We strive to be our very best, the very best archer that ever existed in the universe. We seek complete honesty and honor while holding the bow. We take everything very seriously, take advantage of every breath possible, take all the knowledge and experience we can get. Only one life! We could die at any moment! We must be prepared! We must be better than everyone else!
But you wanna know the real secret behind it all?
From this land of misty bamboo mountains and epic warrior legends, you wanna know the meaning of it all?
We don’t need to take it so seriously.
Unlike that tallest unbending tree that will break in the wind, I’d rather be the fat drunk tanuki (Japanese raccoon dog) I saw in the bath last night.
Yes, I saw him in the onsen at the hotel I stayed at last night. He sat right on top of the faucet that streamed water into the bath, with his super big testicles and dwarfed little piece just above the water spout. Above that his giant belly arced up until his fat head and goofy eyes stared at the ceiling in a daze.
You find these kinds of characters a lot more often than majestic dragon fountains, dedicated to fierce warriors seeking enlightenment in another world. I used to think that latter was a lot cooler, and maybe they are. But at that moment, after some beers and sitting in that hot bath, the fat drunk raccoon seemed to make a lot more sense.
We will all pass away, and join the ranks of millions of people who have ever held the Japanese bow, join the billions who have ever held any kind of bow and arrow, as well as join every other person that has ever existed, sinners and saints all the same, one day in the end. We have our small chapter and can impress ourselves and those around us, or terrorize ourselves or others as much as we please, but in the end, as long as we’re obsessed only with that path blinding ourselves to the grass around us, I think we’re a lot more fooled than the drunk raccoon.
If we’re not enjoying ourselves what’s the point?
It’s not possible to know everything, all else is an illusion.
And if we also can’t give ourselves up to following the grand delusion from time to time, then what’s the point to our small time on this rock?
Try and don’t try. Care and don’t care.
Our profiles and egos and bullseyes and judgements and ranks and journeys to conquer all … that’s great and all … but being human? There’s about a billion more sides to the mask than that one perfect white one we’re always trying to keep in the sun.
Drop your rank. Talk to those above and below. Praise them and then throw it all to the wind. I pray we all find the freedom time to time from understanding that it all really isn’t such a big deal … man.
We try to look so cool and serious in our zanshin postures, but have you ever laughed at how silly we are?
That laugh is part of the way of the Great Bow, and an even bigger Way where the bow is just a toothpick for a giant drunk raccoon.