The Moment of Truth

If your life is framed by the choice between gain and loss, fame and obscurity, praise and blame, and pleasure and pain then you are done. It is too late.

As practitioners we have a better basis for deciding what to do and what to avoid. 

By practitioners I do not mean all people who do martial arts. I mean people who are serious about it. That is very few. Lots of people love it and take it seriously, but when the demands get too onerous, they back down. Nothing against them. Everyone has their own life. But serious practice does not work that way. 

What could serve as a better basis for choosing what to do and what to avoid? Better than gain and loss, fame and obscurity, praise and blame, pleasure or pain? What else is there? What makes more sense?

Those are the choices that guide Hollywood, Washington and Wall Street. Those are the choices for people who live like moths circling the flame, wondering what’s burning. Like flies buzzing eagerly, furiously, to their rightful place on the biggest steaming pile of crap they can find. Which is not only sad and foolish, but dangerous, for everyone.

Those are not the choices that practitioners use to decide what to do and how to live. 

The alternative to chasing gain, pleasure, fame, and praise, while doing everything to avoid loss, pain, obscurity and blame is making your first concern the choice between right and wrong. 

It is not hard to understand. And it is not all relative:

Don’t kill people. Don’t lie to them. Don’t steal their stuff. Don’t misuse sex. Don’t drink or do drugs. Don’t bad-mouth people. Don’t curse people. Don’t talk unless you mean it and it is useful. Don’t crave what other people have. Don’t tolerate hatred or ill will in your heart. Devote yourself to practice, and penetrate to the heart of the truth.

That is how to be strong. It cannot be done without good guidance and relentless commitment to training the heart and mind. 

In the midst of madness, violence, seduction and chaos, this simple choice is the path to a life that is worthy and good. It is difficult and dangerous. But there is no other way.


Post by Jeffrey Brooks Copyright© 2022 Mountain Karate Dojo, LLC, Yamabayashi Ryu Honbu, in Saluda, NC

Photo by Max Ravier via Pexels

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