Paramita and the Perfection of Wisdom
“Shi-kin Hara-mitsu Dai-ko-myo” is our training hall motto. Inherited from my martial arts teacher in Japan and his teacher before him, it is an inspirational phrase we shout in front of the kamiza to start and close SKH Quest To-Shin Do Level 3 and Level 4 classes.
I have translated the phrase as, “Everything I encounter could serve as the perfection of wisdom that leads to enlightenment,” or, “Every experience contains the potential for taking me to the awakening I seek.”
The SHI of the phrase translates literally as “word(s)”.
The KIN translates as “sound(s)”.
Together, the two kanji for Shi-kin mean literally “The sounds of words,” or “Sounds and words”. The combination means “an encounter” or “something that occurs to me”.
HA-RA-MITSU is the Japanese pronunciation of paramita, a Sanskrit term that translates as “perfection of wisdom,” or “having gone over the river to the far shore”, a Buddhist metaphor for going beyond normal limits of thought and perception to reach highest or broadest understanding. I know the 3 kanji characters loosely translate as ” secrets of going over the waves” – a well done translating coincidence – but the word really is an attempt to use Chinese letters and Japanese pronunciation to get the Sanskrit “paramita”.
DAI KO MYO means “great bright light” – illumination “dawns on us.”
My wife An-shu Rumiko offers another interesting interpretation. We can see SHIKIN at one end and DAIKOMYO at the other, both leading inwards to the center of HARAMITSU. “All that we hear and all that we see can lead to the perfection of wisdom.” Multidirectional reading is possible in Chinese and Japanese, though difficult to imagine in Western languages.
My good friend Chris Penn of Boston Martial Arts has suggested that a contemporary parallel might be an expression like, “This could be it!” as you dig for treasure, or study something important, or interview for a dream job. You might recite over and over, “This could be it!” as a way of staying on your toes to make sure you get the most you can out of the opportunity.