Fudoshin is the 'immovable mind', that is, the mind that has met all challenges of life, and has attained a state of complete composure and fearlessness. This state of equanimity is essential in the practice of Zazen and Budo.
Fudoshin represents a peaceful state of total determination and unshakable will. It is the state of a spirit that is determined to win, and that is filled with courage, endurance and determination to surmount every obstacle that comes in its way. Fudoshin is associated with a feeling of invincibility, of a mind that cannot be disturbed by confusion, hesitation, doubt, or fear.
In Feudal Japan, Fudoshin was manifested in the Samurai's unquestionable demonstration of courage, and determination to face difficulty, danger, pain, and even death, without fear. As the great Japanese swordsman, Tsukahara Bokuden said: "Mental calmness, not skill, is the sign of a matured samurai".
From a Western viewpoint, the concept of a Warrior (Samurai, Bushi) without anger or rage, a peaceful warrior, can be quite difficult to understand and accept. Being exceedingly dualistic, we can hardly reconcile the ideas of violence and a peaceful and calm mind, but this state of mind was the essence of the Samurai and is today the essence of martial arts like kendo, judo, karate or aikido.
In our daily life, Fudoshin is the protection against the "shikai" or four sicknesses of the mind: anger, doubt, fear and surprise.
In our daily life, Fudoshin is the protection against the "Shikai" or four sicknesses of the mind: anger, doubt, fear and surprise. Through the rigorous practice of Zazen, the students learn implicitly to center themselves and clear their mind thus developing a Fudoshin mind.
In this era of random acts of violence, road rage, domestic violence and other losses of self-control, it is not hard to see how development of fudoshin can make everyone's life better.
If you're seeking to explore Zen or Buddhism more deeply, here is a list of my favourite Buddhist books that you can use to learn more about this ancient tradition.