8. Great Waves

     In the early days of the Meiji1 era there lived a well-known wrestler called O-Nami2, Great Waves. 

    O-Nami was immensely string and knew the art of wrestling. In his private bouts he defeated even his teacher, but he was so bashful that his own pupils threw him. 

    O-Nami felt he should go to a Zen master for help. Haku-Ju3, a wandering teacher, was stopping in a little temple nearby, so O-Nami went to see him and told him of his trouble. 

    "Great Waves is your name," the teacher advised, "so stay in this temple to-night. Imagine that you are those billows. You are no longer a wrestler who is afraid. You are those huge waves sweeping everything before them, swallow all in their path. Do this and you will be the greatest wrestler in the land."  

    The teacher retired. O-Nami sat in meditation trying to imagine himself as waves. He thought of many different things. Then gradually he turned more and more to the feeling of the waves. As the night advanced the waves became larger and larger. They swept away the flowers in their vases. Even the Buddha in the shrine was inundated. Before dawn the temple was nothing but the ebb and flow of an immense sea. 

    In the morning the teacher found O-Nami meditating, a faint smile on his face. He patted the wrestler's shoulder. "Now nothing can disturb you," he said. "You are those waves. You will sweep everything before you." 

    The same day O-Nami entered contests and won. After that, no one in Japan was able to defeat him.


1. Meiji Era 
    An era of Japanese history which extended from October 23, 1868 to July 30, 1912. This era represents the first half of the Empire of Japan, during which period the Japanese people moved from being an isolated feudal society at risk of colonization by European powers to the new paradigm of a modern, industrialized nation state and emergent great power, influenced by Western scientific, technological, philosophical, political, legal, and aesthetic ideas. As a result of such wholesale adoption of radically-different ideas, the changes to Japan were profound, and affected its social structure, internal politics, economy, military, and foreign relations. The period corresponded to the reign of Emperor Meiji. It was preceded by the Keiō era and was succeeded by the Taishō era, upon the accession of Emperor Taishō.

2. O-Nami

Onami (The Great Wave) (2006) - IMDb - https://www.imdb.com/title/tt1479739/

A young wrestler, Onami, learns the art of meditating to help him gain confidence in his life. Based on the Zen Tale, 'The Great Wave.' (Onami means great wave.) directed by Nathan Sterner

3. Haku-Ju

    A wandering teacher.