To enjoy good health, to bring true happiness to one’s family, to bring peace to all, one must first discipline and control one’s own mind. If a man can control his mind he can find the way to Enlightenment, and all wisdom and virtue will naturally come to him.
Miyamoto Musashi (1584 – June 13, 1645), also known as Shinmen Takezō, Miyamoto Bennosuke or, by his Buddhist name, Niten Dōraku, was a Japanese swordsman.
Musashi became renowned through stories of his excellent swordsmanship in numerous duels, even from a very young age.
He is the author of The Book of Five Rings, a book on strategy, tactics, and philosophy. His life principles are largely influenced by Buddhist philosophy. He is said to have mastered the art of detachment, letting go and discipline.
In his book, he also revealed 21 rules of life, which are insightful and explain Zen Buddhist way of life in a brilliant way:
“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 nor 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.”
This extraordinary man has written a set of 21 rules which he considered of utmost importance so that one can follow The Way, as he called it along his/ her life. It’s really strange to read and think about how many of them we break everyday, just because of our habits and they way we are used to live our lives. It’s most definitely a challenge to try and live by these rules, even though some of them, have deeper meanings than just the words they are made up of, as all of Musashi’s writings have.