bu – 武

I take the entire universe as my teacher, all created things as the product of bu. The practice of bu summons forth bu from within your own being. You must open your own path.

Morihei Ueshiba – The Secret Teachings of Aikido

budo – bodhi

Ueshiba goes to great length to enumerate what bu means, he says that this “energy”, this “force”, is in fact love. There is to it a sense of love-in-action even unconditional love in action. In the sense of bu-dō  it is the way of the warrior, which must perforce at its pinnacle be loving. It is not about wanton destruction and victory over others, the victory is always over self. For there is something about the fierce which engenders the very gentle, something about the martial which brings healing. They are two sides of the same sword.

This warrior tradition spans many cultures and there is marked similarity of essence. The warrior’s journey must be first to the core of the Labyrinth of Self. This is the Grail legend where only the pure of heart can touch the Grail, the chalice. Without the misogi, the purification, it is not safe to touch.

Purification is the act of balancing and bringing together and under control, via discipline. It is not the mortification of the ascetic yet it has ardour and application to it, albeit less extreme. That application is of necessity persistent. To know self is to understand and thereby enable discernment in thought and in deed. Moreover it must be joined-up, a living, walking, breathing, expression of one’s own budō ; as it is expressed and manifested by a unique authentic essence, a single spark of the One Life, a human being.

He says that one ought stand on the floating rainbow bridge between Heaven and Earth and thereby be a conduit of union, living forever in the eternal now.

The warrior’s journey is not for the faint of heart or the feckless, yet many who start may indeed find the spirit to go on, a spirit hitherto hidden from them, yet ever nascent. To become a vehicle for the spirit is to walk the path of budō.  When the word and the way have become as one, then one is on the way. Where each path goes cannot be known beforehand, that would be too boring….too predictable