Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Hatsumi Sensei and the Kuji

Hello, devotees of the Kuji-In! As part of my continuing quest to gain the thoughts of the ninja grandmaster (from a distance) on the mysteries of the Kuji-In, in today's post, I feature an excerpt from Secrets of Ninpo Taijutsu (page 103), Chapter 5: Tokagure-ryu Ninpo Taijutsu, Unarmed Fighting Techniques of the Samurai, Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi, translated by Doug Wilson et al, published by Kodansha International, first edition, 2008.

In this section of his book, Hatsumi sensei refers to some techniques of Henso Taijutsu from the shichiho sanpo forms, using an array of ninja tools. "These include kyojitsu issen, blinding powder, the element of surprise, restraint from taking a life, chanting the kuji (nine-word prayer) ‘Gakoraitosha, akumafudo’ to render the enemy unable to move, or chanting the kuji ‘Goshin tsuriki teki taisan shometsu’ to send the enemy fleeing. Here, I open both my eyes and observe spirits finding their way home during the week of the autumnal equinox at the River Styx – I have the eyes of a dragon. That is the reason why I have the name Venerable White Dragon. Uttering the words ‘Goshin chinkon teki reibaku eimin’ (prayer for the deceased) and possessing the ninja’s dream, I enter Nirvana!”

Any thoughts or insights on the mysterious references to these kuji prayers?

Please respond via the comment function.

Domo arigato!


Saturday, April 11, 2009

Facebook Page Devoted to the Kuji-In

Hello, my spiritual buyu! I trust this finds you well...

Today's post: I just discovered there's a Facebook page devoted to the Kuji-In; it can be found here:

It doesn't seem to be active, but maybe we can change that.

Of course, I did announce to the small membership of that page the existence of this humble blog, so I'm thinking it would be cool if we could somehow stimulate a bit of dialogue. As I told the folks there, as far as I am concerned, the more serious involvement there is in this precious practice, the better.

Well, we'll see. I'm just thankful these teachings are available and I look forward to continued practice.

Devotedly yours,


Thursday, April 9, 2009

Revised Dates Posted for Kuji no In DVDs Due From Anshu Stephen K. Hayes

Greetings, everyone. This just in:

We've just detected there has been a change in the scheduled release of two Kuji-In DVDs to be released from martial arts legend Anshu Stephen K. Hayes, the "first American ninja."

As we have previously reported, Anshu Hayes is poised to re-introduce his monthly private-lesson DVD study program, and the first six lessons include two on the Kuji no In, otherwise known, of course, as the Kuji-In.

The May installment was originally scheduled to feature "Kuji no In Overview Part 1," with a follow-up part 2 slated for the June edition. However, that's been backed up a month. The first Kuji DVD will come out in June now, according to Mr. Hayes' Web site, while the follow-up is slated for release in July.

And as previously noted in our original posting, subscribers to the monthly program will still get their DVDs in a more timely manner at a reduced price point per DVD than those that wait to buy individual DVDs separately.

But if you just want the two Kuji DVDs, perhaps the smartest approach to take is to join the subscription program right before June or on June 1, then quit after you receive the July DVD. That way you get them both right away, and at a price that's about $5 off the regular price point.

However, I don't know if there is a minimum number of months for the subscription, and if I can find out, I'll provide an update.

Check out this page on his Stephen K. Hayes Quest Web site for more information on his private-lesson DVD program.

Anshu Hayes has previously released for public consumption a DVD you might be interested in, "Kuji 6: Thought Projection," which can also be purchased online at his Web site.

In the meantime, as the great teacher of myth, Joseph Campbell often said, "follow your bliss."

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Happy Hanamatsuri!

Today, April 8, is the day that Buddhists in Japan (and in many other locales, for that matter,) celebrate the birth of Shakyamuni Buddha and appreciate the budding flowers of spring with Hanamatsuri, "Flower Festival."

The included photo shows a Japanese Buddhist temple bell.

May the buds of spring remind you of your own budding Buddha nature, and may your realization of your true self permeate the world around you just as the fragrance of the buds fills the air and the hearts of those who pause just a moment to notice and appreciate...

Monday, April 6, 2009

Kuji-In: Putting Me at the Center of the Universe

Hey, everyone… just time for a quick update…

Now that I’m into the ZAI aspect of the Kuji-In practice, I’m increasingly aware of a fascinating phenomenon. I notice now when I put my head down to sleep and close my eyes, my mind enters such an expansive space, as if I’m far above the Earth, space and time – at times, as if the entire Universe itself is flowing out from me and through me into all directions.

It’s such a calming and yet elevating state of mind to be in and in which to enter sleep.

Does this mean that each and every one of us is actually… a chakra of God? Only we haven't awakened to this yet?

Not a sermon. Just a thought…

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Another Kuji-In Web Resource Found

Hello again, fans of the Kuji-In...

This afternoon, I found another Kuji-In resource online, so I thought I'd announce it here and post a link to it in the column to the right. The Kosmix Web site -- which I had not heard of before -- has a section on the Kuji-In, and includes some listings for products that can be purchased, along with some various media resources that are available.

Just one more site you can periodically check to see what's going on and what you might be able to tap in your journey...

You can get there by clicking here.


Friday, March 13, 2009

Kuji-In: Personal Projects Update

In the wake of my initiation into the Kuji-In and Kuji-Kiri (see the Tuesday, March 10, 2009 post below), I'm continuing with three personal projects. First, of course, is my progression through the nine aspects of the Kuji-In. I'm wrapping up RETSU right now, projecting another week or two spent with this aspect. Then I'm onto ZAI and then finishing up with ZEN.

As I do this, I have added the "cutting of the grid," cutting the Kuji-Kiri, to my daily practice. Now that I've been able to have someone skilled in the art show me how to begin doing this, I certainly don't want to lose any momentum; I want to build on it and take it to another level.

After I finish with my initial exploration of ZEN, I will move onto the Five Elements practice: Void, Wind, Water, Fire and Earth. And from there, I plan on empowering various symbols that I will then incorporate into my grid-cutting.

Somewhere along the way, I want to empower my mala, with a) the nine aspects and b) the five elements. Once I get through all of this -- this initial level of exploration -- my plan is to return to the nine aspects and the five elements with a higher level of empowerment.

Of course, I plan to continue cutting the grid all the while.

My second project is to come up with some explicit personal practice-rituals, perhaps involving some gathas and chanting and prayers. I've already begun this somewhat, but have yet to really kind of cement it or formalize it in a systematic way. I have three English translations of at least two Japanese Kuji manuals (I believe from the Ninpo Mykkyo Shugendo tradition), and I plan to incorporate some of their elements with some of the tpes of practices I've gained via my years of Zen experience.

Initially, I hope to develop a daily iteration of rituals, for use from Sunday through Friday, as well as a separate, more elaborate form, a "weekly service" type of thing, for use on Saturday. (I'm usually in the dojo on Sunday morning, so I don't usually make an extra hour available Sunday morning for a full-fledged Kuji service. But Saturday is my "free day" schedule-wise, and I can easily set aside a good hour or so for a more in-depth plunge into the Kuji waters.)

My third project involves the creation of a comprehensive Kuji practice manual, mostly just as a good learning aid for my own practice. If others would be interested, we could discuss sharing certain aspects of it. As a journalist by profession, I certainly want to make sure I respect the copyrights of authors whose work on the subject I have come across and otherwise gained access to, and which continue to guide and inspire me in my pursuit. Perhaps a good compromise would be for me to share a limited bibliography of recommended readings.

Well, as you can imagine, that's plenty to keep me busy, considering I have a demanding work load that regularly has me working at home some nights/weekends, along with my dojo training three times a week -- and my desire to start getting into regular yoga practice.

Hey, Bodhidharma is reputed to have said, "Life and death are important. Do not suffer them in vain." I intend not to.

Or as Sam Elliott's character in the movie Road House said, I'll have plenty of time to sleep when I'm dead. ;-)

As always, readers of the Kuji Blog are invited to share their comments.

Until the next time,

May all beings be blessed.


Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Prerequisites to the Practice of Kuji-In, Kuji-Kiri

I don't want to discourage newcomers or meditation "noobies" from plunging into the white water rapids of the Kuji-In and Kuji-Kiri, but I do feel compelled to point out that this is indeed an advanced spiritual practice.

A newcomer can jump right on in, and is warmly invited to do so. However, such a one will likely be at somewhat of a loss without some serious remedial attention to get up to speed. As Buddhist teacher Francois Lepine has noted, this is a practice that is easy to start, yet takes years to master.

So, in an attempt to help prospective Kuji practitioners, I include below a list of the prerequisites I believe are necessary for someone to really begin to make the most of this precious practice:

Required Basics:
* Substantial experience in seated meditation: proper sitting posture, proper breathing, proper focus.
* Experience in meditative chanting.

Recommended Additions:
* Experience in energy cultivation, such as Chi-Kung/Qi-Gong.
* Experience in Yoga.
* Experience in Tai Chi.
* Have a working knowledge of the basics of psychology.

You'll be Ahead of the Curve If You:
* Have an understanding of the theory of meditation, especially Buddhist meditation.
* Have the theoretical underpinnings of the Kuji (as per Francois Lepine, Stephen K. Hayes, etc.).
* Participated in a Zen sesshin (intensive, week-long meditation retreat).
* Have practiced yoga.
* Have practiced some yogic breathing.
* Have practiced some yogic meditation, especially that relating to the kundalini.
* Have had some experience in psychotherapy.
* Have some capability drawing or painting Japanese kanji characters (for use in the Kuji-Kiri practice).
* Have experience in iaido or tameshigiri (Japanese sword-drawing, sword-cutting movement; also for use in Kuji-Kiri).

You're Well On the Way to Mastery If You:
* have had some degree of kensho, or realization (enlightenment).

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Initiated Into the Kuji-In, Kuji-Kiri!

Post Kuji Seminar Update #1

You know the expression, “when the student is ready, the teacher will appear”?

Well, that definitely appears to be the case for me and the Kuji-In and the Kuji-Kiri this past year. With all the teachings and the manuals and the rare document translations that have come my way in just the last six months – with more on the way, as previous posts note – this maxim is coming true in my own spiritual practice.

The most recent positive development in this regard was my weekend (March 7-8) spent in the Northwest Chicago suburb of Naperville, where I was finally able to gain some group practice time as well as some hands-on initiation into the Kuji with Do-shu Thomas Jotoshi Maienza, the head of the Jizaikan organization and a former associate of To-Shin Do Anshu Stephen K. Hayes, the latter being regarded by many as perhaps the most authoritative source in the Western world on the subject of Kuji-In and Kuji-Kiri.

I don’t have the time to get into much detail right now, so keep checking back over the next few days if you will, please. But in the meantime, here are some of the initial key take-aways for me:
  • this seminar validated everything I have seen so far from the venerable Francois Lepine, and other sources I’ve referred to in previous posts;
  • I got to see and put into group practice, how to arrange one’s practice to facilitate the Kuji-In, and how to cut the Kuji-Kiri grid.

And let me throw this in quickly, if I may: since I’ve returned from the seminar and resumed my own practice in the privacy of my own home and my own little Buddhist alcove, I have noticed a significant boost in the power and intensity of my own practice of the Kuji.

Look for a lot more in some forthcoming posts, one of which will include a warning on the potentially dire karmic consequences one might unleash if practicing the Kuji with an impure motive.

The bottom line? If you are looking to evolve as a human being in ways to facilitate greater and more frequent demonstrations of compassion, you’re good to go. But if you think you’re going to practice this technology to manipulate, exploit or otherwise “get over” on someone else, you risk getting your ass kicked by the Universe. And if you think you’re going to use the Kuji to actually harm someone else, let me know, because I want to get the hell out of your time zone. I want to be nowhere near you, because a great cosmic and karmic boom is about to be leveled upon you.

So, purify your heart by embracing compassion as the motivation for this practice, or stop.