In the Bujinkan (Ninjutsu) Dojo we say "Shikin Haramitsu Daikomyo" at the beginning and end of each training session.
The word SHIKIN has four dimensions. The first dimension is a merciful heart, expressing love for everything. Second is a sincere heart to follow what is right. Third is a attuned heart in tune with the natural order (balance). Last is a dedicated heart, dedicated to a chosen path.
HARAMITSU is the combination of these four elements and means great wisdom.
Only from great wisdom and a pure heart can one obtain true enlightenment, DAIKOMYO, the goal of all great people. The enlightened person emits a powerful aura that transcends ignorance and shines forever. There is a warrior verse that goes, "Chihayafuru kami no oshie wa tokoshie ni tadashiki kokoro mo mamoruran." Translated it means, if one does not have a pure heart, heaven will never permit pleasurable times.
The Japanese character for NIN consists of two parts or radicals. The upper radical is called yaiba which refers to the cutting edge of a blade. The lower radical can be read either as kokoro or shin, both of which mean heart.
The character NIN is also used to write NINTAI, which means perseverance or patience, implying the important thing for a ninja is to be patient under impossible circumstances and persevere when he/she cannot find a way to succeed on a mission. This form of thinking, the spirit of perseverance, is called BUDO SEISHIN. If one receives an insult from another, one must be able to endure it without holding a grudge and then discard such feelings as anger and jealousy.
The essence of NINPO is a pure heart. If a warrior pursues the wrong course using trickery or plots, his heart cannot be pure, and his judgement will always be misguided, never permitting an honest course of action. He will fail.
The verse that is said at the beginning and close of each training session derives from the pre-8th Century Japanese Buddhist Prayer. It roughly translates as "may the light in our heart bring the awareness of harmony perceived by spiritual awakening, and bring sincerity, loyalty and faithfulness in what we are achieving."
SHIKIN refers to these words as a physical entity and a greeting to the sensation and the harmony perceived by the heart. Shikin also produces the great wisdom from the four hearts: Merciful Heart - expressing love for everything, Sincere Heart - to follow what is right, Attuned Heart - to follow the natural order of things and Dedicated Heart - for the chosen pursuit.
HARAMITSU refers to the spiritual awakening being achieved and acts as the boundary between life and death; the line on which the ninja used to stand. Haramitsu also nurtures sincerity, loyalty and faithfulness towards a common cause. It also helps to attain freedom from bearing grudges, pain, jealousy, and builds the relationship with the student and the world outside the student.
DAIKOMYO refers to the bright energy bringing respect and reliance to yourself. It is the bright light of life showing the student the way in times of darkness, and is depicted by the candle lighting during the prayer. Daikomyo can also be experienced as the light of your heart on the physical plane.
When asked for a simple explanation of Shikin Haramitsu Daikomyo, Dr. Masaaki Hatsumi, Soke explained the meaning "Let the training be safe and enjoyable" so if a student feels that for their own preference that it is easier to say "amen" or "shalom" etc, then this is just as appropriate, so long as it comes from the heart. Shikin Haramitsu Daikomyo is used by most Dojo around the world in a traditional way. After all, the art that we study is known as the Art of Distance, not because of the space we fight in, but because of the thousand years (historical distance) students have kept alive the traditions of the ninja.