Thursday, 12 May 2016

Seishin- The Correct Mind

   Sei means 'Right'/'Correct'/'True' while Shin means 'inside'/'heart'/'mind'/'spirit'/'god'/'divine'. Thus it means 'Correct Spirit', 'Correct Heart' or 'Correct Mind' for its complete meaning in our context. It's the first and the most important principle of ninjutsu and hence the first step towards becoming a ninja is to develop 'Seishin' before you can go further.
   If you lack 'seishin', you differ no other than common people who can do similar tasks. All your techniques are useless if you don't have developed the 'Seishin' and you are not worthy of being called a ninja because all your techniques will then be for your personal purposes, desires and freewill.
   As Momochi Sandayu says, "Ninjutsu is not something which should be used for personal desires. It is something which should be used when no other choice is available, for the sake of one's country, for the sake of one's lord, or to escape personal danger.  If one deliberately uses it for the sake of personal desires, the techniques will indeed fail totally".

   Even if it's about escaping personal danger to save your life, you should do it so only because saving your own life may help you save ten more. If you save your own life at the cost of leaving ten more in danger then that is not some thing worth of a true shinobi, and a samurai.
   The practice of Seishin helps you be decisive and flexible in the most difficult times so you wouldn't have to think more on the situation. If you haven't kept your heart under the blade then you haven't fulfilled the true meaning of shinobi, which can be achieved by the use of Seishin and that's why it's so important. Not only in Shinobi traditions but the practice of Seishin first is the part of some Samurai Traditions too.

   The development of Seishin is called Seishin Teki Kyóyó (Spiritual Refinement) in Bujinkan. The spiritual refinement includes not only meditation but mostly involves the general life behavior. Meditation is something that comes at the final steps of developing Seishin. Below I will discuss the few different steps to develop Seishin- the correct mind, in order as:
 - The first Step is to be positive. This means in modern terms to be 'optimistic' and let go of negative thoughts. Whatever happens, hope that it happened for good; accept others' beliefs and think that they may have a reason; do not jump to conclusions too fast.
 - The second step is to negate or subtract. In this step, you take your own self by the collar and deny whatever reasons your mind may give for your bad habits or deeds. Stop right at the moment and say 'no' to yourself, then turn towards something else. Say 'no' straight to the people who may call you or offer something for a bad deed.
 - The third step is that of 'vision'. In this step you practice keeping a deep observation. Look at things from all the perspectives, both good and bad, even those which may be against your personal beliefs. Look not the two sides of the image; you will still be blind but look all the eight or twelve sides -the front and back, the top and bottom, the right and left, from the inside and the outside. Ignore not even the smallest details of the image. Once you have looked through different perspectives, try to choose the best one and then work on. Develop the power of good reasoning. Remember that if you haven't followed/covered the previous two steps, you will slip on this one.
 - The fourth step is 'endurance'. This is the mental endurance. There may be a lot of things that may annoy you quickly but most of it is useless. There are a lot of things out of reach or out of the time. As the saying goes, "What can not be cured must be endured". Remember that the other meaning of 'Shinobi' is 'to endure'. Be calm and persevere. If you have the mental endurance, you can live the most dire situations. People with weak minds generally die young. If you have the mental endurance, you can even prepare your body to endure the physical strain because all and everything exists inside you, there's nothing external.
 - The fifth step is that of 'connection'. In this step, you listen to the conversations of people and try to know their feelings. You must go to the different regions and meet different people. This helps in three ways that you are able to understand others better and also gain information, and also that it helps you set a decisive mind. Also try to keep a deep connection with the nature. Listen to the sounds of birds, the splashing of water, the rustle and bustle of the leaves, the sound and flow of the water and wind. Observe their way carefully; touch them, taste them and smell them. This is like one form of meditation.
 - The sixth step is to be gentle. Surely by now you may have gained immense power and know various ways; you may also have followed the above steps of developing Seishin but if you have still not learned to be calm and gentle in your ways then what you have gained will stay for some moments and then disappear. Your power will be destructive for both you and the surroundings. Try to take down your opponent with as much less effort as you could have ever and by dealing as much less damage as can be. Be flexible like a bamboo.
 - The seventh step is to be divine. Without religion, a person is like a hollowed bamboo. It is perhaps  more flexible than a filled bamboo but it cracks easily. The naturally solid bamboo has both the qualities of flexibility and rigidity. Religion helps you be somewhat rigid; it gives hope and there are many things which can only be accomplished through faith. An old saying says, "how can you expect to be successful if the heavens are not with you". If you are without faith, you can not fulfill the basic tasks related to Shinobi. So at the very least, follow these rules that: do not lie or cheat, even as a joke, in your normal life; protect and fulfill your promises; Return what you have borrowed from others or kept in trust. Meditation is one part of this step. Practice to be as quiet as the ground beneath you and respect everything. The ultimate goal of a shinobi is to gain Oneness with everything. Continue to work towards spiritual refinement.

This ends here.
Refer to comments section for more information.


  1. That's something called Zanshin. Zanshin comes after Seishin. Some of it you cover in Seishin especially in the 3rd, 5th and 7th steps. This awareness comes natural with the practice of Seishin. The practice of Seishin gives you a fixed mindset. The practice of Zanshin is flowlike; it constantly changes and is very time-dependent; Seishin is independent of time. Generally in Seishin you train the spirit or the heart but Zanshin is mostly about training the mind. One term is FudoShin which means 'the immovable spirit'. I will write about it later.


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