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"Is there a philosophical meaning to the Gyokku Ninja Clan Crest?"
"What importance do the Gyokku ninja give the Clan Crest?"
...First, let us discuss how symbols such as Crests, Banners and Seals were used in ancient times...
In ancient times, in many countries across the world, the 'Crest' of a Clan or 'House' was a bronze carving that represented the authority of the Clan's Masters.
ONE CARRYING THE CREST COULD SPEAK IN THE NAME OF THE CLAN.
This symbolism was also used in banners. In battle, a banner actually stood for a house, for its survival.
However, you must understand that a banner was almost never used by the ninja except in special cases.
In special cases, such as a surprise attack upon a core village of the ninja, a banner might be used as a 'rallying point' - in a difficult battle, all warriors would rally around the banner, there to be forged into an effective fighting unit by any leader who also reached the banner. Or a leader might raise a banner to give all active combatants some point to rally around, to become an effective fighting force.
I emphasize again that this sort of rallying was actually against ninja combat philosophy and tactics, and would only be used in a 'fight-to-the-death' situation, perhaps one in which children had to be protected. As a general rule, the ninja were adverse to such 'glorious banner combat' - the normal strategy for ninja under attack by a superior force being to melt into the surrounding forest and head for a pre-arranged rallying-point deep in the forest, sacrificing the village itself if it were indefensible.
Later, the regrouped ninja would harry the attacker's forces as they marched homeward, killing sentries and poisoning the food and water of their animals, exacting as high a cost from the attacker's army in the course of its march as the loss of their village demanded.
The design for the Crest was sometimes rendered in the form of a Seal.
The Seal was a mould used to emboss the wax that sealed important messages. A variation could also be used to put an imprint on a message.
Either method meant that the authority of the masters of the Clan was behind the message, and that it came from them.
THESE WERE THE USES OF THE CREST.
...THIS LESSON CONTINUES AFTER THE MESSAGE BELOW...
There are two Crests that represent the Gyokku Ninja Clan - one is the ancient Crest, and one is the modern one. We shall first describe and discuss the meaning of the ancient Crest.
This Crest is about a millennia old. To the left, you can see the characters for 'Gyokku', upon a lamp of the dojo. To the right, is the old 'Jeweled Tiger' clan seal, forged in bronze. It is set upon a horned banner, which you can see behind and to one side of the master in the image below.
The 'jewel' or 'sphere' represents the universe of knowledge that a ninja dedicates himself or herself to master.
The tiger represents the fact that while a ninja is a student of enlightenment, he or she is quite capable of equalling the almost-legendary combat capability of a tiger if threatened.
The Clan today seeks to perfect each member to the highest extent, mind, body and spirit, and to have both the members of the Clan and the Clan itself always engage in 'right action' - doing the right thing at the right moment in time, to best benefit all of humanity, as well as the world at large.
The ninja today is a highly responsible and extremely intelligent citizen of planet Earth, and as such, requires a more significant and meaningful Crest to represent the Clan.
These days the Clan uses a crest that has more significance.
The modern Crest signifies the complexity of the inner universe within each person. It represents the light and the dark within our natures, and the ability of our minds to transcend the beasts within ourselves.
The ninja do not believe in 'good' or 'evil', but rather in analysing a situation and then taking the action 'most right' for that situation. The Clan Crest, therefore, represents that a ninja is capable of sensing the very flows of harmony of the universe around him, and then of taking that action that will result in the most good for the most number.
THERE ARE NINE STARS IN THE CLAN CREST - THESE SIGNIFY THE KUJI KIRI, THE MYSTICAL SIGNS AND MEDITATIONS THAT ALLOW A NINJA TO LOOK BEYOND MAYA.
Maya is the web of society and indeed even the physical laws of the universe that hold us 'in a box'.
A ninja meditates to break these bonds, to see the universe as it truly is, to merge past and present and future into one unity where one can understand the course of the universe and the course of humanity on this planet.
Breaking through Maya allows the ninja to see all the possible futures that could occur, and from these, to select the best possible future.
THIS... HARMONY WITH ALL LIVING THINGS, AND INDEED, WITH THE UNIVERSE ITSELF, IS WHAT THE MODERN CLAN CREST REPRESENTS.
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