Japan: Where The How is more important than The Why

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If you’ve ever either done or watched a performance of a ‘do’ in Japan, Kendo, Judo, Sado, Kado, you would have come across the concept that essentially the how is all that matters. I say essentially because the why is so obvious it doesn’t even need stating. We do Shugendo (yamabushi training) to do Shugendo, it’s as simple as that.

Take Kyudo, Japanese archery, for example. In Kyudo, if you thought it was all about hitting the target, you would be wrong. It’s not about the results, it’s about the process.

You’re not so much worrying about why you should be doing something, the why is trivial. It’s all about the how.

In Kyudo, it’s all about doing things in the right order, in the right way, and most importantly, doing it with a sincere heart.

That’s it. That’s all there is to it.

This may seem counterintuitive to people from the west, but the reason for this is simple. ‘Do’ translates to ‘the way’ or ‘the path’, but I think a better translation, or at least a more understandable one, would be ‘the process’.

Whatever you call it, the way, the path, the process, there is no end. Results are a distinct end. As if there’s nothing after. But there’s always something after! The only time when this wouldn’t be the case would be when we die.

That’s why the way, the path, the process, the how, is more important than the why. And it’s why you shouldn’t be too focused on the results as well.

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Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

Tim Bunting Kiwi Yamabushi

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Sakata City, Yamagata, Japan 

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