Archive for the ‘Musashi’ Tag

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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Heaven and Hell   Leave a comment


A Classic Zen Tale from Japan

There was a great samurai who was traveling the country looking for answers on the nature of the universe.

He went to a famous Zen Buddhist master and asked him; “Please tell me the nature of Heaven and Hell”

The master scowled and replied back, “You stupid samurai, you‘re supposed to be such a “great warrior” how dare you ask me this question. You are such a fool if you do not know the difference, and who do you think you are bothering me with such an inane question. Go away idiot!”

Enraged, the samurai drew his sword and held it above the masters head letting out a war cry as he did. “I’ll kill you for you what you have said”

The Zen master calmly pointed his hand towards the samurai and said, “That, is Hell”

Embarrassed, the regretful samurai sheathed his sword, fell to his knees, bowing profusely and apologized by saying, “I am so sorry master, you have enlightened me. Thank you, thank you, thank you, for your great words. I appreciate you sharing your wisdom with me.

The smiling Zen master tipped his head, opened his arms and said, “And that, is Heaven.”