The Demon's Sermon on the Martial Arts

And Other Tales

By William Scott Wilson; Issai Chozanshi
(Shambhala, Paperback, 9781590309896, 224pp.)

Publication Date: November 13, 2012

Other Editions of This Title: Paperback, Hardcover

Shop Local
Enter your zip code below to find indies closest to you.

Go


Description

This collection of parables written by an eighteenth-century samurai is a classic of martial arts literature. The tales are concerned with themes such as perception of conflict, self-transformation, the cultivation of chi (life energy), and understanding yin and yang. Some of the parables seem light and fanciful, but they offer the reader valuable lessons on the fundamental principles of the martial arts; “The Mysterious Technique of the Cat” is iconic.

The “demon” in the title story refers to the mythical tengu, who guard the secrets of swordsmanship. A swordsman travels to Mt. Kurama, famous for being inhabited by tengu, and in a series of conversations he learns about mushin (no-mind), strategy, the transformation of chi, and how the path of the sword leads to the understanding of life itself.

The author, Issai Chozanshi, had a deep understanding of Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism, and Shinto, as well as insight into the central role of chi in the universe—points that are succinctly explained in William Scott Wilson’s fine introduction and extensive endnotes. This is essential reading for anyone who wants to truly understand the philosophical underpinnings of martial arts, and how these principles relate to our existence.




About the Author

William Scott Wilson is the foremost translator into English of traditional Japanese texts on samurai culture. His best-selling translations include Hagakure and The Book of Five Rings




Praise For The Demon's Sermon on the Martial Arts

“In keeping with his author's aims, William Scott Wilson, in his elegant and erudite translation, embeds the sermon between a kind of overture and a postlude comprising some of the charming animal allegories to be found in another Chozanshi book, the ‘Inaka Soshi’ (here winningly rendered as ‘The Hayseed Taoist’). The centipede questions the snake, the sea gull and the mayfly discuss the ‘Tao,’ and the toad speaks of the way of the gods. Their message is very like that of the demon—get down to essentials, forget yourself, rely on nothing, search for the heart of the truth.”—Japan Times

Indie Bookstore Finder

Indie Bestsellers

All the Light We Cannot See
Anthony Doerr
Scribner Book Company
Landline
Rainbow Rowell
St. Martin's Press
New and Selected Poems
David Lehman
Scribner
Still Some Cake
James Cummins
Carnegie-Mellon University Press

Make Your Own Wishlist








Update Profile