Prof. Phillip M. Skornia,9th Dan

Shorinji Zendo-ryu Karate

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     Keep in mind, you must be open-minded to really learn.  Sometimes, Truth is hard to take.  It can seriously upset your nice, neat preconceived ideas about life, religion, and God.  Religion is similar to styles of karate.  Most people who are happy or just plain invested in their "style or school" of karate don't want to learn or see any other techniques or katas.  They may believe that more knowledge will somehow lessen what they already know.  In Shorinji Zendo-ryu Karate, we are always encouraged to learn all that we can, regardless of style.  Shorinji Zendo-ryu Karate is, and never was, a "style" in the sense of limiting the techniques or knowledge.  It is also not a combination of all styles because who in their right mind might would be so narcissistic as to think they know everything, from every other style.  Rather, our system is a "concept" of always looking to learn, to be open  to finding Truth.  The main factor is that a technique must fit our formula for success, P.E.P.  It must be tested by training to see if it is Practical, Effective, and Proven, P.E.P. This is backed up with the science of kinesiology and biomechanics.  Note:  Our techniques were studied and analyzed  by an engineer in the Physics Department of T.R.W.  Many people in various religions will go to war to somehow prove that their "belief" is better than someone else's - My God is better than your God, like bullies on the playground

   By the time I was ten years old, meditation loosened many of those beliefs on "burn forever" teachings.  Once you are freed from preconceived dogma, your mind can open to all the possibilities rather than the forced limits of one book, one God (my God only), one way.  It is said in the Vedanta, " There is no religion higher than Truth."  At sixteen, I was ready to face the unknown world and discover my own Truth.  I sued for emancipation and moved away.  I had to pay tuition to go to high school.  I had a small apartment and paid for that and a car by working after school.  I worked as a busboy and janitor late at night at the historic Dilworth Hotel. 

Note of interest:  The Dilworth Hotel was built in the 1800's and is now a National Heritage site.  I was born in Horton's Bay on Lake Charlevoix, Michigan, which was the location of Ernest Hemingway's wedding.  Hemingway hunted on my Grandfather's property.  I knew his younger sister, Sunny.  She autographed her book, "Sunny,"  to me and my grandfather, Charles. Both his parents and my great-grandparents came from Bohemia.

Note of interest:  For information on the historical Horton Bay General Store, written up in America's oldest general stores books and the Red Fox Inn, also a historical landmark, just e-mail me.  Both the Red Fox Inn and the General Store were visited by Ernest Hemingway.  Both were owned by friends of ours.  In 2009, I went back to visit Skoria's Landing on Walloon Lake, where Hemingway hunted and fished.  It's still there, family-owner since the 1800's.  
There is a large Heminway Historical Center at Horton Bay, Michigan, still owned by a childhood friend of mine.  There is a historic marker by an old one-room school, which I attended.  There is also a historical marker at the end of our old property, which tells about the Hemingway trail to the headwaters of Horton Bay Creek.  This creek flows into a huge, now resort, area of Lake Charlevoix.  Nearby is the Seven Mountain Boyne Highland Resorts, with skiing and golf courses.  More later in my book.  Hint:  If you go by to visit, ask Jim to direct you to the old Skornia outhouse (it's 75 years-old...Really.)

     At seventeen, I joined the Army.  By joining on my own and not being drafted, I could chose my advanced training.  I chose the Military Police. By signing up for an extra year, I could chose where I would be stationed.  I chose Japan.  Once in Japan, isolated from home and friends (also got the typical "Dear John" letter), I poured myself into my studies.  

    I remember my first serious study of Buddhism.  I had studied Comparative Religion  in high school, plus read another good book published in 1958 by Life Magazine, The World's Great Religions. I  still own this book.  But when I studied Buddhism, it was like coming home.  I never felt such comfort and peace.  Ideas and insights I had dug out,  by myself in my tree house monastery,  were confirmed.  The concepts of cause and effect, karma (you earn and learn from your mistakes, rather than being punished and damned), and rebirth mesmerized and enthralled me, propelling me to devote myself to in-depth study for the next half century.  Another great book I studied later and recommend is,  The World's Living Religions by Robert Hume.

    In 1959-1961, through studying  The Fundamentals of Yoga, by Rammurti S. Mishara, M.D., 1959,  I was able to delve deeply into pre-Buddhist thought and the science of Yoga.  It described karma in more detail , and the individual consciousness as part of the universal consciousness.   I mention this book, which I still have, because it brought me a great epiphany.    I read the words from the Bible, "In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God (the Absolute),  and the Word was God."  This is not the place to explain what hit me, It will take an entire chapter in my book.  But in Yogic philosophy from the Vedanta, we are all made up of vibratory waves of various densities.  The word "Word" means a spoken sound, a sound is a vibration, we are all part of the Absolute in various degrees.  As ice becomes water, water becomes mist, mist becomes clouds, clouds are humidity, but it is all the same essence.  Jesus said "God is Spirit, " and if we are created in God's image (Spirit), then we are all spiritual beings eternally connected.  

    For the next fifty years, I would relentlessly study.  I was introduced to Zen through D.T. Suzuki.  I read The Zen Way (Do) by Alan Watts and later studied with him personally. 
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