Tuesday, October 9, 2012

What is Esoterica?

What is meant by "esoteric"?

In my book, Esoteric Principles: The Philosophy of Danzan-Ryū Jūjutsu (2010), my purpose was to plainly illustrate the source "Esoteric Principles of Judo" in the documents of Professor Okazaki and his Danzan-Ryū. This book was a follow-on of my earlier, Mokuroku and Kaidenshō: The Official Documents of Danzan-Ryū Jūjutsu (1996), in which I set out to provide a detailed line-by-line translation of the Kodenkan graduation scroll and special class certificate. My intent in this earlier book was to identify the esoteric principle verses, and this became the majority of the content of the 2010 book. In addition to this, the later book contains other Danzan-Ryū material.

In explaining the concept of esoterica, I wrote: 

The word “esoteric” comes from the Greek, “εσωτερικός” (esōterikós) that literally means “inner”. The connotation of this word is that if something is esoteric, it is held by and understood only by a select inner circle. An esoteric principle is thus a fundamental doctrine or tenet that is held as secret and reserved for only a few.

Throughout history, there have been many examples of this. In the Bible, we read that there a class of clerics who are the only ones permitted into the innermost parts of the temple. They are the high-priests and belong to a special class. They are able to go into the most holy part of the temple and commune directly with God. Outside of the temple, the priests gave the general public the outer, “exoteric” knowledge of their faith.

From this we may infer that these things are hidden from all but the elect. In truth, the secrets may not be readily discerned, but they are in plain sight.

Esoteric Principles may be purchased from:

Mokuroku and Kaidenshō may be purchased from: