In numerous martial arts, the command mokuso(黙想) is used to get students to clear their minds before training. Many many people (often very high level people) think that this literally means close your eyes.

Nevertheless, analysis of the two kanji involved will clearly show that the translation is more like "silent contemplation".

I can understand the confusion about the moku part because 目(eye) has a go-on reading of moku, just like 黙(silent/still). However, I didn't know that "so" could ever mean "to close". So, is it possible for mokuso to actually mean "close your eyes" in another context?

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    So, is it possible for mokuso to actually mean "close your eyes" in another context?  →  I don't think so. – HizHa Oct 12 '16 at 2:15

I think 想 and そう don't have the meaning of "to close". And when we do 黙想, we actually close our eyes but 黙想 isn't to close one's eyes. So we don't use 黙想 as the meaning of "close your eyes".

黙想 means "To look at inside yourself with your eyes closed". And I think 黙想 before and after the practice of martial arts is mainly done to get the mood ready for the practice and calm the excited mood.

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    I believe the question was whether a kanji that has the reading ソウ and has the meaning 'to close', exists – oals Oct 11 '16 at 18:35
  • If this question means what you say, I can't find it. – Yuuichi Tam Oct 12 '16 at 4:36
  • The last two sentences are where that's most clear. Expressing it in hiragana like oals did was probably a better idea. – A Greene Oct 12 '16 at 7:46
  • 黙想 means "To look at inside yourself with your eyes closed".... This point is of interest to me. You understand keeping your eyes closed as a necessary part of mokuso? However, I know kendo clubs that actively discourage this and say your eyes should be partially open during mokuso. I see from your profile that you are interested in budo, so I assume you are probably a member of a club that does indeed insist on keeping your eyes closed for the practice of mokuso. So, are the kendo clubs that insist on keeping your eyes partially open wrong about this? – A Greene Oct 12 '16 at 10:39
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    I read your link. I think what the sensei said is just only his thought. We usually do 黙想 with close our eyes. – Yuuichi Tam Oct 12 '16 at 11:16

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