Chozanshi was a swordsman with a deep understanding of Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Shinto. The Demon's Sermon is a masterful syncretic treatment of these philosophies and religions, bringing their central meanings to bear on the essence of the martial arts. The demon delivering the sermon is the long-sed half-man, half-bird Tengu, a terrifying but t necessarily malevolent figure who inhabits the recesses of Mount Kurama. Opening this volume is a selection of short, humorous tales from Chozanshi's The Hayseed Taoist ( Inaka Soshi ). The stories are lessons about spontaneity and n-attachment, and prime the reader philosophically for 'The Demon'. The final section is a translation of The Mysterious Technique of the Cat ( Neko Myojutsu ), also from The Hayseed Taoist and a traditional favourite of the martial artists of Japan. The section summarises the entire work and adroitly illustrates Lao Tzu's dictum that The master acts, relying on thing.
William Scott Wilson is the author of The Lone Samurai and translator of such Japanese classics as Hagakure, The Book of Five Rings and The Unfettered Mind.