Iaido Journal Apr 2005
The True Kendoka Dies for the Love of the Truth
copyright © 2005 Hossein Karamyar, all rights reserved
Vigorous Kendo practice in the dojo is not sufficient to produce
perfect kendoka. The Master should train the kendo students in a
spiritual path side by side with the dojo practice.
Man is dominated by his self's desires and fears. Those who are
ensnared in these habitual impulses are out of harmony with the Truth,
and thus ill. As a result of this illness, feelings become disturbed
and accordingly, thoughts and perceptions become unsound. Thus, one's
faith as well as one's knowledge of the Truth strays from what is real.
In order to follow the way to Perfection, one must first rectify
these incorrect thought processes and transmute one's desires and
fears. This is accomplished by coming into harmony with the Light. This
way of harmony, which we call the Spiritual Path consists of spiritual
asceticism. In this way, one comes to perceive the Truth as it really
In order to travel the path, the kendo student needs physical
strength supplied by proper bodily nourishment and vigorous exercise in
the dojo. What the kendoka practicing spiritual asceticism eats is
transformed into spiritual qualities and light
However, the food taken by the kendoka who undergoes only physical
exercise to serve their own desires, only strengthens their selfish
attachments and takes them further away from the light.
This one eats and only stinginess and envy results.
While that one eats and there is but the light of the One.
This one eats and only impurity comes about.
While that one eats and all becomes the Light of God.
It is not the clothes or outward aspects which make the kendoka; rather
it is his or her actions and inner being.
Recline on the throne of the heart, and with purity in manner be a
The kendo master should be spiritually qualified enough to penetrate
to the depths of the student's soul, transmute his/her negative
qualities and bring to nothing the impurities of the world of
multiplicity and the student will become a perfect being.
The master should teach the student to remember all good attributes.
The remembrance of good qualities prescribed by the Master helps the
student cure the disease of the self and its desires and fears.
Continuous remembrance of the good qualities is requisite to
purification of the self and adorning it with Divine Attributes.
Gradually, the student's self passes away and the light becomes
manifest and his/her heart and soul becomes illuminated by the grace of
the Divine Attributes.
The kendoka should sit either cross-legged or on his or her heels, with
the right hand placed on the left thigh and the left hand over the
right wrist. In these positions one's hands and legs form a Y
symbolizing the nonexistence of the kendoka before the Beloved. In
this state, the kendoka must relinquish attention to and belief in this
world, the hereafter, and him/her. The Y of one's arms begins at one's
navel and continues up to one's neck. It is a scissors which
symbolizes the cutting away of the head of one's selfishness, and the
surrendering of the belief in and attachment to one's own limited
existence. Incarnation of the good attributes cultivates a Perfect
Kendoka and turns him/her into a mirror reflecting the light. These
enlightened beings, each according to his or her capacity, can
contribute to the illumination of the gloomy path of disillusioned
man. Most kendoka however do not have the patience necessary to fare
upon this arduous path, because they are encompassed by selfish
Finding the light, a true kendoka must live in, serve and guide
society, and be a vehicle by which society receives Grace. It is for
this reason that conforming to and being in harmony with society, being
at peace with all, is a quality of a perfect kendoka.
The stages a kendoka should undergo can be outlined as such: self
becoming emptied, self becoming illuminated, self becoming adorned
and self-annihilation. The first stage entails letting go of negative
qualities, the desires which originate from the self. The second stage
of becoming illuminated involves polishing the heart and soul of the
tarnish of belief in and attachment to the self. In the third stage,
one's inner being becomes adorned by Divine Attributes. Ultimately, the
being of the kendoka becomes completely filled by the Attributes of
Truth-Reality, to the extent that there is no sign of his own limited
existence. This fourth stage is called "annihilation of the self ".
I thought of You so often that I completely became You.
Little by little You drew near, and slowly but slowly I passed away.
Through these stages of purification, the kendoka travels the inner
way. Having traveled this path, he/she becomes a perfect being and
arrives at the threshold of the Truth.
As put by a noble spiritual wayfarer: "One, who dies for the love
of the material world, dies a hypocrite. One, who dies for the love of
the hereafter, dies an ascetic. But one, who dies for the love of
the Truth, dies a kendoka."