The Second Sword of Taia

“Well then, the accomplished man uses the sword but does not kill others. He uses the sword and gives others life. When it is necessary to kill, he kills. When it is necessary to give life, he gives life. When killing, he kills in complete concentration; when giving life, he gives life in complete concentration.”

 

The Unfettered Mind,  Takuan Sōhō, Translated by William Scott Wilson,   Kodansha International,  17-14 Otowa-1-chome, Bunyo-ku, Tokyo 112-8652.

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The Sword of Taia

needs no tsuba

for what point

defence?

 

When steel

leaves saya

destiny listens

only,

to motion

 

Resting before

the point of mind

is born,

sleeps peace,

afterwards not

 

In daishō

ever paired

the small

and the large

 

The close and

the far

range is

universal,

even cosmic

 

Sparing sharp

the sword

drawn on need

and not,

before

 

The Sword of Taia

is the Zen

of life and death,

its edge,

discerns

 

The when

of define

the swish

of moment,

which moves

 

Slicing the four winds

ever now

in the Satori

without gates,

or chains

 

When saya clicks

no mind point

attained again

before any thought

and return

 

A dawning instant

calls out blades

the point of mind

and action,

this too passes

 

The Sword of Taia

is birth

and in its birth

comes death

 

In its death

restive sleeping

is new birth

ready to flash,

again

 

The Sword of Taia

holds lightning

close

for they are

the same

 

This sword

ever dances

the edge

the nascent precipice

of life and living

 

And that

is a very

very sharp

place,

indeed.