Unto This Last

“I desire, in closing the series of introductory papers, to leave this one great fact clearly stated. THERE IS NO WEALTH BUT LIFE. Life including all its powers of love, of joy, and of admiration. That country is the richest which nourishes the greatest number of noble and happy human beings; that man is richest who, having perfected the functions of his own life to the utmost, has also the widest helpful influence, both personal, and by mean of his possessions, over the lives of others.”

John Ruskin, Political Economist and Philosopher

Dr. Henderson’s Comments:

John Ruskin would remind us of the the primary lesson taught to all men and women throughout the ages: that from virtue comes all things and that we must be vigilante in cultivating our character. He speaks directly to the point that there is no wealth but life and that life in itself the the utmost treasure. His view is that man is the richest who helps to cultivate happiness in others through the development of their own character and the appropriate use of their own material benefits and talents.

Is this not the way in the martial arts? We strive to develop our character further, and though we hit stumbling blocks, as we are only human, it is the desire to improve that is most important. Through the process of improving ourselves we improve our community. Through the process of creating happiness within ourselves we help to create a more harmonious community in which we live. The martial arts can help each person to become more in tune with their own challenges and work on them to develop a greater sense of contentment and happiness. Ultimately, the martial arts helps us to know ourselves better and that helps us to accept ourselves without the need for external validation. By extension it helps us to accept others. This is were true happiness lies. Once this is attained then we are able to bring happiness to others through our presence and thoughtfulness both of our words and actions.

Attaining the above should be the path of each Sensei.