Well, how does China relate to the foundations of Japanese culture? Let’s look at the following description in the Ming period “Journey to the West” by Wu Cheng-en.


To explain, it says that when the Monkey King (Sun Wukong) passed through one hole, he could pass through 100, ie. all, holes. Immediately, he learned the details and gist of things. Furthermore, he finished learning all of the 72 types of transformations through personally practicing.
The phrase “Ittsuu, hyakutsu” (When passing through one, you pass through all) often used in modern China comes from this. It has the same meaning as the previously explained phrase “Those who excell in an art(gei) are well-informed in everything.”
As explained above, Gei as used in these two proverbs has the former worldly meaning of “a means of livelihood” and the latter highly spiritual meaning of “a way to truth.” However, isn’t the source of “Art (gei) helps oneself” the same gei as in “the way to truth”? Hasn’t the interpretation expanded with time to include the worldly meaning of “a means of livelihood”? So it is thought.
In this way, by considering the meaning of gei in these ordinarily and innocently used proverbs, our image of the word gei changes. We discover that it’s source actually includes a rich meaning.

The Source of the Theory of Art
Well, reflecting on the origin of the meaning of gei, we can see as expected that it’s source comes from Chinese theory. I will explain more fully in February’s edition, but the following is about “Rites (Rei)” and “Music (Raku)” of the Six Arts (Rikugei), from the Chinese classic “Records of the Grand Historian.”


Here, the arts of rites and music are principles of Heaven and Earth, that is, of Nature and the Universe. Mastering the practice of Rites and Music is to acquire virture as if a kami, it is written.
Also, the next about virtue is from the Chapter Four: Li Ren of the Analects (#25).


In short, Confucius says that no matter what the circumstance may be, men who posses virtue are not left helpless. There will also be people who come and gather that love virtue. Those sympathetic and cooperative will always appear before virtous people. It explains the benefits of the virtue of the gods of Heaven and Earth.
Like this, the meaning of the origin of “gei” is the mastering the mysteries of an art: in buddhism it is enlightenment (satori), in confucianism it is acquiring “the virtue of the gods of Heaven and Earth.” This is by no means a matter of competing in skillfulness or the progress of one’s technique. It is said the mark of attainment is truely within your own self: deepening virtue for the sake of examining your own self. In other words, it is investigating the matter of yourself.
In next months February edition, I want to consider seeking the the origin within the Six Arts of educational curriculum of Chinese Zhou Dynasty.