The Kendo Nagasaki Foundation FAQ’s
1. What can Zen offer me?
Zen, a school of Buddhism, is a remarkable system for living; it’s not an exaggeration to say that it can give you everything you need to enhance your life, however specific your own attitude towards life is. If you have found that everything you already have in life is still not quite enough to grant you peace of mind, then you should look at Zen, and The Kendo Nagasaki Foundation can give you a truly open, comprehensive, de-mystified, and reasoned introduction.
2. I’m an atheist, but I still feel that there’s more to life – can you shed any light on my needs?
Yes! Definitely, yes, we can help you. Firstly, please understand that Buddhism does not require belief in anything supernatural, nor any gods, or heaven and hell, or anything that you cannot rationalise. What The Kendo Nagasaki Foundation has to show you is a system for living a better, more enlightened, and self-empowered life, all using Buddhist understandings and practises.
3. Would I have to do chanting and praying?
No, not if you don’t want to – practising Zen does not require these activities, but before you take an absolute position on such things, you should come to The Retreat and listen to a seminar on how they work – you might be both surprised and interested, and you might even want to try them!
4. I’m just not a religious person – what can you offer me?
That’s a great question! Firstly, it might be better to think of what The Kendo Nagasaki Foundation has to offer as not being “religious”, but instead an enlightened and empowering system for living, built primarily upon reason. When our own minds and experiences have taken us as far as we can go, studying the reflections of the profound and influential thinkers from history (classical philosophy) is a great way to extend the scope of our own reasoning, and, for the best way to live, the thoughts of Siddartha Gautama (also known as Buddha) are the best. In the 2,500 years since Buddha’s birth, his wisdom has come to be expressed in many ways, and The Kendo Nagasaki Foundation presents several of those ways in order to help someone looking for more from life find the best way forward.
5. I can’t get my head around the fact that Kendo Nagasaki is supposed to be a Buddhist. Is this for real?
Most certainly, this is for real. Before going any further, remember that all the samurai of ancient Japan were Buddhists, and Buddhism was an extremely important part of their strength, focus, and success as warriors. Buddhism can give you a vast range of qualities, including success, which is strongly encouraged! The more successful you are, the better a Buddhist you can be, and this is exactly what Kendo Nagasaki is doing now, sharing the empowerment he has gained from Buddhism with everyone who is looking for more from life.
6. I’m certainly looking for more from life, and I respect Kendo Nagasaki’s success, but isn’t all this just mumbo-jumbo?
The fact that established religions are old makes them easy to dismiss in today’s clever and busy world, but wouldn’t it be foolish to reject wisdom that was timeless, and therefore ageless? There are such truths, but they’re difficult to find if you’re a) not looking for them, and b) wouldn’t look for anything old anyway! It’s worth remembering that even in the absence of all of today’s science, there have been a great many brilliant and inspired people throughout history, and the fruits of their contemplations are always worth considering, yet the astonishing advance of technology over the last 100 years or so has drowned-out such wisdom. An example of this is meditation – this truly ancient technique lowers stress-hormones and leads to improved health all-round, enhanced creativity, improved performance in most areas of life, better ability to cope with stress, and more pro-social behaviour, yet wouldn’t most people rather watch television than meditate? There is most certainly room for both, but such a balance is rare these days. Consider this: the practice of placing outright reliance on the trends and understandings of the here-and-now is by no means new – psychology calls it “Presentism” – and history shows that those who have practised it have not done as well as those who kept their minds open and their humility towards other forms of wisdom alive. It has never been easy to navigate life successfully, which is why “pearls of wisdom” from the truly wise and thoughtful were immortalised to help the people of their own and future generations, and it is towards those of the Buddha that Kendo Nagasaki would recommend that we look; they have worked astonishingly well for him over many lifetimes, and he wishes us that same empowerment through enlightenment. Please come to The Retreat and explore historical wisdom a little more!
7. What will it cost me to come to a Kendo Nagasaki Foundation event?
There is no charge for attending an event at Kendo’s Retreat, but we would welcome any donation you would care to make. When you are here, there will always be plenty of tea and coffee, and at least one main meal for non-residential one-day events, and we would appreciate it if you would help with covering the costs of food and running the Foundation. We hope that you will leave well-nourished on many levels!
8. I am a Christian, and I wouldn’t be interested in anything that challenges my faith. Can you still help me?
We would never question or undermine anyone’s beliefs, nor try to convince them to believe anything else. Your faith is important to you and we respect that, and, as a matter of fact, everyone here at The Kendo Nagasaki Foundation grew up as Christians, and none of us have renounced anything. No aspect of Buddhism, particularly Zen, challenges Christianity – Buddha was not a God or a prophet – he was a mortal man who developed a moral and rational system for living, and it’s these ideas that we use to help ourselves and other to live better lives, whatever their faith. The practices at the core of the Foundation’s work are mindfulness, which helps everyone and challenges nothing, and meditation, which is a hugely valuable tool for relaxation, again, without challenging any beliefs. If you come to the Foundation, you will discover these helpful techniques in a beautiful and relaxing environment, and we are please to say that our feedback shows how much our guests have been helped, without ever challenging their faith. If you would like to know more about this or any subject, we’d be happy to help, so please send an email to firstname.lastname@example.org.
9. Is Kendo Nagasaki a Cult?
Rather than just answering “no” to this question, we’d like to explain precisely why Kendo Nagasaki is definitely not a cult.
Ever since the 1960s, there have been numerous high-profile cases where organisations which claim to be able to provide healing or help with faith or meditation have ultimately proved to be harmful or grasping, so it is not unreasonable to ask this question when there is a charismatic central figure to an organisation, particularly one which is in any way ‘mystical’.
Being deeply mysterious and always a ‘winner’, Kendo Nagasaki is certainly charismatic, and he claims to have been involved in ‘healing’ since the 1970s. Now he runs a ‘Retreat’ for guests to come to meditate, to experience ‘singing bowl healing’ and to discover ‘Zen’ – doesn’t all this set alarm bells ringing? Frankly, it should, but a little clarification should help you to recognise cults and how to avoid them, and also understand why this doesn’t apply to Kendo Nagasaki.
Cults rely upon their central charismatic figures to draw people to them – these figures usually exhibit desirable characteristics, which they claim they can pass on to you, such as ‘peace of mind’, ‘confidence’, ‘strength’, ‘success’, and even ‘wealth’, and someone with all these characteristics is certainly going to be charismatic!
To be fair, it’s entirely possible that charismatic figures may have something to share about qualities which can help us in our relationships and in working with others – after all, training is available in interview technique, public-speaking, leadership in a management context, and many more fields, all of which will make us seem more personable, confident, and successful, and which may well lead to increased success. Even such legitimate instruction is usually delivered by charismatic trainers.
It’s also entirely possible that a charismatic figure can share helpful perspectives on relaxation and meditation, and even reflections on religious and philosophical matters; if they have benefited from meditation or philosophy and are offering to share their insights, then that may be a valuable opportunity, not to be missed.
It’s what charismatic figures ask for in return that needs careful scrutiny, and this is what may betray cult behaviour. If you find that you are being asked for money, a percentage of your income, ‘donations’, ‘gifts’, ‘grants’, or financial ‘aid’ of any sort, then you may be dealing with a cult. Apart from set fees for an event, to cover costs like food, staffing, or accommodation, it’s wise to question any other requests for money.
Something else to watch out for is if you are asked to behave in an unusual or anti-social way. Cults commonly suggest that families are a problem, sometimes even the source of ‘abuse’, and should be abandoned. Separating someone from the ‘voices of reason’ which family members provide is a way of increasing control over them, and any such suggestion is to be regarded with great suspicion. The same caution should apply to any mention that any other society or group is to be regarded as ‘alien’, ‘different’ or separate from ourselves – this is discrimination, and it is to be rejected outright, as is any suggestion that you should compromise yourself in any way.
All the foregoing comes under the heading of “Undue Influence”, and if any of these or anything similar crops up in your dealings with a ‘charismatic individual’ or their organisation, then you may be involved with a cult, and you should take great care and seek the advice of friends and family.
Referring to all the foregoing, Kendo Nagasaki is indeed a charismatic individual, and he does offer to share the basis of his strength and success, but at the core of everything to do with Kendo Nagasaki is a completely benign and universally-beneficial system: Zen Buddhism. All Kendo’s techniques and practises lead to relaxation, de-stressing, and mindfulness, and it is inner peace which he cites as the source of strength and confidence – he describes it as “The Peace at the Heart of the Warrior”. Even his references to the samurai quote the root of this Japanese word, which is “to serve”; in Kendo’s case, he asks everyone to serve the higher ideal of enlightenment through meditation, as he does.
Kendo has never asked anyone for money, and he never would. He has occasionally charged very small fees to cover costs at his events, but he makes no profit from them, and the activities of his organisation are supported with the sale of merchandise.
Finally, it is true that The Kendo Nagasaki Foundation does ask for donations to support its de-stressing and self-empowerment work, but this is because it is a registered charity – the absolute opposite of a cult (Charity Number 1161005). Charities survive on donations in order to continue providing a demonstrable public benefit, which the testimonials of guests at the Nagasaki Retreat comprehensively support.
In conclusion, The Kendo Nagasaki Foundation is an example of how well a charismatic individual can run a self-help organisation – with absolute propriety, and none of the disreputable tactics of cults. We are entirely open to any and all enquiries into how we operate, and we hope to help you achieve peace of mind, confidence, and focus in every aspect of your life, not only because it’s the right thing to do, but because we also believe that a life lived right is mindful of the law of cause-and-effect: harm others and you harm yourself, help others and you help yourself.
Kendo Nagasaki is therefore an example of the right kind of charisma – the kind that represents only positive things, that can withstand any scrutiny, that is a fine example of calmness, strength, generosity, and working to better ourselves and the world around us; as we hope we’ve made clear, this is not the behaviour of a cult.
If you have any questions that are not covered here, please drop us a line at email@example.com
- you might even see your question in this list!
We’re looking forward to seeing you at The Retreat!