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23 January 2010

The Five Rings

I've been tidying up among papers and things, and in one pile I found this note where I had written down this:
  1. Do not think dishonestly.
  2. The Way is in the training.
  3. Become aquainted with every art.
  4. Know the Ways of all professions.
  5. Distinguish between gain and loss in worldy matters.
  6. Develop intuitive judgement and understanding for everything.
  7. Percieve those things which cannot be seen.
  8. Pay attention even to trifles.
  9. Do nothing which is of no use.
This is from "A Book Of Five Rings - the classic guide to strategy" by Miyamoto Musashi

This is really about japanese swordfighting - Kendo, but I think these words can be used and interepreted in everyday life.

Born in 1584, Miyamoto Musashi was destined to become one of Japan's most renowned warriors. He was Samurai and, by the age of 30, had fought and won more than 60 contests by killing all of his opponents. Satisfied that he was invincible, Musashi then turned to formulating his philosophy of "the Way of the sword." He wrote 'A Book Of Five Rings' (Go Rin No Sho) while living in a cave in the mountains of Kyushu a few weeks before his death in 1645.

The philosophy behind this book is influenced by Zen, Shinto, and Confucianism - can be applied to many areas of life other than Kendo. For example, many entrepreneurial Japanese businessmne use it today as a guide for business practice, running sales campaigns like military operations with the same energy that motivated Musashi.
In Japan he is known as Kensei or "sword-saint". Though the facts of his life might suggest to some readers that he was a cruel and merciless man, in fact, Musashi relentlessly pursued and honest ideal, and its truth emerges from A Book Of Five Rings.

The book I have used as source was printed in 2001, but translated by Victor Harris in 1974.

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