Recently, I embarked on a new stage on my spiritual path. Much of it I am not at liberty to speak about, however, there are some aspects I will be communicating publicly through this blog. The Art of Ninzuwu, as can easily be seen in the writings of Warlock Asylum and others, is a path of many levels and permutations. On one level, it is an esoteric Shinto discipline brought to us from the Jomon era of Japan’s history; on another, it is a spiritual technology that finds its roots on the continent of Mu and later spread through Japan and into Mesopotamia. An apologetic for the Art’s history is beyond the scope of this post and is also something I see no value in beyond rehashing old debates that have been addressed in the writing of others.
In this particular article, I would like to communicate what I have learned regarding Bishamonten and his significance to the path of the Ghost Dragon Samurai. It is my hope that these insights will spark resonance within those who read this and inspire them in their own research and work.
According to onmarkproductions.com, Bishamonten is:
Male. Defender of the Nation, Guardian of the Dharma (Buddhist Law), and Lord of Wealth and Treasure (hence his inclusion in the Japanese group of Seven Lucky Gods).This armor-clad, weapon-wielding, demon-stomping deity was introduced to Japan in the 6th century AD as one of the four Shitennō (Four Heavenly Kings Protecting the Four Directions), wherein he is known as Tamonten 多聞天, the guardian of the north and protector of the holy places where Buddha expounds the teachings. The Four Kings soon rose to great prominence in rites to safeguard the Japanese nation. In later centuries, however, Tamonten became the object of an independent cult, supplanting the other three in importance. When worshipped independently, he is called Bishamonten (or Bishamon, Bishamon Tennō, Tobatsu Bishamon), but when portrayed among the Shitennō he is called Tamonten.”
Within this paragraph, we are given clues to Bishamonten’s deeper meaning within the scope of the Art of Ninzuwu and also as the guide of the first steps on the Path of the Ghost Dragon Samurai. Bishamonten is regarded as a “Defender of the Nation” and “Guardian of Dharma.” These titles offer us clues as to the attitude of those walking this path. We are “defenders” of the nation in that our aim is to be selfless rather than selfish. We gladly put the needs of the people over our own in service to something larger than ourselves.
Bishamonten is also called “guardian of dharma.” This suggest that another part of our path is guardianship over the spiritual understanding that is given to us. It is not for us to flaunt it before others, but rather to develop ourselves according to its principles so we may stand as an example of those principles forged of mortal flesh. Bishamonten is also worshiped as a “god of wealth and treasure.” While it can be argued that this means physical wealth and treasure, further study into Bishamonten and his symbology proves that this references spiritual wealth and treasure as is entrusted to us from those farther along the path than we; be they embodied in the physical or not.
According to Buddhist lore, Bishamonten owns guardianship over the North. This is seen as representative of the physical realm in Buddhist thought. In the beginning degrees of the Ghost Dragon Samurai, we are responsible for our physical world and the also the physical world around us. As the genin of ninja lore handle the execution of missions, so to does the neophyte Ghost Dragon Samurai work toward mastery of his/her physical world before moving on to more ethereal matters.
Bishamonten is called the god of warriors (but not war), according to onmarkproductions.com. This suggests the cultivation of strategy and the mind over a violent solution to conflict. Bishamonten is also a “god of defense against foreign invaders, a deity of healing with the power to save emperors from life-threatening illness and to expel demons of plague (details below), to keep personal enemies at bay, and to reward followers with riches, good fortune, and even children.” These lines speak volumes to the path of the Ghost Dragon Samurai. It is clear we are meant to be healers of not only ourselves, but others. “Defense against foreign invaders” can be seen as a metaphor for dis-ease; be it on the microcosmic or macrocosmic level. The other descriptors of “saving emperors form life-threatening illness, expelling demons of plague, keeping personal enemies at bay, and rewarding followers with riches, good fortune, and even children” further support Bishamonten as the paragon of the evolved warrior.
The evolved warrior is not a beserker thirsting for blood, but a sage leading the people into all the good things in life. When faced with conflict, he/she does not meet violence with violence, but seeks to diffuse the violent energy and put it to good use. When there is no choice but to meet conflict, the evolved warrior is an unparalleled defender; neither rigid nor too fluid, but the perfect balance of the two. Like Bishamonten, we hold the spear of our spiritual power that is able to change the world, but balanced in the other hand with the pagoda (or stupa) which is the treasure house of our wisdom.
Power must always be balanced with wisdom. I think that is one of the key lessons of the path of the Ghost Dragon Samurai, or any enlightened path for that matter. Just because one has the power to influence a situation does not mean it is always wise to do so. Even truth can be a curse when delivered with a negative emotion. Let’s strive to be better; whether we are on this Path or not. Let’s always strive to become our highest and best selves. In this, we cannot go wrong.
Ben McInnis, G.E.A, FGDS (Kurido)