The Contemplations

The following are sets of contemplation that the Budoka may consider on their road to enlightenment.

The Void – Mu:

In Bubishido, The Void represents the unknown. We face the void everyday during our lifetime. The void is represented by absence and distance. The Budoka should meditate on the meaning of the void and its application in martial arts and life. In today’s materialistic world we are encouraged by a whole host of entities to fill our lives with distractions. They wish to make us believe that emptiness (a reflection of the void) represents unhappiness or a lack of satisfaction. Through a lifetime of bombardment of marketing messages served up in shiny packages we come to believe the message that emptiness is to be avoided and that filling that emptiness with distractions is valid. We thus strive day-in and day-out to acquire things that in and of themselves have no true meaning, we become slaves to these messages. However, the deeper reality is that these messages are powerful not because of their content but because they mirror a lack or need that we harbor inside. They magnify a deficiency that we have and bring that deficiency to the surface. Feeling a sense of shame or disenchantment with ourselves we try to quench that need by filling it as quickly as possible. This typically means giving in to the direction of the false message, essentially buying what that false message is trying to sell. Unfortunately, this only provides temporary relief and ultimately is a worthless pursuit that leaves us feeling in even greater despair.The insight is that the void is not something that needs to be filled. The void is something that needs to be understood and mastered. Within the void we come face-to-face with our deficiencies and by recognizing these deficiencies and mastering them we become masters of the void and impervious to the negative influence of the forces that would exploit those deficiencies. Once we have mastered our deficiencies and feel a sense of peace within the void only then can we have true mastery over our lives. The Budoka must contemplate on the reality that all false messages are ultimately a reflection of our inner character. And that we must gain self understanding by exercising confidence and courage in facing our deficiencies. Learn to master the void and you will be a master of life.

The Hungry Spirits:

On your path you will face many obstacles. Some of those obstacles are placed there by the hungry spirits or hungry ghosts. Hungry spirits are those beings that are driven by intense emotional needs in an animalistic way. These spirits are not happy until they knock you off your path of spiritual development and force you back to wayward ways. Many believe that hungry spirits roam the earth. Others believe that the hungry spirit lives in all of us and constantly tries to prevent us from our higher purpose. It is said that the hungry spirits arise due to neglect. Either way, the Budoka should contemplate on the nature of the hungry spirits (ghosts) and recognize that spiritual development is not an easy path, that it is a constant battle against external and internal forces. Once this is recognised then the Budoka can take the first steps to mastering the hungry spirits. Once mastery is achieved the hungry spirits sensing defeat will move to other weaker beings to continue their nefarious dealings.


As a martial artists the lesson of awareness manifest itself in different ways. On a basic level it means being aware of one’s surroundings so that one is prepared for the possibility of attack. On a higher level it means always being attentive and not to sleep-walk though your tasks. As an example, in kata work we often see students performing the movements while their minds are off thinking about something else. They are not fully in the moment. As a result their exercise is hampered or worse negated. Keeping an attentive mind on the task at hand is a real form of meditation and it takes discipline and exercise to become good at it. Kata is known as “moving meditation”. Undisciplined minds are easily knocked off their task. Today’s world is filled with many distractions, more so then ever before and it is important that the martial artist understands that they must remain ever vigilant about their own behavior. They must train their mind not to become easily distracted, either by their own thoughts or the events around them. Being a master of your own mind and learning to have a disciplined mind assists the martial artists in everything they do. Developing a disciplined mind is at the heart of all Budo training and Budoka keep this lesson as primary in everything they do.



All Budoka should contemplate One. The number one represents the undifferentiated wholeness. It also represents the individual who comes from that wholeness. As such the individual is a reflection of the whole. From the efforts of the individual everything is possible. The One represents the student. Since the Sensei is also always a student the One also represents the Sensei. With a Sensei and student we can have a dojo and with a student, Sensei and dojo we can have the style or school. Thus, all possibilities are born of One. Budoka should contemplate the multitude of possibilities that are made possible from the One and the responsibilities that represents.