Chozanshi was a swordsman with a deep understanding of Taoism, Buddhism, Confucianism and Shinto. "The Demon's Sermon" is a masterful syncretic treatment of these philosophies and religions, bringing their central meanings to bear on the essence of the martial arts. The demon delivering the sermon is the long-nosed half-man, half-bird Tengu, a terrifying but not necessarily malevolent figure who inhabits the recesses of Mount Kurama. Opening this volume is a selection of short, humorous tales from Chozanshi's "The Hayseed Taoist" ("Inaka Soshi"). The stories are lessons about spontaneity and non-attachment, and prime the reader philosophically for 'The Demon'. The final section is a translation of "The Mysterious Technique of the Cat" ("Neko no Myojutsu"), also from "The Hayseed Taoist" and a traditional favourite of the martial artists of Japan. The section summarises the entire work and adroitly illustrates Lao Tzu's dictum that "The master acts, relying on nothing."
William Scott Wilson is the author of The Lone Samurai and translator of such Japanese classics as Hagakure, The Book of Five Rings and The Unfettered Mind.