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The Unfettered Mind

The Unfettered Mind

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is a three-part treatise on Buddhist philosophy
Buddhist philosophy
Buddhist philosophy deals extensively with problems in metaphysics, phenomenology, ethics, and epistemology.Some scholars assert that early Buddhist philosophy did not engage in ontological or metaphysical speculation, but was based instead on empirical evidence gained by the sense organs...

 and martial arts
Martial arts
Martial arts are extensive systems of codified practices and traditions of combat, practiced for a variety of reasons, including self-defense, competition, physical health and fitness, as well as mental and spiritual development....

 written by Takuan Sōhō
Takuan Soho
was a major figure in the Rinzai school of Zen Buddhism.Takuan Sōhō was born into a family of farmers in the town of Izushi, located in what was at that time called Tajima province . At the age of 8 in 1581 young Takuan began his religious studies and 2 years later he entered a Buddhist monastery...

, a Japanese monk of the Rinzai sect. The title translates roughly to "The Mysterious Records of Immovable Wisdom". The treatise was written as correspondence to Yagyū Munenori
Yagyu Munenori
was a Japanese swordsman, founder of the Edo branch of Yagyū Shinkage-ryū, which he learned from his father Yagyū "Sekishusai" Muneyoshi. This was one of two official sword styles patronized by the Tokugawa Shogunate...

, inheritor to the Yagyū Shinkage-ryū
Yagyu Shinkage-ryu
is one of the oldest Japanese schools of swordsmanship . Its primary founder was Kamiizumi Nobutsuna, who called the school Shinkage-ryū. In 1565, Nobutsuna bequeathed the school to his greatest student, Yagyū Munetoshi, who added his own name to the school. Today, the Yagyū Shinkage-ryū remains...

 school of swordsmanship
Swordsmanship
Swordsmanship refers to the skills of a swordsman, a person versed in the art of the sword. The term is modern, and as such was mainly used to refer to smallsword fencing, but by extension it can also be applied to any martial art involving the use of a sword...

. Written for the laity, the book makes little use of Buddhist terminology, but instead focuses on describing situations followed by an interpretation. Its contents make an effort to apply Zen
Zen
Zen is a school of Mahāyāna Buddhism founded by the Buddhist monk Bodhidharma. The word Zen is from the Japanese pronunciation of the Chinese word Chán , which in turn is derived from the Sanskrit word dhyāna, which can be approximately translated as "meditation" or "meditative state."Zen...

Buddhism to martial arts.

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