文殊 MONJU – Bujinkan Theme 2018

文殊 MONJU (Guardian of the Law, Voice of the Law) is one of many meanings. Monju is considered the wisest of the Bodhisattva, and thus acts as the Voice (Expounder) of Buddhist Law.

Japanese sculptures of Monju often depict the deity sitting atop a roaring lion or shishi, which symbolizes the voice of Buddhist Law and the power of Buddhism to overcome all obstacles. Shishi are also commonly found guarding the entrance gate to shrines and temples. Monju typically holds the Sutra of Wisdom in the left hand and a sharp sword in the right, which Monju uses to cut through illusion and shed light on the unenlightened mind. In some artwork, Monju carries a lotus flower and sits atop a shishi (mythical lion).

Monju’s cult was introduced to Japan by Ennin 圓仁 (794-864 AD; also spelled 円仁), a Japanese monk who visited Wutaishan (a five-terraced mountain in China’s Shanxi Province that today is still a major center of the Monju cult) during his travels to China (838-847 AD).

Mañjuśrī is a bodhisattva associated with prajñā (insight) in Mahayana Buddhism. In Tibetan Buddhism, he is also a yidam. His name means “Gentle Glory” in Sanskrit.[1] Mañjuśrī is also known by the fuller name of Mañjuśrīkumārabhūta,[2] literally “Mañjuśrī, Still a Youth” or, less literally, “Prince Mañjuśrī”.

A mantra commonly associated with Mañjuśrī is the following:

oṃ arapacana dhīḥ
The Arapacana is a syllabary consisting of forty-two letters, and is named after the first five letters: a, ra, pa, ca, na

A is a door to the insight that all dharmas are unproduced from the very beginning (ādya-anutpannatvād).
RA is a door to the insight that all dharmas are without dirt (rajas).
PA is a door to the insight that all dharmas have been expounded in the ultimate sense (paramārtha).
CA is a door to the insight that the decrease (cyavana) or rebirth of any dharma cannot be apprehended, because all dharmas do not decrease, nor are they reborn.
NA is a door to the insight that the names (i.e. nāma) of all dharmas have vanished; the essential nature behind names cannot be gained or lost.

Tibetan pronunciation is slightly different and so the Tibetan characters read: oṃ a ra pa tsa na dhīḥ (Tibetan: ༀ་ཨ་ར་པ་ཙ་ན་དྷཱི༔, Wylie: om a ra pa tsa na d+hIH).[14] In Tibetan tradition, this mantra is believed to enhance wisdom and improve one’s skills in debating, memory, writing, and other literary abilities. “Dhīḥ” is the seed syllable of the mantra and is chanted with greater emphasis and also repeated a number of times as a decrescendo.

Bujinkan Keiko 2018
As far as the training goes, it is basically the same as previous years. A lot of Mūtō-dori against knife, sword and rokushakubō. Very often Sōke uses his fingers to “walk” across the hands, which finally captures a finger lock. He makes the attacker to forget he got a weapon in his hand and he just pick it out of the hand of the surprised Uke.

Even when it is Taijutsu, the concept of Mūtō-dori is the same principles used.

More about Monju.
More about Manjushri.

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About the book title

The last Friday I asked Sōke if it was ok to publish this book, he said Gambatte before the translation was done. Then he looked through the book quickly and encouraged me to do it. Then it was painting time and I gave him a paper and asked for Yūdansha the book title. He wanted more paper and wrote the same phonetic sound but with different kanji. So I got three versions, like a 三心 Sanshin.

On Sunday (today) I got help finding the right kanji by Noguchi Sensei, then I did some internet research (no thanks to G00g1e that think Yūdansha means a ”stepped-out person” (I guess they mean a LSD tripped out person 🙄), don’t tell them!).

有段者 YŪDANSHA is the normal kanji used which means a person that has a Dan rank (black belt).

If we break up the three kanji we get

有 YŪ (possess, have, exist, happen, occur, approx).

段 DAN (grade, steps, stairs)

者 SHA (someone, person).

勇段者 YŪDANSHA It could mean a black belt hero, a courageous or brave black belt

勇 YŪ (courage, cheer up, be in high spirits, bravery, heroism​)

雅段者 YŪDANSHA it could mean an elegant, graceful or refined black belt.

雅 MIYABI (refinement; elegance; grace​)

All this gave me a great idea to incorporate this in the book. I’m not gonna go further here as the book is unwritten and I might change my mind. But I feel that the book is gonna be something different than all the others and something I will be proud of.

三光稲荷 Sankō Inari

On the second training this year Sōke improved an old painting with a fox. He painted white hair on the Fox and added the kanji. Then he put it up on the left side of Shomen wall in Honbu Dōjō.

三光稲荷 SANKŌ INARI
(Three light rice load)

G00g1e translate isn’t much help. But I found interesting story on Wikipedia about Inari Ōkami is the Japanese kami of foxes, of fertility, rice, tea and sake, of agriculture and industry, of general prosperity and worldly success, and one of the principal kami of Shinto. In earlier Japan, Inari was also the patron of swordsmiths and merchants. Represented as male, female, or androgynous, Inari is sometimes seen as a collective of three or five individual kami. Inari appears to have been worshipped since the founding of a shrine at Inari Mountain in 711 AD, although some scholars believe that worship started in the late 5th century.

By the 16th century Inari had become the patron of blacksmiths and the protector of warriors, and worship of Inari spread across Japan in the [[Edo period]. Inari is a popular figure in both Shinto and Buddhist beliefs in Japan. More than one-third (32,000) of the Shinto shrines in Japan are dedicated to Inari. Modern corporations, such as cosmetic company Shiseido, continue to revere Inari as a patron kami, with shrines atop their corporate headquarters.


Inari and their fox spirits help the blacksmith Munechika forge the blade kogitsune-maru (Little Fox) in the late 10th century. This legend is the subject of the noh drama Sanjo Kokaji.

The fox and the wish-fulfilling jewel are prominent symbols of Inari. Other common elements in depictions of Inari, and sometimes of their kitsune, include a sickle, a sheaf or sack of rice, and a sword. Another belonging was their whip—although they were hardly known to use it, it was a powerful weapon that was used to burn people’s crops of rice.

Inari is a popular deity with shrines and Buddhist temples located throughout most of Japan. According to a 2007 report from Kokugakuin University, 2970 shrines are dedicated to Inari.

If you find one or usually many red Tori gates it is most likely a shrine dedicated to Inary deity.

So what does this mean for Bujinkan? I don’t know, it is an interesting part of Japanese culture. Maybe he just want us to look it up.

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