The Way to be Followed Alone   3 comments

The Greatest Samurai circa 1645

Of the many things that can be learned from the martial arts perhaps the most poignant are the philosophies of some of these warriors.  These men were faced with a constant struggle with death always looming in the background.  The coping mechanisms they used can be an inspiration for us all to make peace within ourselves.

One of my favorite warriors of the ancient world,  Miyamoto Musashi was the greatest samurai and author of the classic book “The Book of Five Rings”  Musashi had a long career that included winning over eighty sword duels with other adepts. Later in his life, he turned to meditating and Zen studies. In his last days, in the year 1645, he sat down and penned this short list of precepts.
A few days later he died…..Leaving this profound list of guiding principles known as “Dokkodo” “The Path of Aloneness”

1.  Do not stubbornly rebel against the ways of the world.
2.  Do not seek pleasure for its own sake.
3.  Do not rely upon any half-hearted feelings.
4.  Think lightly of yourself and think deeply of the world.
5.  Remain detached from desire.
6.  Do not regret what you have done.
7.  Never be jealous of others.
8.  Never let yourself be saddened by a separation.
9.  Abandon resentment and complaint.
10. Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of love or lust.
11. Disregard your personal preferences.
12. Accept your dwelling and living conditions.
13. Do not pursue the taste of good food.
14. Do not hoard ancient treasures intended for future generations.
15. Do not mindlessly follow the ways of the world.
16. Do not become obsessed with weapons or fighting.
17. Do not run from death.
18. Do not accumulate goods and riches for your old age.
19. Respect the gods, without relying on their help.
20. You can abandon your own body, but never let go of your honor.
21. Never depart from the way of strategy.

These ideals are presented by Musashi to encourage us all to cultivate the only thing of this world that lives on after we leave it….Character

Posted March 23, 2010 by The Maui Taoist in Buddhist, Philosophy

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3 responses to “The Way to be Followed Alone

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  1. What does #1 mean?

    • My interpretation of #1 would be:
      Stubbornly rebelling is not a good way to live. ie. if you want to be rebellious that may be appropriate at a certain point in time, also being stubborn should not be confused with being principled. Rebelling in a way that is effective is smart, change your strategy if you can not prevail. Keep to your principles but do not fail because you stubbornly couldn’t figure out a more effective strategy.

      Also, often times it is foolhardy to push an issue, and some times using surrender as a strategy is a possibility for a chance to regroup in the future as in the old sayings “discretion is the better part of valor” and “run away and live to fight another day”

  2. My interpretation of #1 would be:
    Stubbornly rebelling is not a good way to live. ie. if you want to be rebellious that may be appropriate at a certain point in time, also being stubborn should not be confused with being principled. Rebelling in a way that is effective is smart, change your strategy if you can not prevail. Keep to your principles but do not fail because you stubbornly couldn’t figure out a more effective strategy.

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