Wisdom of the Warrior Miyamoto Musashi

The wisdom of a warrior is a good starting point for anyone who has chosen to work on themselves, and follow the path of their true self. The legendary Miyamoto Musashi, heralded as Japan’s greatest swordsman and samurai warrior, was also a celebrated writer and artist too, penning key writings on Japanese samurai tactics and philosophy – Go Rin No Sho (The Book of Five Rings), and Dokkōdō (The Way of Walking Alone). 

Born in the Japanese province of Mimasaka in 1584, Miyamoto Musashi trained himself in the art of sword fighting at an early age and at the age of 13, he went on to win his first duel – one of many. He invented the Ni-Ten Ichi Ryu style of fighting with two swords, which is the most instantly recognisable visual features of the samurai.

Dokkōdō, a short text outlining self-discipline, was written the week before Miyamoto Musashi died in 1645 of natural causes. Consisting of 21 precepts, it expresses a way of living that is aligned with one’s self or true self.

Here is the 21 precepts of Dokkōdō:

  1. Accept everything just the way it is.
  2. Do not seek pleasure for its own sake.
  3. Do not, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling.
  4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
  5. Be detached from desire your whole life long.
  6. Do not regret what you have done.
  7. Never be jealous.
  8. Never let yourself be saddened by a separation.
  9. Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself or others.
  10. Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love.
  11. In all things have no preferences.
  12. Be indifferent to where you live.
  13. Do not pursue the taste of good food.
  14. Do not hold on to possessions you no longer need.
  15. Do not act following customary beliefs.
  16. Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful.
  17. Do not fear death.
  18.  Do not seek to possess either goods or fiefs for your old age.
  19. Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help.
  20. You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honour.
  21. Never stray from the Way.

Image Credit: © Takehiko Inoue

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