Here at the frontier, the leaves fall like rain. Although my neighbors are all barbarians, and you, you are a thousand miles away, 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 ~

Wednesday, November 03, 2021

Reigando Cave and Miyamoto Musashi

Over at Japanese History and Culture, there was an article about the Reigando Cave, where Musashi sequestered himself to write the Book of Five Rings. An excerpt is below. The full post may be read here.

Reigando cave and a translation of the stone block.

When I visited Musashi Miyamoto`s Reigando cave there stands a stone block with writing on it. I could only understand a little of it so I asked my friend Eric Shahan if he had time, to translate it.

He generously translated it and allowed me to write it up on my blog. Thankyou Eric.

Translated this plinth regarding Miyamoto Musashi’s Niten Ichi School. This is in front of Reigando, Spirit Rock Cave, where he ensconced himself while writing the Book of Five Rings (the most translated Japanese book ever?)

The Origins of the Niten Ichi School:Niten Ichi Ryu, The Two Heavens Unified as One School of Sword, is not the two-sword school everyone thinks it is. The sword saint Miyamoto Musashi’s life was a journey. He sought to drift like clouds and flow like water until the end.

In his early thirties he fought martial artists from all the domains of Japan and this continued until he was 51 years old. Historically speaking, we have no idea what happened in that 20 year period other than he continuously travelled back and forth between eastern and western Japan seeking to duel and improve his swordsmanship. In the 17th year of Kanei 1640 he accepted Lord Hosokawa Tadayoshi’s invitation and became an advisor on military affairs to the Hosokawa Domain and moved into Chiba Castle in Higo Domain. At the order of Lord Tadayoshi, Musashi wrote the Thirty-Five Rules of the Sword, which he offered to his patron.Two years later, using the Thirty-five Rules of the Sword as a framework, he wrote the Book of Five Rings while ensconced in Reigando, the Spirit Rock Cave.

On May 12th of the 2nd year of Shoho 1645 he granted The Book of Five Rings to Terao Masanobu. To Terao Nobuyuki (Masanobu’s younger brother) he granted the Thirty-Five Rules and affirmed him as the head instructor and heir to his school. From this point on, with The Book of Five Rings having established the basis of the Niten Ichi School, the family who inherited the role of instructors of the school split into five branches. Despite not spreading beyond the domain, it flourished. However, by the end of the Edo Era only the Noda, Yamao and Santo branches still continued.


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