Feb 6, 2010

Great Waves Onami

Great Waves

In the early days of the Meiji era there lived a well known wrestler called O-nami, Great Waves. O-nami was immensely strong and knew the art of wrestling. In his private bouts he defeated even his teacher, but in public he was so bashful that his own pupils threw him.

O-nami felt he should go to a Zen master for help. Hakuju, a wandering teacher, was stopping in a little temple nearby, so O-nami went to see him and told him of his trouble.

"Great Waves is your name," the teacher advised, "so stay in this temple tonight, Imagine that you are those billows. You are no longer a wrestler who is afraid. You are those huge waves sweeping everything before them, swallowing in all their path. Do this and you will be the greatest wrestler in the land."

The teacher retired. O-nami sat in meditation trying to imagine himself as waves. He thought of many different things. Then gradually he turned more and more to the feeling of the waves. As the night advanced the waves became larger and larger. They swept away the flowers in their vases. Even the Buddha in the shrine was inundated. Before dawn the temple was nothing but the ebb and flow of an immense sea.

In the morning the teacher found O-nami meditating, a faint smile on his face. He patted the wrestler's shoulder. "Now nothing can disturb you," he said. "You are those waves. You will sweep everything before you."

The same day O-nami entered the wrestling contests and won. After that, no one in Japan was able to defeat him.

Feb 1, 2010

To will one virtue — Results

It is said that I am a slipshod writer. Well, that is a matter of opinion. I am fully convinced that there is not a Danish writer who pays as much attention to the insignificant word as I do. I write everything in my own hand twice, some parts three and four times, and in addition, something no one knows anything about, there is my meditating as I walk; before I write I have said everything aloud to myself many times — and this they call being a slipshod writer! And why? Because they have no conception of it at all, because to them an author is someone who at most spends a certain number of hours a day sitting in a room and writing and otherwise has nothing to do with his ideas. Therefore, that kind of an author needs time when he comes home to get into the spirit again — whereas I come home with the whole thing thought through and memorized, even in its stylistic form — when people read a few pages of my writing they are almost always amazed at my style — but a big book — well, how is that possible — ergo: I must be a slipshod writer. No, when one wills only one thing, wills one thing with every sacrifice, every effort — then it is possible.

In a way I can become nauseated by life, for I, who love but one thought — which a person can really be if he wills it — I constitute an epigram upon men, because their judgment of me, the fact that they really cannot understand my consistency, is tragic proof of the categories, the mediocrity, in which they live.

— Søren Kierkegaard, 1846