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The Zen of Soaking

"The path towards becoming an enligthened Water Warrior is non-linear, but the ultimate result remains the same." - Z.o.S.

As noted in the Introduction, the Zen of Soaking draws upon the Buddhist concept of the Noble Eightfold Path.

Water - Noble Eightfold Path

The eight elements in the Noble Eightfold Path can be divided into three categories as follows:

Wisdom (Sanskrit: prajñā, Pāli: paññā)

1. Right view
2. Right intention

Ethical conduct (Sanskrit: śīla, Pāli: sīla)

3. Right speech
4. Right action
5. Right livelihood

Mental discipline (Sanskrit and Pāli: samādhi)

6. Right effort
7. Right mindfulness
8. Right concentration

In all of the elements of the Noble Eightfold Path, the word "right" is a translation of the word samyañc (Sanskrit) or sammā (Pāli), which denotes completion, togetherness, and coherence, and which can also carry the sense of "perfect" or "ideal".

While the path is numbered, it should not be considered as a series of linear steps through which one must progress, rather as elements which are to be developed simultaneously as much as possible determined by the capability of each individual. Each of these eight elements is linked and helps the advancement of the others.

TreesRight View :.

Right View refers to seeing with the right perspective, vision or understanding. The Right View is the true view, free from biases, prejudices or other elements that may attempt to cloud one's view. To attain the Right View, one must learn to identify that which obstructs one's view from one's own opinions to external sources and find ways to overcome them through separating emotion from objectivity or shifting perspectives to attain a clearer view. The enlightened Water Warrior will be able to see his opponents for all their strengths, weaknesses, and intentions, thus seeing how their attacks can be countered and their dodges met with an unexpected stream of Water.

Right Intention :.

Right Intention refers to the concept of right thought, resolve, or aspiration (the exertion of one's own will to change). This element of the Noble Eightfold Path deals, fundamentally, with the Water Warrior's reasons for practicing Water Warfare within an environment, encompassing a Water Warrior's commitment towards good will even to one's opponents, respect for all (Players and non-Player's alike), and a commitment to no-violent-physical or non-physical contact, or promotion of the love of Water Warfare to all. The Water Warrior respects the rules and boundaries of the game, holding no hostility towards an other Player off the field and respecting all Players as fellow Water Warriors.

Right Speech :.

Right Speech deals with the way in which Water Warrior would best make use of his words. Summarized, Right Speech calls for abstaining from lying, from abusive speech, from divisive speech, and from pointless chatter. The Water Warrior is no deceiver of the world and need not speak untruths. The Water Warrior does not gossip and divide groups of people from one another, preferring instead to find things to say that bring people together in harmony. The Water Warrior need not use abusive speech, preferring words soothing to the ear and strike the heart, appealing and pleasing to most. Lastly, the Water Warrior does not waste words, opting for silence and inner reflection as opposed to making noise solely to avoid silence.

Right Action :.

Right Action can be thought of as right conduct and, as its name suggests, denotes how a Water Warrior should act in all aspects of daily life. After a battle is over, a Water Warrior should be willing to share one's knowledge with those interested in learning the Way of the Water Warrior as opposed to covetting it to himself. True Water Warriors may soak with impunity during the game, but are selfless individuals beyond the Water Warfare field.

Right Action constitutes Five Precepts on the Water Warfare Field:

1. to refrain from harming/injuring/damaging any living or non-living thing
2. to refrain from stealing others' equipment
3. to refrain from game misconduct
4. to refrain from false speech (lying)
5. to refrain from squandering water

Right Livelihood :.

Right Livelihood is based around the concept of promoting pure and fun water warfare as a means to curtail violence and promote friendships, never as a bragging right or means to belittle another. While the Water Warrior has the skills to soak with the force of a hurricane or tsunami, the Water Warrior strives to promote the pure and true enjoyment of Water Warfare and the Art of Soaking. During a battle, the Water Warrior can strike swiftly and efficiently, but after the game is through, the Water Warrior is willing to share and teach his Art to those wanting and willing to learn.

Right Effort :.

Right Effort can also be thought of as right endeavor or continued action towards a goal. This involves the Water Warrior's continuous effort to keep his mind free of thoughts that may impair his ability to practice the other elements of the Noble Eightfold Path. By making Right Effort, a Water Warrior is considered attemping to do that is wholesome in terms of karma; that is, in terms of that effort's ultimate consequences to the Water Warrior.

The four phases of Right Effort: (in simple English):

1. make effort to avoid or prevent the unwholesome that has not yet come.
2. make effort to remove and destroy the unwholesome that has come.
3. make effort to create and produce the wholesome that has not yet come.
4. make effort to cultivate and nourish the wholesome that has come.

Right Mindfulness :.

Right Mindfulness is concerned with "right memory" and, together with Right Concentration, is concerned broadly with the practice of meditation by a Water Warrior. In essence, mindfulness refers to the practice of keeping one's mind alert and open to phenomena as they are affecting the body and mind. The mindful Water Warrior, when he dwells contemplating the body in the body, the mind in the mind, thoughts in thoughts, the soaker as merely one of an infinite means to the goal, the Water Warrior becomes the embodiment of the essence of Water, needing only Water to achieve pure Soaking.

Right Mindfulness also plays a role on the water warfare field as the trained Water Warrior will be naturally tuned to be mindful of all that surrounds him from opponents to allies to non-participants.

Right Concentration :.

Right Concentration, together with right mindfulness, is concerned broadly with the practice of Water Warrior meditation as well as focus on the water warfare grounds. With Right Concentration, the Water Warrior can remain effortlessly focused on that which are important to his goals while not squandering thought on needless distractions. This does not mean that a Water Warrior is blindly following a goal; rather, he is able to clearly see that which is truly important and avoid the paths that lead nowhere.

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Adapted from Wikipedia - http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Eightfold_path

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