Miyamoto Musashi’s 21 Principles was a Japanese swordsman, philosopher, strategist, writer and ronin. A ronin is a swordsman without a master. Either the master is passed away or the master is not favouring the samurai.
Miyamoto Musashi was born in 1584 and died in 1645. He became a hero in japan and the world because of his special ability to use swords with both hands. His swords were double-bladed.
Miyamoto Musashi The Warrior & Kensei
Miyamoto Musashi The Warrior & Kensei
Musashi was a great warrior. The Kensei is a Japanese title to honour swordsmen.
Kensei is a Japanese honorary title given to a warrior of legendary skill in swordsmanship. The literal translation of Kensei is “sword saint”.
He never got defeated in his lifetime. He has a winning streak of 61 duels without any defeat. It is still a world record even after 600 years. The next best winning streak is 33 by Itō Ittōsai another swordsman.
Miyamoto Musashi’s 21 Principles & Rules
Miyamoto Musashi’s 21 Principles & Rules
During his last days of life, Musashi created the Dokkodo. The Dokkodo is on a path of aloneness.
He went to a cave in his last days and spent his remaining days there. He came out of that cave 5 days before his death.
In 1643 he retired to a cave named Reigando as a hermit to write The Book of Five Rings. He died peacefully after finishing the text Dokkodo.
Below are Miyamoto Musashi’s 21 principles of life in his book Dokkodo. He had given this to his closest disciple.
Get here the free PDF Book Dokkodo written by Miyamoto Musashi.
These principles are full of wisdom. These principles have philosophies that can turn around lives. The essence of the meditation and mindfulness of a monk is converted into rules.
These are the guiding principles to make our lives better.
1- Accept Everything Just The Way It Is
Accept life as it is coming to you. Don’t try to change or block the progress. Be calm and accept the situation.
It is a matter of gaining mastery and control over yourself. Show calm and composure like a monk.
When you don’t accept the situation, then you are in a fight against them. When you block something you lose energy and focus.
You become reactive. This is not the samurai way.
Accept the situation and use the momentum in your favour to proceed. Your success is hidden in moving ahead.
2- Don’t Seek Pleasure For Its Own Sake
Seeking pleasure in all circumstances will derail you. Pleasure is a trap because a pleasure-driven mentality is less disciplined.
Every good and big thing in life is achieved after following hard disciplines.
Don’t seek pleasure, seek peace.
There is nothing wrong with pleasure, but seeking pleasure most of the day will deplete you with depth and dedication. It shifts your attention. It makes you hollow. It is not the way to live a fulfilled life.
A life full of pleasure very makes you depressed and lonely. Because you get bored by the same level of pleasure and want more pleasure the next time, there is no end to it.
The level of dopamine shoots and keeps you in a pleasurable state.
Instead of seeking pleasure go for a satisfying life.
3- Do Not, Under Any Circumstances Depend On A Partial Feeling
There are so many things running through your mind. There are so many situations and circumstances that shape our behaviours and actions. We get influenced by them and they dominate our minds.
But remember, whatever decisions you take must not be influenced by partiality and selfishness.
Your decisions must be based on truth and equality.
4- Think Lightly Of Yourself And Deeply Of The World
When you are in your centre, you miss many things around you. It makes you an egoist and a narcissist. You see your inflated image.
But the problem arises when you see others’ deflated images and look down upon them.
Over information about you is not the actual you but an exaggerated you.
It heightens your ego. It makes you a skewed thinker. You are not concerned about the world but yourself. It makes you callous and your world becomes less beautiful.
Thinking deeply about others, means you are a compassionate person. You have a beautiful heart and living with you and around you is a blessing for people.
You are setting good examples for others. You are making the world more beautiful.
5- Be Detached From Desire Your Whole Lifelong
It means don’t fall to desires. There is no end to your desires. If you fulfil one desire, another one crops in.
It makes you restless and de-focussed. Most of your sins are offsprings of desires.
When you detach yourself from desires, you become peaceful. Now, you can focus on bigger things in life.
You are in the driving seat of your life. Desires no more fuel you negatively.
6- Do Not Regret What You have Done
Never live an apologetic life. Maybe you regret something in life or have some remorse for your past actions.
But that must not be the driving force of your life.
If they become your guiding force, your life regresses and doesn’t move in the forward direction.
Either you grow or you die. If you are not growing you are dying.
Treat your past as a servant. Your past must serve you. Don’t make it a master. It will become ruling you and spoil your future.
7- Never Be Jealous
When we are jealous of someone, we become ungrateful. We count what we don’t have and what others have. This attitude gives us a sense of thank-less-ness.
We lose focus and become less productive. This stops our growth and we become less productive.
Going from level 1 to level 2 or from failure to success requires composure and magnanimity.
8- Never Let Yourself Be Saddened By A Separation
Miyamoto Musashi says that whatever you have is temporary. Your relationships and belongings are temporary. You are not the owner of them. You are just a custodian.
When you depart from life, these things don’t go with you. You just transfer them to the next generation. Since you are not the owner, don’t be saddened by their separation from you.
This thought process will make you superior and successful.
9- Resentment And Complaint Are Appropriate Neither For Oneself Nor Others
You know what makes you successful and powerful. Your thoughts and actions. Either they build you or destroy you.
When you are more resentful and complaining, you are less energized and creative.
Don’t resent and complain, rather spread happiness and tranquillity.
10- Do Not Let Yourself Be Guided By The Feeling Of Lust Or Love
When you are a victim of your impulses, you can’t master your senses. Your sensuality will control you and your behaviours.
When you fall to your feelings of lust and love, you don’t raise to your deeds of piousness and greatness.
11- In All Things Have No Preferences
All big and small, good and bad, virtue and sin, sorrow and happiness are products of our minds. Just be still and watch them from a distance.
These all come from minds. You use them with some reference points. So, judging these reference points are more important than judging the act. Your circumstances build preferences for you.
12- Be Indifferent To Where You Live
Whatever situation you are in, you can win over them. Don’t your mind be overpowered by the situations and happenings around you? You have to maintain your composure and calm.
You can’t run away from your issues. There is no escapism. You have to face them. You can’t imagine yourself in distant places and evade the problems.
13- Do Not pursue The Taste Of Good Food
Don’t pursue the taste of good food. Foods are not only to gratify our senses. They are there to keep us healthy & fit.
When we eat only to satisfy our taste buds, we binge and become a misfit. But when we eat to maintain our bodies, we eat moderately and be cautious with our health.
Our body and mind are co-related. If we are physically unfit, we lack the cent per cent potential of the mind.
14- Do Not Hold On To Possessions You No Longer Need
If greed is governing us, blessings will never empower us. Blessings are there to strengthen and soothe us but our greed and materialism have blocked them.
We have to learn the art of detachment from things. When we die, materials don’t die with us.
We need to be satisfied with the things we genuinely require to live a peaceful and happy life.
When we become possessive of things, we enslave ourselves to materialistic things and lose our freedom which is so important for our salvation.
15- Do Not Act Following Customary Beliefs
There are many notions which have become so customary that we don’t give them second thought to verify or justify.
When we subscribe to any ideology then we are not loyal to any philosophy. We are not going to do any justice with these principles.
When we are not following orders then the chaos will become our destiny.
When we don’t listen to our inner voice, we become alienated from ourselves and our growth and happiness perish.
16- Do Not Collect Weapons Or Practice With Weapons Beyond What Is Useful
Here, Miyamoto Musashi says- your first duty is to become an expert. Gaining mastery requires dedication, determination, discipline, consistency and willingness.
Special skills become your identity. You can easily become a specialist by doing things consistently well.
Don’t shift to other goals in life without championing the first goal.
17- Do Not Fear Death
Everything around us is temporary. We all have to die one day. We transcend this world and move to the next world. Never fear death. it is inevitable.
18- Do Not Seek To Possess Either Goods Or Fiefs For Your Old Age
Don’t be over-possessive about things. Don’t hoard things for your old age out of fear or penury.
When you focus on these issues, you will not focus on the more important issues at your working age.
You will become negative and they will affect your overall results in life.
19- Respect Buddha And The Gods Without Counting On Their Help
We must not check God on our principles. Similarly, we must not check Buddha on our perimeters.
We have a limited capacity and God is All-knowing and All-powerful.
When we limit God, we will not be benefitted from the bounties of God.
20- You May Abandon Your Own Body, But You Must Preserve Your Honour
The age of your honour is much more than the age of your body. Your body will perish but your honour will linger.
Live an honourable and memorable life.
21- Never Stray From The Way
You have a way means you have a goal and destination. Without them, you lead a wanton life.
Whatever goals you have set for yourself, don’t go astray with them. You will land nowhere.
Key Takeaways From The Article
Live a thoughtful and mindful life
You are here to serve humanity
Be the master of your trait. A weaker you are less valuable
Silence and aloneness teach you many lessons to lead a better life
Only truth can give you perennial happiness and peace.
These are the best pieces of advice from a ronin, writer, hermit, swordsman, samurai and thinker.
These principles have the potential to change someone’s life. Help someone to change their life. You are a catalyst of change.
Please forward this article to someone who is fighting for their life. May God bless you. Amen.