Jan 182012

Miyamoto Musashi, a samurai from the 1500s is credited with being the greatest swordsman of all time. His well known book on strategy “The Book of Five Rings” has been read by martial artists and supposedly (I don’t buy that dispite what I see at Barnes and Noble) businessmen, for years. A lesser known works was the Dokkodo, or the Path of Aloneness (which my spell checker claims is not a word) which he wrote at the same time, that odd end part of his life where he lived in a cave. There were twenty precepts, and I thought I would take a look at them

More after the break

Musashi might have been the greatest swordsmaster, but that doesn’t stop him from being a hypocrite. Or at the very least a “do what I say not what I do” kind of teacher.

  1. Accept everything just the way it is.

    Musashi spent his life wondering from place to place challenging other swordsman and schools to duels just to prove that he was better. Not very accepting. This is also the man who wouldn’t take a bath for years for fear that someone was going to attack him while he was bathing. He finally started bathing again, but never without a wooden sword in the tub with him! (true story)

  2. Do not seek pleasure for its own sake.

    That part is true. Musashi had a long time girl friend that he never really spent time with because he was too obsessed with training.

  3. Do not, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling.

    I would totally mock this one, if I understood what it meant…or why.

  4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.

    Yeah, Musashi had a low option of himself. That’s why he would come to your school and collect your sign.

  5. Be detached from desire your whole life long.

    Apparently every desire except Martial arts.

  6. Do not regret what you have done.

    Yeah, because guilt sucks. And feeling guilty when you’ve done something wrong really sucks.

  7. Never be jealous.


  8. Never let yourself be saddened by a separation.

    Especially if it is the separation of your head from your body.

  9. Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself nor others.

    In other words, quit your whining!

  10. Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love.

    Ah Musashi, not a fan of the ladies I see.

  11. In all things have no preferences.

    As long as it is martial arts.

  12. Be indifferent to where you live.

    Such as a cave.

  13. Do not pursue the taste of good food.

    Which is a good thing because it usually goes along with having a wife, and we see how that went for him.

  14. Do not hold on to possessions you no longer need.

    Unless that are your swords.

  15. Do not act following customary beliefs.

    Like bathing, girlfriends…employment…

  16. Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful.

    I am calling him on BS, this coming from a man who did nothing else…on the other hand, I guess he looked around and realized sheer awesomeness didn’t change the fact that he was living alone in a cave.

  17. Do not fear death.

  18. Do not seek to possess either goods or fiefs for your old age.

    Yeah, who wants to have something to live on, not when you have good old fashion caves to retire to!

  19. Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help.

    Please refer to rule 15 dude.

  20. You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honour.

  21. Never stray from the Way.

To be honest, pretty good list. Its alot easier to read then the book of five rings, and it is cool to see what a martial arts master thinks is important after years to reflect.


 Posted by at 7:21 am

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