SEAMI -- NINE STAGES OF THE NOH
The Noh master Seami (1363-1443) codified the aesthetics of Noh drama as the pursuit of learning to be an actor.* The cultured samurai of 16th century Japan found Seami's system useful for personal reflection as well. Seami charaterized three stages of learning how to realize oneself. One does not, however, start at the bottom, rather one begins in the MIDDLE [studying what is known], proceeding HIGHER [to become a professional], then [working on-stage before the public] to master the LOWER stages most related to life itself. Employing the language below, one might say Finding the Way of ways is the beginning; achieving the flower of the miraculous is the emblem of the master; while communicating with the art of strength and delicacy is the ultimate goal.
So it would have been for Tosa Jinan, a young man from 16th century Japan, sent to find his way in a foreign world.
THE HIGHER THREE STAGES
THE MIDDLE THREE STAGES
THE LOWER THREE STAGES
* Sources of Japanese Tradition vol 1:286-297, Introduction to Oriental Civilation Series, Wm. Theodore De Bary, Tsunoda, et.al., Columbia University Press