Miyamoto Musashi

Standard

Japan

“There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.”
Miyamoto Musashi, The Book of Five Rings

Humanity longs for the end of war.  The only way to avoid violence is to understand conflict – what it is and how to respond in a way that promotes peaceful solutions and outcomes.  Conflict is a subject of inquiry which cannot be ignored, even in our personal lives. Sun Tzu, in The Art of War, states that “The supreme art of war is to subdue the enemy without fighting.” 

Centuries later, another warrior- philosopher arose in Japan named Miyamoto Musashi (1583-1645), also known by his Buddhist name Niten Dōraku.  Considered a rōnin, a samurai with no lord or master, Musashi lived during the feudal period (1185–1868) of Japan.  His swordsmanship was unparalleled, yet his accomplishments as an artist, sculptor, calligrapher and architect confirm his love of peaceful solitude.

This week will focus on the man known to the Japanese as Kensei or ‘sword-saint.”

“Polish your wisdom: learn public justice, distinguish between good and evil, study the ways of different arts one by one.”
Miyamoto Musashi

32 thoughts on “Miyamoto Musashi

  1. Thank you for this post. We all know Sun Tzu but I have to read Miyamoto Musashi now as well. Do we have his English translated books?

    Like

    • Yes it has! The copy I have was published by The Overlook press. The Book of five Rings Miyamoto Musashi, translated from the Japanese by Victor Harris. It is available through Amazon. There are other translations available too. Thank you for stopping by for a visit.

      Like

    • It is a conundrum…

      I don’t have the answers, but I find that looking back helps me understand my reality.

      Like

      • From what I gather, Sun Tzu believed in what was the “whole,” a concept that was about embracing the enemy rather than fighting. I listened to the audiobook The Art of War because I read somewhere that you should read it first as it was given in the oral tradition. The last words of the book brings his ideas together.

        “No ruler should put troops into the field merely to gratify his own spleen; no general should fight a battle simply out of pique.
        Anger may in time change to gladness; vexation may be succeeded by content.
        But a kingdom that has once been destroyed can never come again into being; nor can the dead ever be brought back to life.
        Hence the enlightened ruler is heedful, and the good general full of caution. This is the way to keep a country at peace and an army intact.”
        Sun Tzu, The Art of War

        Like

      • the best form of government is the benevolent dictator. However that form rarely survives for long.

        Like

      • Oh my!!! We are on the same wavelength. They were the first that came to my mind. The stark contrast is, in my humble opinion, iconic.

        Like

      • iconic – -such a good word.

        I believe Sun Tsu would foster peace, but use any means
        necessary to quell dissidents.

        Like

      • The definition of peace is always a great dialogue. We want peace and yet our games, whether in sports or on a video, enact out battles. Ironic is another very good word – humanity makes good use of it. I very much appreciate your input!!!

        Like

  2. Like your other commentator, I have never heard of Miyamoto Musashi, but feel compelled to read his work from your post. You have a knack of digging out such riches, thank you!

    Like

    • As you probably guessed, I am more comfortable discussing music, art and different types of tea, then discussing military strategies. I didn’t read The Art of War until a couple of years ago – I have listened to the audiobook three times and go back for excerpts. Now it is time to turn my attention to Musashi. I am looking forward to the dialogue.

      Like

    • Several years ago, PBS had a mini-series on Musashi. I saw the last episode and wished I had seen the previous ones. Just last week, I came upon one of his quotes and I decided to do a little more research into this man. He lived during a dynamic time in history.

      “Life can only be understood backwards: but it must be lived forwards.” Søren Aabye Kierkegaard (1813 -1855 Denmark)

      Like

  3. Dear Clanmother,
    what an enjoyable post, thank you! I have actually never heard of Miyamoto Musashi, but feel inspired to read his work now. Have a lovely day!
    Best regards from North Norfolk
    Dina

    Like

    • I am learning about him as I go along. There is always something new to discover! It makes living all that more exciting. 🙂

      Like

    • The more I read about him, the more there is to understand. You are so right – the past holds wisdom if we would only listen…

      Like

  4. Someone commented using the term: “benevolent dictator”. Your father once said that what is needed is a benevolent dictator. Maybe he was right

    Like

    • As long as they stay benevolent. Just reading a book on the Tudor kings! Somewhat of a dysfunctional family!!!

      Like

Comments are closed.