In feudal Japan a peasant was digging a stump from a field. He flung a shovelful of dirt over his shoulder, and by chance it struck a passing samurai. The peasant grovelled before the warrior and begged forgiveness, but the samurai said, “Since you fancy yourself worthy of striking me, you shall have your chance again tomorrow. Here is an old sword. Meet me on this spot at dawn. Do not try to flee.”
The poor peasant had never even held a sword before, but what could he do? He sought the advice of a wise old man who lived not far from his hut. The old man told him, “You must accept and know for certain that the samurai will kill you tomorrow. Don’t bother to practice. Stand with the sword and meditate upon the simple inevitable fact of your death. Then you will be ready.”
The peasant did not understand, but having no better ideas he did as he was bid. He walked out onto the road where the samurai would pass, held the sword before him with both hands, and closed his eyes. He relived each moment of his life as it had really been, its joys and sorrows, its squalor, and when his recollection reached the present he proceeded uncertainly into an exploration of his imminent death. At first he quailed before a vision of darkness, and we who are still alive can not hope to know how at last, shortly before dawn, he understood and knew his death for what it was.
The samurai arrived and, seeing the peasant, dismounted. He drew his own sword and stepped in front of the poor man. And they stood motionless, facing each other, for a full hour.
Finally the samurai sheathed his sword and said, “I could kill you with one strike, but I know you would also kill me. I could not find a way around your acceptance of death. You are a great warrior.” And he bowed and rode away.
That acceptance of death, and the reality of mortal life o Earth, is called suki.
I used to know a stripper in Dallas named Suki, but she spelled it differently.