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bushido_man96
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PostPosted: Thu Dec 10, 2020 12:30 pm    Post subject: Tao of Jeet Kune Do - A Thought Exercise with KF Reply with quote

I'm re-reading Bruce Lee's Tao of Jeet Kune Do. This book is fairly iconic in the Martial Arts world, and many have read it. I think there is a lot of value to be found in the book, and would like to explore it, with everyone here, if y'all are up for it.

Here's what I thought I'd do. Starting with the philosophical text in the beginning, I'd like to post a quote, and then ask how that affects or is viewed by others here. I'll admit, I wouldn't consider myself a deeply philosophical type, and find myself rather perplexed by some of the readings. So I'd like to start by posting a quote up, and reflecting on it. As I get deeper through the book, I'd like to do the same with the training ideas and philosophies, how they can relate to us each, etc.

So, what's the KF community think? Shall we try this?
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sensei8
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PostPosted: Sat Dec 19, 2020 7:06 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I like that idea quite a lot; the gold mine of the Tao of JKD touches each and every MAist differently because knowledge and experience are different from MAist to MAist.

I've crossed trained in JKD for many, many years, however, by no means am I a JKD authority whatsoever. The Tao, is like Enter the Dragon, in that they both have become staples in their own rights.

The one thing that I've never been fond of is that Bruce didn't publish it himself, and in that, who's interpretation are we grasping? Linda. or Shannon, or Dan, or any other proven JKD authority, or Bruce himself?!?

I believe that this can be a solid discussion across the board.

Let the discussions begin!!




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bushido_man96
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2020 1:22 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Ok, I think I'm ready to start this off. I'm bypassing the forward and anything before that in the book, as the meat of what I want to get into lies after that.


Bruce Lee wrote:
On Zen. pg. 7, first paragraph: To obtain enlightenment in martial art means the extinction of everything which obscures the "true knowledge," the "real life." At the same time, it implies boundless expansion and, indeed, emphasis should not fall on the cultivation of the particular department which merges into the totality, but rather on the totality that enters and unites that particular department.


Emphasis on boundless expansion was in the text.

So, I'll admit I've never been much of a philosopher, and know next to nothing about zen and achieving it. So, these first several pages of Lee's writings are truly lost on me. I guess to get to the meat of things here, we should isolate what the "true knowledge" and "real life" refer to.

I guess, it has to do with something like "what is," as in this moment in time, perhaps? I don't know? Perhaps not over complicating a thing, and letting it just be what it is, and do what it does?

"Boundless expansion," I think, refers to letting one's mind be free to explore all possibilities, and not be tied to one particular approach or way of thinking. Don't try to expand it, but let it expand....?

And then there is the "totality." This, I have a little trouble grasping. And add to that "particular department" aspect of the discussion...and it loses me. At face value, to me, "totality" and "everything" are one and the same.

Thoughts? I'd love to hear how everyone else sees these thoughts.
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SLK59
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2020 9:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I an not really certain what Lee was saying in that JKD quote, but I have spent a lot of time studying Zen and its relation to the Japanese martial art that I practice. Here is what it means to me in a nutshell:

In Zen Buddhism, “enlightenment” (Satori) is the achievement of Mushin, which literally translates into English as “No Mind,” but actually means a free, dynamic mind, unhindered by ego-driven, self-centered blocks. The purpose of Zen meditation (Zazen) is to help remove these blocks from the mind and achieve Mushin more and more often, until one can do so at will. One is then considered to be a Master (Roshi), which usually takes at least 20 years of intensive daily training.

In the martial arts, Mushin is that moment when everything flows and “the technique does itself” without conscious thought or effort. If you have been lucky enough to experience that, it is an amazing feeling! Mastery in the martial arts means ultimately being able to remove all physical and mental blocks, and thus perform at the highest level at will, without conscious thought or effort. Not surprisingly, achieving that level of mastery usually takes at least 20 years of intensive daily training.

Edit: In looking through the entry on Chan Buddhism (the Chinese ancestor of Japanese Zen Buddhism) in the online Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy, I came across this interesting quote:

Fazang made metaphorical use of a traditional, timber-framed building that is held together without any fasteners by the compressing force of gravity on all of its parts (Huayan wujiao zhang, in Taishō shinshō daizūkyu, Vol. 45, no. 1866). Removing the clay roofing tiles and their immense weight would destabilize such a building, eventually causing it to collapse. But the roofing tiles are placed on top of purlins that are placed perpendicularly on rafters resting on a central ridge beam and on rim joists that are themselves resting on columns placed atop individual foundation stones. Since removing the roofing tiles of such a structure would cause the entire building to collapse, the tiles can be said to be the cause of the totality of the building. But the same is true for all of the other parts of the building. Similarly, each particular in the world (shi) consists at once in causing and being caused by the dynamic patterning (li) of the totality of all things. Each thing ultimately is what it means for all others. (Emphasis mine.)

I suspect that this is what Lee might have been getting at in his JKD quote.

Here is the link to the full Stanford entry on Chan Buddhism: https://plato.stanford.edu/entries/buddhism-chan/
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bushido_man96
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2020 2:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Thank you for that, SLK. Very helpful. I am familiar with the idea of Mushin, so that helps in crossing the bridge here. That would seem to lead to the Lee quote, "I do not hit; it hits all by itself."

Glad you've jumped in here! I plan on running ideas in this thread for a while!
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SLK59
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PostPosted: Sun Dec 20, 2020 3:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

bushido_man96 wrote:
Thank you for that, SLK. Very helpful. I am familiar with the idea of Mushin, so that helps in crossing the bridge here. That would seem to lead to the Lee quote, "I do not hit; it hits all by itself."


Yep.
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sensei8
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 10:43 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

It's great that Bruce didn't expound and/or expand on much of his philosophy, therefore leaving us to our own interpretation, which can lead to being way out in left field somewhere. Yet, then and again, Bruce greatly encouraged us to...

Quote:
Absorb what is useful, discard what is useless and add what is specifically your own.

– Bruce Lee


This includes his many philosophy gems.

So, having said that, here's my interpretation of boundless expansion.

There's no limit to what we can do and/or achieve within oneself, let alone when the MA is considered. As the Karate maxim teaches Shu Ha Ri, that too, is an boundless expansion of some type. Learning and applying and experiencing the endless opportunities that have not revealed themselves, and change endlessly and effortlessly.

Without allowing any boundless expansion in self to ever exist is a staginess that can greatly bog one down into some unescapable abyss. I not being an authority of Zen or the like, to me boundless expansion is/can be expressing ourselves willingly and eagerly across the board.

Proof is on the floor is ones boundless expansion. Explore and witness as well as accepting accountability in discovering ones boundless expansion.

Perhaps, these two idioms have a meaningful correlation with Bruce's boundless expansion..."A rolling stone gathers no moss" and this..."Change is inevitable; change or die".

One truly can't expand if one does nothing, hence...

Quote:
"If you spend too much time thinking about a thing, you’ll never get it done."

– Bruce Lee




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bushido_man96
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 8:23 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

All good points, Bob. You'll have to remind me what Shu/Ha/Ri translates to exactly, but I do remember discussing it. If I recall correctly, it's the study and expansion of forms and their applications?
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bushido_man96
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PostPosted: Mon Dec 21, 2020 10:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Moving forward here, exploring more of Bruce Lee's philosophical sense.

Bruce Lee wrote:
pg. 7, paragraph two: The way to transcend karma lies in the proper use of the mind and the will. The oneness of all life is a truth that can be fully realized only when false notions of a separate self, whose destiny can be considered apart from the whole, are forever annihilated.


So, is it just me, or does this sound like some talk of a another you in a parallel universe or something? And we need to basically purge this kind of thought from our thinking? I kind of have an inkling as to what karma is; the idea that "what goes around, comes around," that universe will balance itself out in the end. I've usually heard karma spoken of primarily in the sense of someone who has wronged us "getting what's coming to them," but I imagine that in the Eastern sense, there is more to it than that.
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SLK59
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PostPosted: Tue Dec 22, 2020 8:09 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

bushido_man96 wrote:
Moving forward here, exploring more of Bruce Lee's philosophical sense.

Bruce Lee wrote:
pg. 7, paragraph two: The way to transcend karma lies in the proper use of the mind and the will. The oneness of all life is a truth that can be fully realized only when false notions of a separate self, whose destiny can be considered apart from the whole, are forever annihilated.


So, is it just me, or does this sound like some talk of a another you in a parallel universe or something? And we need to basically purge this kind of thought from our thinking? I kind of have an inkling as to what karma is; the idea that "what goes around, comes around," that universe will balance itself out in the end. I've usually heard karma spoken of primarily in the sense of someone who has wronged us "getting what's coming to them," but I imagine that in the Eastern sense, there is more to it than that.


I believe that Lee is simply ‘rephrasing’ the classic Chan/Zen Buddhist concept of Non-Attachment, i.e. dissolving the illusion of an ego-driven Self, totally separate from the rest of the universe. In Hindu, Jain and Buddhist religious thought, karma (Sanskrit: action or deed) includes the idea that each soul experiences countless births and rebirths, becoming a higher or lower being in the next life based on the thoughts and actions made during this life. Good thoughts and actions lead to good karma and happier rebirths, while bad thoughts and actions lead to bad karma and rebirths. For Chan/Zen Buddhists, the only way to escape this endless cycle of birth and rebirth is to emulate the Buddha and dissolve the illusion of Self through meditation, and thus achieve Mushin (No Mind) - see my earlier post above.
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