in which this has gone very badly. It appears to me that the one I gave a post or two back is a counterexample to that. And it makes me want to go hunting for an aikido gi.
I was introduced to Buddhist meditation by my first martial arts teacher, but I have mainly encountered pseudo-spirituality in meditation techniques taught within the context of marital arts. By "pseudo" I mean that the aim of the meditation is not liberation, but merely to improve ones capacity to focus within a martial situation through increased concentration.

Now, of course, the effect "leaks" into ones daily situations BUT again the mindfulness tends to serve the cause of personal gain in each situation.

That said, I am a Muay Thai teacher and I teach sati meditation. Seperately. AND I happen to teach the meditation in my friends Aikido dojo, but only one of his students (since the focus is not on martial aspects) and one of my Muay Thai students attend. The rest of my students have no relationship whatsoever with martial arts.

Unfortunately MA (even Aikido) tends to draw aggressive hyper-masculine types that merely want to increase their ability to maim. And, even more unfortunately, most MA teachers tend to develop practice programs that reinforce this type of behaviour.
:namaste:
"When one is not in accord with the true view
Meditation and conduct become delusion,
One will not attain the real result
One will be like a blind man who has no eyes."
Naropa - Summary of the View from The Eight Doha Treasures
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Re: Buddhism and Martial Arts

Postby Mr. G » Wed Apr 04, 2012 8:42 pm

Split thread: Martial Arts Talk
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Re: Buddhism and Martial Arts

Postby Skydancer » Sun Apr 08, 2012 8:02 am

Huseng wrote:
mr. gordo wrote:
Huseng wrote:Buddhism teaches ahimsa or non-violence, so learning how to fight is inappropriate. Spend that time eradicating your negative emotions and greed.

Huseng, do you think learning self-defense is to be completely excluded for Mahayana / Vajrayana lay people?

I won't say it is or it isn't. My opinion is just that it is inappropriate. That is merely just my opinion.

I'm reading The Heart of Compassion by Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche where he says that mahayana/vajrayana practitioner should never fight back, defend himself, retaliate etc.; instead you should let your attacker do whatever he wants and you should generate compassion and loving-kindness toward him, even if he means to kill you.
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Re: Buddhism and Martial Arts

Postby Blue Garuda » Sun Apr 08, 2012 9:18 am

A few points:

Studying martial arts can help you sense physical danger and avoid it.

Knowing techniques such as evasion can help you avoid being hit.

Knowing appropriate techniques means you can restrain an attacker without harm, or minimise that harm.

If you can defend yourself then your body is still available to you as your 'precious human birth' to continue your Buddhist path.

If you can defend yourself then you may then prevent the attaker from the very negative karma of stealing, injuring and possibly killing.


For me, the most compasisonate outcome, if defence is unavoidable, is to produce the best solution in terms of being the closest to 'ahimsa'. I am comfortable with causing great pain if it prevents physical injury to attacker and victim, for example. It is quite possible to cause enough pain to stop an attack without any lasting injury except a little bruising maybe.

I don't think Buddhism is about letting others commit negative karma. 'Martial arts' in the time of Buddha were battlefield arts and sporting pugilism in some countries, so teachings encompassed fighting, but I'm not aware of Buddha telling people to lie down and get beaten to death. I'm not sure about any precise advice about being slashed with a bottle in an inner city drunken brawl, but monks have learned useful defences to street violence in the past, and I think it quite right that they should do so, for the reasons above.
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Re: Buddhism and Martial Arts

Postby Dechen Norbu » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:26 am

There's nothing wrong with knowing and training martial arts if we have a clear mind about ethics. What we do with that knowledge is what matters in the end.
Martial arts training may be quite useful to master our control over the expression of feelings and emotions. When you fight an opponent during training it's likely you'll get hit hard more than a few times. Observe your emotions then. It's a good training ground. The combat is always a simulation of sorts, since you aren't trying to kill each other. Life sometimes has events that resemble a fight. Things happen very quickly and so do emotions arise, feelings develop and so on and so forth. A fight is a very immediate experience. If our mind is well tamed, we will see violent emotions arising urging to revenge. It's possible to overcome them even when fighting, it is said. If our mind is not well trained, as soon as we get hit hard, we will try to act based on nasty emotions (pride, revenge and so on) instead of acknowledging our worse technique or unexpected luck of the opponent. Life has many similar situations. And as in life, it's hard to improve if revenge is our main drive. We can discover a lot about ourselves during martial arts training, but we must be willing to do so. Win or lose, the fighter must always leave the ring/mat with a feeling of appreciation for his opponent who is willing to endure training with him. When it comes to competition, things may be a little different and it's a matter quite individual. What are you doing there, really? Only the practitioner can answer that. I've practiced several martial arts for more than 15 years, my base formation being mostly karate. When I started training, none of the above was on my mind. That was the wrong way to go about it. I ended up training in a very hard gym where basically we would kick each other's asses to oblivion because of the kind of competitions we used to do (very similar to daido juku rules, but with ground fight). We used to complement karate with jiu-jitsu, boxing, kick-boxing and even taekwondo training, not because karate lacks good techniques, but because when we talk about sports events, and competitions are just that even with loose rules, karate is hard to use since its aim is causing real injury, really fast, and that makes it less sporty, unless you fight under the most usual shobu sambon tournament rules, which render karate to a poor a joke in my opinion.
Anyway, back then all that mattered was to become really fast when putting someone to sleep. There's no way about it. This is plainly against what Buddhist ethics.
Years later I realized all those missed opportunities I talked above. Is it possible to practice martial arts while being an ethical person? Sure! Is that the rule in most dojos/gyms?... Hardly.
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Re: Buddhism and Martial Arts

Postby Jikan » Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:37 pm

I've had reason to think and rethink this discussion recently. Here is a question I've not seen an answer to yet:

Are there any Buddhist masters, in the present or in history, who were also and simultaneously martial arts masters?

I can't think of one, but this may simply reflect my own ignorance.
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Re: Buddhism and Martial Arts

Postby Blue Garuda » Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:50 pm

Jikan wrote:I've had reason to think and rethink this discussion recently. Here is a question I've not seen an answer to yet:

Are there any Buddhist masters, in the present or in history, who were also and simultaneously martial arts masters?

I can't think of one, but this may simply reflect my own ignorance.


That's a very big question.

I mean, Shakyamuni was trained in fighting arts and belonged to a warrior clan.

It depends on what you mean by a Buddhist 'master' and a martial arts 'master'.

Many Japanese martial artists also follow(ed) Zen of one form or another. A famous master was Miyamoto Musashi, who was riased as a Buddhist but it depends how you regard his writings as those of a Buddhist 'master' or a master of tactics etc.

The development of 'fushindo' or 'mushin' may be seen as training the mind for the martial arts, perhaps more important than weapon skills. Maybe in that case, Takuan Soho qualifies.

EDIT: Perhaps Bodhidharma has a good claim as well, as first patriarch of Ch'an and the reputed founder of Shaolin martial arts.
Last edited by Blue Garuda on Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:59 pm, edited 2 times in total.
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Re: Buddhism and Martial Arts

Postby Jikan » Mon Apr 09, 2012 1:55 pm

That's a good start BG, thank you.
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Re: Buddhism and Martial Arts

Postby Mr. G » Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:22 pm

I think there is a lot of apocryphal information regarding Bodhidharma. However, even if we accept he taught physical exercises to monks as a form of exercise, the evolution from health exercises to martial arts was something I personally doubt he would have approved of.

In terms of how martial arts formed in Shaolin, it was due to outside influences (martial artists) that ended up influencing the "martial" aspect.
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Buddhism and Martial Arts

Postby Jikan » Mon Apr 09, 2012 2:29 pm

I'd still like to know if many or any lineage masters or siddhas practiced martial arts themselves, or advocated their practice among their students, outside of the Japanese Zen instances BG referenced above, in India or Tibet or China or Vietnam or Korea or anywhere else, from Shakyamuni's time to the present. Anywhere. Any takers?
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Re: Buddhism and Martial Arts

Postby Mr. G » Mon Apr 09, 2012 3:17 pm

A really good article you've probably already read Jikan:

http://ezine.kungfumagazine.com/ezine/a ... rticle=521
    How foolish you are,
    grasping the letter of the text and ignoring its intention!
    - Vasubandhu
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Re: Buddhism and Martial Arts

Postby Jikan » Mon Apr 09, 2012 4:01 pm

That's a new one on me. Thanks.
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Re: Buddhism and Martial Arts

Postby Blue Garuda » Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:22 pm

Mr. G wrote:I think there is a lot of apocryphal information regarding Bodhidharma. However, even if we accept he taught physical exercises to monks as a form of exercise, the evolution from health exercises to martial arts was something I personally doubt he would have approved of.

In terms of how martial arts formed in Shaolin, it was due to outside influences (martial artists) that ended up influencing the "martial" aspect.



Yes, in common with Nagarjuna and Shantideva - how many people were there? One original and others who are 'school of' '?
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Re: Buddhism and Martial Arts

Postby Blue Garuda » Mon Apr 09, 2012 7:26 pm

I am sure there are Buddhist Masters who practise(d) martial arts.

I am sure there are Martial Arts Masters who practised Buddhism.

Outside of those I mentioned I think finding someone who is or was a Master in both may be a difficult quest. :)

Given a challenge I'd pit wrathful Vajrapani or Garuda against any of em!
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