The Essence of Ninpo By Masaaki Hatsumi, 34th Soke of the Togakure Rye
I believe that Ninpo, the highest order of Ninjutsu, should be offered to the world as a guiding influence for all martial artists. The physical and spiritual survival methods eventually immortalized by Japan’s Ninja were in fact one of the sources of Japanese martial arts.
Without complete and total training in all aspects of combative arts, today’s martial artist cannot hope to progress any further than mere proficiency in the limited set of muscular skills that make up his or her training system. Personal enlightenment can only come about through total immersion in a martial tradition as a way of living. By experiencing the confrontation of danger, the transcendence of fear, injury, death, and a working knowledge of individual personal powers and limitations, the practitioner of Ninjutsu can gain strength and invincibility that permit enjoyment of the flowers moving in the wind, appreciation of the love of others, and contentment with the presence of peace in society.
The attainment of this enlightenment is characterized by the development of the jihi no kokoro, or “benevolent heart.” Stronger than love itself the benevolent heart is capable of encompassing all that constitutes universal justice and all that finds expression in the unfolding of the universal scheme. Born of the insight attained from repeated exposure to the very brink between life and death, Ninpo’s benevolent heart is the key to finding harmony and understanding in the realms of the spiritual and natural material worlds. After so many generations of obscurity in the shadowy recesses of history, the life philosophy of the ninja is now once again emerging, because once again, it is the time in human destiny in which Ninpo is needed. May peace prevail so mankind can continue to grow and evolve into the next great plateau.