Fudoshin; the immovable mind.

Our minds are anything but immovable most of the time. In fact, most of the time, they’re a constantly moving, swirling mass of fears, insecurities and random thoughts. This state of affairs has become so normal that it feels like background noise, only bothering us when we’re left alone for too long with our minds.

But even if we don’t always notice the effects of our restless minds, they are felt by others when we act unreasonably, or panic unnecessarily, or speak unkindly. Our minds are not only tools for our use, they are powerful influencers of everything around us.

Given that, wouldn’t it be nice if we could learn to remain calm and centred, even in the midst of great stress and anxiety? This is the development of what is known as Fudoshin:

From a Western viewpoint, the concept of a Warrior (Samurai, Bushi) without anger or rage, a peaceful warrior, can be quite difficult to understand and accept. Being exceedingly dualistic, we can hardly reconcile the ideas of violence with a peaceful and calm mind, but this state of mind was the essence of the Samurai and is today the essence of martial arts like kendo, judo, karate or aikido.

In our daily life, Fudoshin is the protection against the “Shikai” or four sicknesses of the mind; anger, doubt, fear, and surprise. Through the rigorous practice of Zazen, the students learn implicitly to center themselves and clear their minds, thus developing a Fudoshin mind.