Nana Korobi Ya Oki
(If you fall down seven times, get up eight times)
(From Kaicho Tadashi Nakamura's book Karate - Technique and Spirit)
This is the most famous expression of Daruma Daishi, who was the first person to come from India and establish Zen in China.
We learn from this expression that no matter how many times you fall down, you must get up one more time. If you fall down one hundred times, you must get up one hundred and one. Sometimes you can get up quickly. Sometimes it is very hard to get up at all. Still, you must struggle and get up. When something unexpected arises in our daily lives, we often feel like giving up right away. We feel that life is over for us, and even if we were to try, we could not make it anyway. However, even when we feel like wanting to continue, if we gather all our spirit and energy, we find that we can, in fact, make it.
We are not perfect. We are only human. We all make mistakes. We have to try to become more mature day by day. We should always try to make tomorrow better than today. However, we should not be so afraid of making a mistake that we become afraid to try. When people become like this, they become too cautious, and they worry too much. Their point of view becomes too narrow.
There are no guarantees in life. You cannot be assured that you will always be safe and comfortable. Sometimes you will fail. However, from failure you can learn a great many things. You learn how to get up again, and you grow from this experience.
Even though we cannot avoid mistakes, we can try to avoid making the same mistake twice. This is a very important point. We must not use our imperfection as an excuse to continue to make the same mistakes. It might happen that you may repeat the same mistake one more time, but that is when you must ask yourself: "Why have I done this again? What is my weakness?"
The most important thing is not to be afraid of failure. Don't give up. You can take your time, but you must always get back up. Sometimes you get up quickly, and sometimes you suffer. However, when it is time, you still have to get up. That is Daruma Daishi's real lesson.