Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, there are still two cups at my table.

Ten thousand flowers in spring, the moon in autumn, a cool breeze in summer, snow in winter. If your mind isn't clouded by unnecessary things, this is the best season of your life.

~ Wu-men ~

Thursday, October 25, 2018

Miyamoto Mushashi: Maxims

Below is an excerpt from the excellent blog of Sam Yang at Must Triumph. The full post may be read here.

Often it is a warrior like Miyamoto Musashi (c. 1584 – 1645) who is more applicable to the everyday person than a philosopher or monk. It is not that we need a more adversarial viewpoint or that Musashi gives us better insight than German philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein or Taoist poet Chuang Tzu. Warriorship is philosophy delivered through a code of living—which is much easier to implement. Especially for a generation that no longer sets aside time for deep thinking, rules work better. Then it is not surprising that we are naturally drawn to the words of the warrior class. They demand we follow their code, whether we understand it or not. But it works better if we spend some time reflecting. After all, quoting Musashi is not the same as thinking like Musashi. This is bunbu ichi, the samurai concept of swordsmanship and intellect in equal accord.

Miyamoto Musashi's 30 Simple Maxims on Living

Spend one day meditating on each of Musashi's maxims and their deeper meaning. Then after 30 days, you'll know more about thinking like a warrior. (And how you come to think of warriorship will be that much different than what you thought of it on day one.)
*Note – Musashi was a lover of poetry, philosophy, and the arts. Fighting and swordsmanship are only metaphors for Musashi. Then pay special attention to what he means, not what he says. He did not write this book for other swordsmen. He wrote it for everyone else.

Day 1

“There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, richer, stronger, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.”

Day 2

“Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help.”

Day 3

“If you wish to control others you must first control yourself.”

Day 4

“Really skillful people never get out of time, and are always deliberate, and never appear busy.”

Day 5

“All things entail rising and falling timing. You must be able to discern this.”

Day 6

“Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men.”

Day 7

“You should not have a favorite weapon. To become over-familiar with one weapon is as much a fault as not knowing it sufficiently well.”

Day 8

“I dislike fixedness in both long swords and hands. Fixedness means a dead hand. Pliability is a living hand.”

Day 9

“You can only fight the way you practice.”

Day 10

“Be detached from desire your whole life long.”

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