Wednesday, April 21, 2010
A student asked whether Makoto could be conceived as naivety or object innocence. Somehow, I don't think that is true. Perhaps thinking about a pure heart, one wonders if one should accept that everyone has a place in the universe and that we must not assume the worst of anyone. Well then, I think a proper definition of that would be unrealistic expectations.
A pure heart, or sincere heart to be more exact, I believe is more about doing things whole heartedly. Without guilt, remorse, regret, hesitation or rationalisation. Take your pick. It is about doing things as they should be. Its about acting in accord with the universe.
The example I gave was in an encounter with a beggar. We are often approached by those seeking funds for charity on behalf of others, on behalf of themselves and so on so forth. At times, it is easy to see a scam, more often than not it is difficult. Especially when it comes to professionals who make it their business to look legitimate. Normal people usually think to look for clues as to whether these people deserve the money before doling out the cash. We rationalise sometimes, if for example we have given the other day, maybe we'll say no this time around. Or sometimes we're with someone, and its embarrassing not to give because it gives an impression that we are stingy. All sorts of things come to mind when you're reacting to a beggar who approaches. Sometimes when you see one, you pray inside that he won't approach you because you'll have to go through the whole rigmarole. Sometimes you are already speculating if its a scam as he approaches.
In those instances, I would hazard that we have not yet reached makoto. Nor would it be makoto if you give everything you have to everyone who ask of it. I believe that at the stage of makoto, you will act as it happens. There will be times you will give them money, and at times you will refuse. You will do those things with complete sincerity, without thought of reward be it praise from your peers, or thanks, or satisfaction that you are able to give as opposed to the one who is begging. And in those times you refuse, it would be perfectly natural for that refusal to happen. No malice, no speculation, no care to the impression of those around you.
It will also hold true that in makoto, you will strike without fear and receive without fear or hesitation. You will enter when the time is true, and you will cut down the person in front of you without anger. Being in a state of makoto would be like Saidina Ali cutting his enemy down. Yet stopping when the man roused his anger by spitting at him. When he was asked by his enemy why not carry out the deathstroke, Saidina Ali calmly replied... It was right when I had to cut you down as God wills it, but it is not right to cut you down when I have anger towards you.
This ties back to the origins of Budo. To serve a higher purpose. As Budoka, you serve not yourself but a higher and more noble purpose. In serving that purpose you will achieve a state of makoto. But serving your needs and wants, those are not makoto.
Hopefully, my current understanding of makoto will not differ so much 2 years or 10 years down the road. But that's how I see it today. Also think, why Makoto is part of Fudo Genri. What has a sincere heart got to do with the Immovable Principles. To me, if you don't form expectations or anticipations, you won't plan to react a certain way. Instead you accept and do what is necessary and it becomes so true that it happens before something affects you.