Three Wise Monkeys

Three Wise Monkeys

Trip to Annapolis

I know the post have been rather scarce lately and I want to apologize for that. I was recently staying in Annapolis, MD and then marched in the 53rd Presidential Inauguration. While I was there I managed to find myself in a lot of good sushi restaurants and this little place called Himalayan Handicrafts. It is a little shop with hundreds of imports from Nepal including gurkha knives. I nearly got a knife as well but knew I couldn’t get it through the Naval Academy’s security.

What I did end up buying was a small statue carved out of what appears to be mahogany. There were three sizes and all the statues looked a little different from each other so I believe they are hand carved. I went with the medium sized one and it has been adorning my desk ever since.

Sanzaru – Three Monkeys

If you have never heard of the three monkeys before, I would believe you have heard of the famous maxim that goes with them, “See no evil, hear no evil, speak no evil.” My statue doesn’t follow that order, but that is irrelevant. This maxim was popularized in the 1600s by a Tosho-gu shrine in Nikko, Japan. There were 8 panels hand carved by Hidari Jingoro using monkeys to depect the life cycle of man. The second panel contains these famous monkeys.

Mizaru – See No Evil

The first of the monkeys is named Mizaru (Don’t See). It is symbolic of the importance of not putting yourself in a situation where you will see evil. It is a simple idea to help remind you how easy it is to get into trouble when you go looking for it. Some evils in the world are unavoidable, but if you don’t go looking for trouble, it will find you less often.

Kikazaru – Hear No Evil

The second monkey is named Kikazaru (Don’t Hear) and it is a reminder of all the bad things you can hear in the world that are best avoided. These could include gossip, plans of crimes, and friends who are bad influences in general.

Iwazaru – Speak No Evil

The final monkey is Iwazuru (Dont Speak). He is the symbol for not spreading gossip, telling lies, being mean or bragging. He is the reminder that you shouldn’t speak evil.

Shizaru – The Fourth Monkey

The final monkey, occasionally depicted is Shizaru (Don’t Act), who is the symbol for not doing evil. Shizaru is normally depicted crossing his arm as a symbol of not using your hands to commit evil such as murder, stealing, or fighting. Not doing evil would apply to any act, regardless of if you use your hands.

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Theodore Kruczek is the founder and head writer of the Okinawan Karate-do Institute. He is a 4th Degree Black Belt in Okinawan Shorin-ryu with more than 14 years of experience. This site was created as his way of both teaching his own Karate and learning about others.

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