Miyamoto Musashi also was known as Shinmen Takezō, Miyamoto Bennosuke or, by his Buddhist name, Niten Dōraku was the great swordsman Ronin. He was the double-bladed warrior and he was undefeated in 60 duels.
Miyamoto Musashi, a Japanese Buddhist was born in 1584 and he left 20 rules that we must follow in order to be happy and to live a fulfilled life. His teachings are so inspirational that they are still studied today.
Few weeks before Musashi died he wrote the list of the main rules he lived by gathered in this short work called “The Way of Walking Alone”.
You can also check out The Book of Five Rings by Kenji Tokitsu:
Kenji Tokitsu has spent most of his life researching the legendary samurai swordsman and his works, and in this book, he illuminates this seminal text, along with several other works by Musashi. These include “The Mirror of the Way of Strategy,” which Musashi wrote when he was in his twenties; “Thirty-five Instructions on Strategy,” and “Forty-two Instructions on Strategy,” which were precursors to The Book of Five Rings; and “The Way to Be Followed Alone,”
1. You should accept life As It comes
Your life will have some good and very bad moments and You have to know how to deal with it. Accepting the good and the bad in your life will just make you stronger and will preserve your mental health.
2. Stop chasing obsession to achieve pleasure
You have to live in a moment and enjoy it when it comes naturally rather then seek for pleasures all the time.
3. Acting on an impulsive emotion is wrong
Popular belief is that we should always follow our heart. Musashi’s teaching is different than that. He thinks that if we follow only our heart we will make many bad desicions. He advices us to stick to our knowledge, use our mind and don’t act on our impulsive emotions.
4. Do not obsess over yourself
Self-obsession today is expressed more than ever before. Looks like everyone is searching for perfection. Celebrities are becoming our way way of life and it’s all wrong and we forget what is important in our lives. Once you set yourself and your ego aside you will know what is important.
5. Jealousy should never rule your life
Always be thankful for what you have. If you allow jealousy to control your life you would be ruined.
6. Avoid attachment to desire
The more we have, the more we desire. Be happy with what you have and let good things naturally comes to you.
7. Never live in regret
Everything that happens, happens for a reason. and it’s all part of your life. The life you should accept as it is. No matter how much time you spend dwelling on a things you did you will never be able to change them so, don’t waste your time on regrets.
8. Don’t dwell on a sad separation
Thinking about sad separation is preventing you to move on with your life. Drowning yourself in sorrow when someone dies won’t bring them back. Move on with your life as it’s the only good thing you can do.
9. Never complain in your life
We all complain when things goes wrong. Musashi’s advice is to leave our problems where they are, in the past, so our past doesn’t trap us.
10. Don’t let lust control your life
We are sexual beings and that’s why we spend so much time on lustful thoughts. What Musashi thinks is that we should strive to find good lasting relationship based on love and not on sex.
11. Keep your options open
Never close the door behind you because “closing the door” might prevent you from prospering. Keeping your options open is always better solution.
12. Don’t be a slave to your surroundings
There are much more important things in life than possessions and luxury. NO material stuff is more important than health and family.
13. Being gluttonous is wrong
According to Musashi, the wise warrior, we shouldn’t take so much pleasure in eating and we need to eat to be filled, not to enjoy.
14. Don’t search for happiness chasing the possessions
Musashi believes that you don’t need possessions to be happy. We should let go of things that no longer serve any purpose.
15. Do not believe something just because someone else thinks so
You should listen to others but always keep an open mind. We shouldn’t blindly obey what they say.
16. Respect the gods, but do not reply solely on their guidance
You should respect the gods but your destiny is in your control. We have to make our own desicions and take our own path.
17. Do not fear death
Thinking about death only stops you from living your life to the fullest and enjoying your life.
18. Do not use weaponry unless it is necessary
Despite bing a great swordsman Musashi’s teaching is that weapons should be used rarely and only when needed. Musashi thinks that only good use of weaponry is when you have to defend your self and never initiate an attack without reason.
19. Do not hold onto things you do not need any more
Something that was important once may not be important now.
20. Protect your honor
Following our own beliefs and living honorably is the only way you should live.
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Check Out The Book of Five Rings by Kenji Tokitsu about the life and work of Musashi Miyamoto: