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zenkai’s tunnel

Zenkai, the son of a samurai, journeyed to Edo and there became the retainer of a high official. He fell in love with the official’s wife and was discovered. In self-defense, he slew the official. Then he ran away with the wife.

Both of them later became thieves. But the woman was so greedy that Zenkai grew disgusted. Finally, leaving her, he journeyed far away to the province of Buzen, where he became a wandering mendicant.

To atone for his past, Zenkai resolved to accomplish some good deed in his lifetime. Knowing of a dangerous road over a cliff that had caused the death and injury of many persons, he resolved to cut a tunnel through the mountain there.

Begging food in the daytime, Zenkai worked at night digging his tunnel. When thirty years had gone by, the tunnel was 2,280 feet long, 20 feet high, and 30 feet wide.

Two years before the work was completed, the son of the official he had slain, who was a skillful swordsman, found Zenkai out and came to kill him in revenge.

“I will give you my life willingly,” said Zenkai. “Only let me finish this work. On the day it is completed, then you may kill me.”

So the son awaited the day. Several months passed and Zendai kept on digging. The son grew tired of doing nothing and began to help with the digging. After he had helped for more than a year, he came to admire Zenkai’s strong will and character.

At last the tunnel was completed and the people could use it and travel in safety.

“Now cut off my head,” said Zenkai. “My work is done.”

“How can I cut off my own teacher’s head?” asked the younger man with tears in his eyes.

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The master of Kennin temple was Mokurai, Silent Thunder. He had a little protege named Toyo who was only twelve years old. Toyo saw the older disciples visit the master’s room each morning and evening to receive instruction in sanzen or personal guidance in which they were given koans to stop mind-wandering.

Toyo wished to do sanzen also.

“Wait a while,” said Mokurai. “You are too young.”

But the child insisted, so the teacher finally consented.

In the evening little Toyo went at the proper time to the threshold of Mokurai’s sanzen room. He struck the gong to announce his presence, bowed respectfully three times outside the door, and went to sit before the master in respectful silence.

“You can hear the sound of two hands when they clap together,” said Mokurai. “Now show me the sound of one hand.”

Toyo bowed and went to his room to consider this problem. From his window he could hear the music of the geishas. “Ah, I have it!” he proclaimed.

The next evening, when his teacher asked him to illustrate the sound of one hand, Toyo began to play the music of the geishas.

“No, no,” said Mokurai. “That will never do. That is not the sound of one hand. You’ve not got it at all.”

Thinking that such music might interrupt, Toyo moved his abode to a quiet place. He meditated again. “What can the sound of one hand be?” He happened to hear some water dripping. “I have it,” imagined Toyo.

When he next appeared before his teacher, Toyo imitated dripping water.

“What is that?” asked Mokurai. “That is the sound of dripping water, but not the sound of one hand. Try again.”

In vain Toyo meditated to hear the sound of one hand. He heard the sighing of the wind. But the sound was rejected.

He heard the cry of an owl. This also was refused.

The sound of one hand was not the locusts.

For more than ten times Toyo visited Mokurai with different sounds. All were wrong. For almost a year he pondered what the sound of one hand might be.

At last little Toyo entered true meditation and transcended all sounds. “I could collect no more,” he explained later, “so I reached the soundless sound.”

Toyo had realized the sound of one hand.

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The most difficult phase of life is not when no one understands you; it is when you don’t understand yourself!

may your day be filled with understanding

“Out of every one hundred men, ten shouldn’t even be there, eighty are just targets, nine are the real fighters, and we are lucky to have them, for they make the battle. Ah, but the one, one is a warrior, and he will bring the others back.” ~Heraclitus

 

nominated

the one in one hundred warrior award

…by Miro Warrior Poet Wisdom, an icon for being a peaceful warrior

(please click the link above and read Miro’s post of what a warrior is … for I have never heard it said any better, For Miro is truly a one in one hundred warrior)

Bows (~_~) Humble

~I am truly honored~

excerpt from Miro~ …Courage. Honesty. Fearlessness. Grace. Peace. Service to others. No complaints. Nothing thought of as a blessing or a curse; everything simply accepted as another challenge to be conquered.

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Miro~ You have no idea how moved I am. I have had a very trying week. I have had to pull together some of my own advice in order to endure physical and mental challenges this week. I came home this week (one night) with one arm covered in orange (COP) and the other covered in blood. My wife freaked out till I told her, “It was not my blood!”

My work has its challenges to say the least. The next day at work, I had celebrity status, every one making comments of how I was a hero, Bruce Lee, or Jackie Chan, I simply couldn’t take credit and stated, “It was nothing… really!” Which is the truth. The truth is you hone your self for years so that when the one day comes you can put your training into effect. A warrior may stand a post for weeks and wait… till the one day when action is called for and you place your life on the line because it is the right thing to do. The truth is you re-act rather than act. thank you Miro~ this came at a time when I truly felt like a warrior and continued to contemplate that peace was what was needed and stepped in to obtain that peace by saving another.

Way of the peaceful warrior.

bows (~_~) humble

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Once an author is given the award, they may continue nominating one new blog author once a week, month, year… or whatever seems appropriate. It’s like a knight’s ability to bestow knighthood onto another whenever they choose. But only one at a time. The patience of a warrior is required.

Guidelines for the 1-in-100 Warrior Award: Warriors are not motivated by awards or fame. They see awards not as an opportunity for the ego to rejoice, but rather an opportunity to honor other warrior brothers and sisters. To acknowledge and honor the rarity of the warrior, it is recommended that the recipient passes this award on to only *one* other blogger that they feel goes above and beyond to serve and inspire others, and who maintains their grace and positivity even in the face of difficult challenges, such as health issues, tragedy, injustice or loss.

My nomination for the One in One Hundred award is…

Sensei White

of…Rocky Mountain Shito-Ryu Karate-Do

Sensei White teaches others how to defend them self. Teaching Karate is a part of his life but being a part of the community and country is where his heart is. If you were to read his blog that offers insightful information on self-defense and what to watch for in order to keep yourself safe. I encourage readers to take some time and read this man’s words. His blog is heart-felt and enlightening to what a great instructor of Karate is and should be. I had a Karate studio for years… (Inner Spirit Martial Arts… Jefferson, Texas) and I know what dedication it takes to take on such an endeavor. He opens his heart and studio to others because he cares, not for profit. But because it is what true martial arts is all about.

Bows (~_~) Humble to Sensei White,

a one in one hundred warrior.

With Great Strength A Kind Heart Is Forged.

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Zendictive, was awarded the Liebster Blog award

by Sensei White

(excerpt)  ….   My nominees in no particular order:

1. zendictive https://zendictive.wordpress.com/ Very much wisdom and entertaining reads because Zen IS addictive.

bows (~_~) humble

thank you!

The guidelines for the Liebster Blog Award:

1. Show your thanks to the blogger who gave you the award by linking back to them.
2. Reveal your top 5 picks for the award and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Post the award on your blog.
4. Bask in the love from the most supportive people on the blogsphere – other bloggers.
5. And, best of all – have fun and spread the karma.

nominating five bloggers

1) Cat Foresly (wisdom commons)

2) glutenvygirl

3) artjen1971

4) annedearle

5) ntexas99

I encourage readers to check out these blogs and absorb the wonders of their words and whole hearted blogs.

have a zen filled day

A Spider’s Web (Author Unknown)

A young soldier found himself in a terrible battle during the Scottish Reformation. The enemy was soundly defeating this young man’s army. He and his comrades found themselves hastily retreating from the battle field in defeat, running away in fear of their very lives. The enemy gave chase. This young man ran hard and fast, full of fear and desperation, soon found himself cut off from his comrades in arms.

He eventually came upon a rocky ledge containing a cave. Knowing the enemy was close behind, and that he was exhausted from the chase, chose to hide there. After he crawled in, he fell to his face in the darkness, desperately crying to God to save him and protect him from his enemies.  He also made a bargain with God. He promised that if God saved him, he would serve Him for the remainder of his days.

When he looked up from his despairing plea for help, he saw a spider beginning to weave its web at the entrance to the cave. As he watched the delicate threads being slowly drawn across the mouth of the cave, the young soldier pondered its irony. He thought, “I asked God for protection and deliverance, and he sent me a spider instead. How can a spider save me?”

His heart was hardened, knowing the enemy would soon discover his hiding place and kill him.

And soon he did hear the sound of his enemies, who were now scouring the area looking for those in hiding. One soldier with a gun slowly walked up to the cave’s entrance. As the young man crouched in the darkness, hoping to surprise the enemy in a last-minute desperate attempt to save his own life, he felt his heart pounding wildly out of control.

As the enemy cautiously moved forward to enter the cave, he came upon the spider’s web, which by now was completely strung across the opening. He backed away and called out to a comrade, “There can’t be anyone in here. They would have had to break this spider’s web to enter the cave. Let’s move on.”

Years later, this young man, who made good his promise by becoming a preacher and evangelist, wrote about that ordeal. He wrote:

“Where God is, a spider’s web is as a stone wall. Where God is not, a stone wall is as a spider’s web.”

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Life is like a spider web, we are all connected in the chain of life!

may your day be a pleasant one

 

wise men say…

(four short stories from wise men)

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True philosopher that he was, Socrates believed that the wise person would instinctively lead a frugal life. He himself would not even wear shoes; yet he fell under the spell of the marketplace and would go there often to look at all the wares on display.
 
When one of his friends asked why, Socrates said: “I love to go there and discover how many things I am perfectly happy without.”
 
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To the disciples who were always asking for words of wisdom the Master said, “Wisdom is not expressed in words. It reveals itself in action.”
 
But when he saw them plunge headlong into activity, he laughed and said, “That isn’t action. That’s motion.”
 
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In the last century, a tourist from the States visited the famous Polish rabbi Hafez Hayyim. He was astonished to see that the rabbi’s home was only a simple room filled with books. The only furniture was a table and a bench.“Rabbi, where is your furniture?” asked the tourist.

“Where is yours?” replied Hafez.

“Mine? But I’m only a visitor here.”

“So am I,” said the rabbi.
 
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Buddha was once threatened with death by a bandit called Angulimal… “Then be good enough to fulfill my dying wish,” said Buddha. “Cut off the branch of that tree.”One slash of the sword, and it was done! “What now?” asked the bandit.

Put it back again,” said Buddha.

The bandit laughed. “You must be crazy to think anyone can do that.”

“On the contrary, it is you who are crazy to think that you are mighty because you can wound and destroy. That is the task of children. The mighty know how to create and heal.”

 
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wise men say… only fools rush in!
 
 
 
have a zendictive day
 
 
A Samurai who was known for his nobility and honesty, went to visit a Zen monk to ask advice. However, the moment he entered the temple where the master was praying, he felt inferior and concluded that, in spite of having fought for justice and peace all his life, he hadn�t even come near the state of grace achieved by the man before him.

“Why do I feel so inferior?” he asked, as soon as the monk finished his prayers. “I have faced death many times, have defended those who are weak, I know I have nothing to be ashamed of. Nevertheless, upon seeing you meditating, I felt that my life had absolutely no importance whatsoever.”

“Wait. Once I have attended to all those who come to see me today, I shall answer you.”

The samurai spent the whole day sitting in the temple gardens, watching the people go in and out in search of advice. He saw how the monk received them all with the same patience and the same illuminated smile on his face. But his enthusiasm soon began to wane, since he had been born to act, and not to wait.

At nightfall, when everyone had gone, he demanded: “Now can you teach me?”

The master invited him in and lead him to his room. The full moon shone in the sky, and the atmosphere was one of profound tranquility.

“Do you see the moon, how beautiful it is? It will cross the entire firmament, and tomorrow the sun will shine once again. But sunlight is much brighter, and can show the details of the landscape around us: trees, mountains, clouds. I have contemplated the two for years, and have never heard the moon say: why do I not shine like the sun? Is it because I am inferior?”

“Of course not – answered the samurai. – The moon and the sun are different things, each has its own beauty. You cannot compare the two.”

“So you know the answer. We are two different people, each fighting in his own way for that which he believes, and making it possible to make the world a better place; the rest are mere appearances.”

 
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The pen is mightier than the sword!
 
 
 
 
Have a zendictive day

Once the great Anthony of the Desert was relaxing with his disciples outside his hut when a hunter came by. The hunter was surprised to see Anthony relaxing, and rebuffed him for taking it easy. It was not his idea of what a holy monk should be doing.

Anthony replied, “Bend your bow and shoot an arrow.” And the hunter did so. “Bend it again and shoot another arrow,” said Anthony. The hunter did so, again and again.

The hunter finally said, “Abba Anthony, if I keep my bow always stretched, it will break.”

So it is with the monk,” replid Anthony. “if we push ourselves beyond measure, we will break. It is right from time to time to relax our efforts.”

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moral: Balance, as with the ying and the yang; up, down, light, dark, hot and cold, there is exertion and relaxation, a necessity for muscles to operate properly. Life is the same, stress caused by enduring to much can only be resolved by a resolution and/or relaxation. Relax, take your shoes off! For the farther a man’s/woman’s feet are from the earth, the farther one is from them-self.

have a relaxing day

 

~My 200th post~

~today’s poetry~

Billy Jack movies …begin with the song, One Tin Soldier, a inspirational song that seems to seep into the soul as it begins to climax. The song’s story is as strong as the music itself.

One Tin Soldier Billy Jck version

One tin soldier” in the form of a story

(song/film clip,…click to view/listen @ YouTube)

I’ll post the lyrics as a poem for the day.

One Tin Soldier (The Legend of Billy Jack) (the lyrics)

by Dennis Lambert & Brian Potter, performed by The Original Caste (1970)
This song was performed by Jinx Dawson and Coven in the movie “Billy Jack” (1971)
 
One Tin Soldier
 

Listen, children, to a story
That was written long ago,
‘Bout a kingdom on a mountain
And the valley-folk below.

On the mountain was a treasure
Buried deep beneath the stone,
And the valley-people swore
They’d have it for their very own.

Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
Go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of Heaven,
You can justify it in the end.
There won’t be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgment day,
On the bloody morning after….
One tin soldier rides away.

So the people of the valley
Sent a message up the hill,
Asking for the buried treasure,
Tons of gold for which they’d kill.

Came an answer from the kingdom,
“With our brothers we will share
All the secrets of our mountain,
All the riches buried there.”

Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
Go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of Heaven,
You can justify it in the end.
There won’t be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgment day,
On the bloody morning after….
One tin soldier rides away.

Now the valley cried with anger,
“Mount your horses! Draw your sword!”
And they killed the mountain-people,
So they won their just reward.

Now they stood beside the treasure,
On the mountain, dark and red.
Turned the stone and looked beneath it…
“Peace on Earth” was all it said.

Go ahead and hate your neighbor,
Go ahead and cheat a friend.
Do it in the name of Heaven,
You can justify it in the end.
There won’t be any trumpets blowing
Come the judgment day,
On the bloody morning after….
One tin soldier rides away.

 

…One tin soldier rides away.

Billy Jack has always been a favorite movie of mine and I could make a whole post on that alone, (if ever there should be a re-make of a movie, Billy Jack would be my vote) but for now I wanted to post this song since I heard it the other day and it hit me that it is inspirational in itself and perfect for my 200th post.

On the mountain was a treasure…

…”Peace on Earth“… was all it said.

 

During a momentous battle, a Japanese general decided to attack even though his army was greatly outnumbered. He was confident they would win, but his men were filled with doubt. On the way to the battle, they stopped at a religious shrine. After praying with the men, the general took out a coin and said, “I shall now toss this coin. If it is heads, we shall win. If tails, we shall lose. Destiny will now reveal itself.”

He threw the coin into the air and all watched intently as it landed. It was heads. The soldiers were so overjoyed and filled with confidence that they vigorously attacked the enemy and were victorious. After the battle, a lieutenant remarked to the general, “No one can change destiny.”

“Quite right,” the general replied as he showed the lieutenant the coin, which had heads on both sides.

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moral: we make our own destiny, sometimes we need encouragement to believe in our selves or to have someone believe in us.  You can’t change the spots on a leapard, but the choices you make, can change your destiny,

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To a woman who complained about her destiny, the Zen Master said, “It is you who makes your destiny.”

“But surely I am not responsible for being born a woman?”

“Being born a woman isn’t destiny. That is fate. Destiny is how you accept your womanhood and what you make of it.” Replied the Zen Master.

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food for thought

the choices we make, not the chances we take, determine our destiny!

 

It is a mistake to try to look too far ahead. The chain of destiny can only be grasped one link at a time.
….Winston Churchill…
 
 
 
Destiny is no matter of chance. It is a matter of choice: It is not a thing to be waited for, it is a thing to be achieved.William Jennings Bryan

 
 
One meets his destiny often in the road he takes to avoid it.
 
have a quality day
 
 

Skill and the Mind

After winning several archery contests, the young and rather boastful champion challenged a Zen master who was renowned for his skill as an archer. The young man demonstrated remarkable technical proficiency when he hit a distant bull’s eye on his first try, and then split that arrow with his second shot.

‘There,’ he said to the old man, ‘see if you can match that!’

Undisturbed, the master did not draw his bow, but rather motioned for the young archer to follow him up the mountain. Curious about the old fellow’s intentions, the champion followed him high into the mountain until they reached a deep chasm spanned by a rather flimsy and shaky log.

Calmly stepping out onto the middle of the unsteady and certainly perilous bridge, the old master picked a far away tree as a target, drew his bow, and fired a clean, direct hit. ‘Now it is your turn,’ he said as he gracefully stepped back onto the safe ground.

Staring with terror into the seemingly bottomless and beckoning abyss, the young man could not force himself to step out onto the log, no less shoot at a target. ‘You have much skill with your bow,’ the master said, sensing his challenger’s predicament, ‘but you have little skill with the mind that lets loose the shot.’

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I usually ponder on a topic for awhile before posting it here. I will save an idea in drafts and research the topic as I find time. Lately it has been crazy trying to find which posts are complete, do NaNoWriMo, read all the blogs I have subscribed to (this is a great way to find inspiration) and work. Like when I found a post by ‘The Tale of My Heart’ and ‘DeeShrek‘ that made great Etegamis. (The wise man vs the fool and the cow on ice skates) and now, I was inspired to finish this post; Bulls Eye, when I read Cat’s blog/post; ‘Missing the Mark’. Let me add that Catlas just received the…

………………………..Versatile Blogger award.

Catlas Crosses the Internet

excerpt from; Missing the Mark

“Success is not final, failure is not fatal: it is the courage to continue that counts.”
Winston Churchill

Catlas is a witty word wizard and if you haven’t read her blog, I recommend that you do so. If you like enlightenment served on a humorous and witty platter, you’ll love her writes. I believe she has hit the Mark… (o_o)…with; Missing the Mark!

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The Bulls Eye

In a bar, in a land far away (or just around the corner) a man stood poised. He had a dart in his hand as he readied himself to throw. He sized up his target and balanced his stance as his hand rocked back and forth till he finally released the dart. It flew through the air hitting the dart board. All eyes turned toward the dart-board to see rather he had made a bulls eye or not.

How many throws does it take to perfect a throw? Do you have to spend your entire life practicing the art of throwing darts to hit the bulls eye. Do we have to commit ourselves to a daily regiment of training to be good at what we want in life? Of course. How often do we hit the bulls eye in life? Not near as many as we throw.

I know that when I went through the Academy, I tried with every ounce of breath to win the Beto award. An award given to the Officer that finished the academy with the highest marks/ grades. I made an average of 97.5 on every test. I just missed the 100 mark by one nearly every single time. I did make a few 100’s but the one 95 and the 97.5’s hit me in the gut like a sledge hammer. I just did not hit the bulls eye every time.

Why was I so bent on making a perfect score? Perhaps I am a perfectionist. My classmates were glad to get 85 (passing) I am the kind that doesn’t settle for anything less than perfection. But I did not make a bulls eye every time and it was hard to swallow. I did not get the award, I missed it by an inch that might as well have been a mile.

What standards do we set for ourselves? I work out in the yard, Kata’s, forms for martial arts. We have neighbors that don’t come up to stay on the river but maybe three or four times a year. One day I go out and exercise when this woman came out of her house and was all eyes. I suppose she had never seen some one kicking trees 6-7 feet high. I apologized if I had awaken her, for I am an early riser. (most of my posts are 4 am before I go to work and 6 am on my days off) So, this woman asked me, “How high can you kick?”

I said, “I don’t know 6’4 maybe.” I saw a lower limb on the tree (perhaps close to 7ft) and decided I would kick it. I made my jumping attempt and missed. I was embarrassed.

She said, “Miss it or not that is impressive.” I thought about that. I didn’t feel so bad any more. ‘If you get close, your in the ball park’ is the new saying I learned from this.

We were talking at work about the Super Bowl game. There was some one dogging the losing team. I pointed out that both teams are winners for making it that far. The losing team might not of won the super bowl but they earned the respect of being a great contender just by making it that far.

So. this man in the bar… looked at his dart that he had thrown and he could tell by the moans from the crowd that he did not hit the bulls eye. He walks up to the dart board and takes the dart out and walks back to the line and throws again, and again, and again till he finally makes a bulls eye. Seems that we should learn to accept the misses that generally out number the amount of hits we get in the bulls eye. All of life is trial and error, we can’t be expected to hit the target every single time. I think the defeat would be to never try at all or to say, “I can’t hit that,” and never do it. Life is all about learning and we learn from our mistakes… and our misses.

If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again.

by Art~

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(foot-note; darts fly erratic, like arrows, I shoot a bow and arrow and can hit the target ten out of ten times. Just like shooting a rifle, I can hit the target every time. Darts are a game of chance most of the time with standard darts that do not fly true in the air. Professional dart throwers use their own darts that are more balanced and fly true. I suppose this applies in life as far as quality goes. You buy a cheap car your gonna have problems sooner than if you buy quality. Isn’t our lives worth quality moments even if we can not afford expensive things, we can give our souls quality time.)

 may your day hit the bulls eye

 

Zatoichi Monogatari
(A tribute to the Blind Swordsman)

by Art~

“You are like a candle,
as you melt,
you illuminate the world.”

Lost his sight when he was two years old,
when his minds eye thinks of his mother,
She is always young, even now that she is gone.

“A falling leaf does not hate the wind.”

Fumbling blind fingers reach
for a beautiful sound
an egg is found,
as a bird, away flutters.

“Mother bird come back,
you forgot you young.”

Ichi san kept it warm till the hatching was done.
In a little hatch basket it lived,
surrogate mother Ichi provided.

“Perhaps a falling leaf does hate the wind?”

In 6 seconds, six men will fall,
if their swords are drawn on Zatoichi san.

“A Samurai and his sword are the same.”

A humble blind mans walking cane,
cloaks a Dragons talon.

“A small fish caught up in the current.”

Bathed in blood so many times,
He wishes to know red.
How do you describe such a color?
To a man who has never seen the setting sun
Or a red maple leaf?

Drip drip drip drip

Ichi san smiles,
listening to the waters song.

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(The infamous blind Samurai wandered the countryside of Japan in the early 1800s. The immortal ‘Star’ died in 1992. Zatoichis’ natural charm, wit and quick sword won the hearts of many in a series of 26 Japanese movies, in the 1960s.)

He was as mild mannered as Mr. Miagi of the Karate Kid and the swordsmanship of any Samurai. Traveling the country side spreading his charm with-out even trying. The film was such a great hit they made 26 movies using this character, directed by Kenji Misumi, is the first film of a classic Japanese samurai drama saga starring Shintaro Katsu as Zatoichi.

Shintarō Katsu

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This Etegami inspired by; The Tale of My Heart

His blog/post…“Wise Man vs The Fool”

(click on picture to enlarge)

have a zen-filled day

 

Art~

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zendictive

Art~

Emma (Sunshine),

wedding day

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