Just about anyone that is interested in martial arts have heard the name Miyamoto Musahi at some point. Musashi, as you might recall was the samurai who lived from 1584 – 1645. He’s probably most famous for his book, “The Book of 5 Rings” (Go Rin No Sho – 五輪書), and the two sword style of Niten Ichi-ryū (二天一流).
However, just prior to his death in 1645, he wrote a short work titled, “The Dokkōdō” (独行道), or “The Way of Walking Alone” (also translated as “The Path of Aloneness”). These rules or precepts were dedicated to his student, Terao Magonojō (寺尾孫之允), to whom the “Book of Five Rings” were also dedicated. While Terao Magonojō was Musashi’s favorite student and became a famous swordsman in his own right, it was his younger brother, Terao Motomenosuke, who later became the successor of Musashi’s school of swordsmanship, the Niten Ichi-ryū.
Here are the 21 Precepts of “The Way of Walking Alone”:
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.
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 honor.
21. Never stray from the Way.