Densho and Transmission

Presented by Dr. Kacem Zoughari, transcribed by Luke Croker

You see this as a scholar, then after you have the faith. Of course, the book needs to be read with faith, but what kind of faith? It’s the same as the scrolls, with the scrolls you have to read with a certain faith. The faith in the master, the faith in the art, the faith in your practice. You have to understand those books, well it’s hard to use the word “book for them, anyways, those texts, those writings, they are written with a certain cleverness. Do you understand that? With a certain intelligence, a certain faith, a certain love. So, automatically they talk to your cleverness, to your intelligence. You have to read them with a certain state of mind, a certain psychological predisposition, then it’s clear. If you don’t have this, then no matter what, if you are a scholar or a religious man, you will always turn to a kind of fanaticism. That’s why it’s really difficult; the book is for everyone, but the way you use it is your problem. Don’t blame the book. If you blame God because everyone is bad, he gave you the chance, everything is in front of you on the table. You don’t want to take it, you take the knife. It’s your choice. But don’t blame the writing, blame the interpretation. The interpretation is free, it’s already a big gift.

Hidensho of Gyokko-ryū and Kotō-ryū

So, what I’m trying to explain to you here about the densho, Sometimes the densho is very simply: “grab, hold…” I do this sometimes with the translation of scrolls, and it means nothing. Why do I do that? I do this in order to show you that if you don’t have the practice, and the relationship with the one who wrote this, when you read this without that support. And everyone in your line of work, your everyday life, for example in your duty or your specialties, you know what you are doing because you have read many things, and when there is information that comes from another part of the country, or from someone else, you understand each other because you have pretty much the same background. You have something in common. So, when they send you something, you can analyze, see, observe, what is good inside, and what is bad; you have to read it in that way. But we need keys, to read a scroll, like any kind of book which talks to the intelligence, you need keys; keys of course the practice, a certain culture of your own brain, etc.

I hope this is clear for all of you. This is why where I know? where I see this? It’s easy, I did the technique, one day, I saw the boss, and what the boss is doing is clear as water. When he moves, he doesn’t shake; me? When I move I shake, and when I do the techniques, he says, “dame!” (no good; ダメ). I hate that word in Japanese. But its good, that means you know where you stand. If he says “ah, very good!” you know something is off on your legs. He said “very good” and you say “I’m not really sure ya’know…”. So, he said “dame!” and at that moment you make yourself very small, you don’t want to try again because you know you are going to do the same thing. “Dame koshi wo takai” (ダメ腰を高い), “your hips are high”. And here, it’s like an insult, like common! It hurts my heart, I practice, and he’s right. And like that everything froze, he can freeze the moment like a second.


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