Using the the Book of Five Rings as a starting poing, we will explore what it means to go inward and cultivate your inner Samurai.
Learning to go inward for the answers takes some practice.
Arguably, one of the most famous books on the practice of going inward is the Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi circa 1645. The Book of Five Rings was written at a time when feudal Japan was going through a period of great upheaval and social change. Japan was struggling to recover from more than four centuries of internal strife, and though the country was united, many samurai were out of work. Therefore, master-less samurai roamed across Japan looking for other samurai, against whom to test their swords.
Miyamoto’s father was a samurai. Miyamoto, following in his father’s footsteps trained as a samurai, though ended up being one of the master-less samurai roaming the countryside testing swords after the unification of Japan. However, Miyamoto was also a philosopher, a sumi-e painter (form of Japanese painting emphasizing the white space and lines in the painting), and a sculptor. He was also a life-long Zen practitioner.
When Miyamoto was in his 60s, he decided to write down the philosophy that had determined the course of his life path. In the Book of Five Rings he explains nine rules for studying his path.
- Do not think dishonestly
- The Way (path) is in training
- Become acquainted with every art
- Know the Ways of all professions
- Distinguish between gain and loss in worldly matters
- Develop intuitive judgment and understanding for everything
- Perceive those things that cannot be seen
- Pay attention even to trifles
- Do nothing that is of no use
He then further instructs:
It is important to start by setting these broad principles in your heart, and train in the Way of strategy. If you do not look at things on a large scale it will be difficult for you to master strategy. If you learn and attain this strategy you will never lose even to twenty or thirty enemies. More than anything to start with you must set your heart on strategy and earnestly stick to the Way.
So what do you think of Miyamoto's nine rules. Do you think they apply to the Way of the Inner Samurai?
The original Accidental Pren-her™