(97): Unintended Image Connotations, Or Meditation Chamber…OF DOOM!

Image from Gavin Bloys on Flickr (Screenshot). License.

I was searching for a calm image that depicted pranayama (yogic breath work) for this post I was working on, and I found a few. The one I ended up using has nothing to do with THIS post, but one of the images I did not choose to grace that post ties in with my point in today’s post.

Sometimes an image can have a quiet, calm feel and yet remind some people of raucous noise, action and carnage. Not particularly yogic, is it? Such was the effect of the image below:

Just a shadow on a bamboo curtain. Image by Athens Yoga by Maja Zilih via Flickr. License.

The shadow on the bamboo blinds reminded me of the image at the top of this post, which happens to be from a classic 1966 Japanese samurai flick called “Sword of Doom.” This movie is known for having one of the highest body counts in the obligatory one-against-all confrontation at the end of the film. It is an extremely violent film set in the violent days just before the Meiji Restoration of 1868. Tatsuya Nakadai (a chambara god, BTW) plays Ryunosuke Tsukue, an assassin for the Shinsengumi, a group of “peacekeepers” who police the streets of Kyoto for the Shogun. Lots of killing, lots of intrigue, and lots of noise. The scene in the bamboo-curtained room is merely a warmup to carnage.

So, when I saw a shadow on a bamboo curtain, I didn’t think of a meditative yoga breathing practice; I thought of this:

Screen capture…Of DOOM!

I’m sure I must be the only one for whom this image arises, right? How can a peaceful yogi who practices slow breathing meditation be into super-violent Japanese samurai swordfighting movies? Life’s funny, ain’t it? Oh yeah, I should warn you, if you suddenly feel moved to find and watch this classic 1966 film: it has a maddening ending that is very abrupt. That’s because it was supposed to be a trilogy. But only one of the three films was made. So be warned.

If you’re really, really interested (yeah, I know, not many people will be, right?), you can watch two other versions of the full trilogy tale of this story (the original title for it is Daibosatsu Toge, or The Great Buddha Pass, after the place the story opens). You’ll probably have to go to a specialty online store like samuraidvd.com. One of the trilogies is known as the “Satan’s Sword” trilogy, and stars Raizo Ichikawa, the “Sleepy Eyes of Death” guy. OK, I think my nerd slip is starting to show. I figure you can take it from here! Thanks for reading!