Miyamoto Musashi was one of the greatest warriors to ever live.
No samurai could best Musashi in combat. His Two Heavens as One philosophy was too much for any mortal.
Musashi’s final work before his death, the Dokkodu, provides 21 precepts, rules for life which still apply today. These rules helped Musashi walk his path to glory while retaining his honor as a legend of Japan.
The Book of Five Rings
The book of Five Rings, Translated by William Scott Wilson, who translated the next book, is authored by Miyamoto Musashi himself. It’s estimated the book of five rings was written in 1645.
The book of five rings is separated into five books:
- The book of earth
- The book of water
- The book of fire
- The book of wind
- The book of the void
Each Musashi book contains wisdom pertaining to battle.
The void is an outlier from the rest, describing consciousness, the greatest weapon a warrior can wield; present mind in the moment of battle. Musashi knew that being grounded was fundamental to being a warrior. We know this today.
Each book focuses on a different element of combat. Musashi believed combat is a mental battle as much as a physical battle. The Book of Five Rings is a combination of the various aspects of his teachings to his students.
The book of five rings is not a physical combat book, but a book on the strategy of warfare. The book of five rings is Musashi’s advice on preparation for battle.
If you want a better life, prepare for war.
The Book of Five Rings Quotes:
- Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
- 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.
- Do nothing that is of no use.
- If you wish to control others you must first control yourself.
- from one thing, know ten thousand things.
- Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men.
- Do not regret what you have done.
- All man are the same except for their belief in their own selves, regardless of what others may think of them.
- Do not sleep under a roof. Carry no money or food. Go alone to places frightening to the common brand of men. Become a criminal of purpose. Be put in jail, and extricate yourself by your own wisdom.
- If you master the principles of sword-fencing, when you freely beat one man, you beat any man in the world. The spirit of defeating a man is the same for ten million men.
The Lone Samurai: The Life of Miyamoto Musashi
The lone Samurai is a book about Musashi – as much as history permits us to know. There isn’t enough information to complete a picture of Musashi. Some trivial information exists, like, Musashi having eczema. Because of this The Lone Samurai fills the gaps of Musashi’s life with Japanese history and cross-referenced works of parallel figures.
Many of Musashi’s battles are told in The Lone Samurai.
The Lone Samurai Quotes:
- When the Mind is correct, the brush will be also.
- Musashi and Takuan both believed that the great mistake was being slowed or rendered immobile by what one sees, hears, feels, or thinks
- Your real intent should be not to die with weapons uselessly worn at your side.
- Musashi could teach his techniques and give advice, but in the end each disciple was required to assess his own strength, find his own Way, and make that Way truly his own.
Musashi: An Epic Novel of the Samurai Era
Like the book of five rings, Musashi, the fictitious epic novel of Musashi’s life, spans across many books. This is an excellent read, and follows the known history of Musashi’s life. Musashi was published in 1935, but, wasn’t translated into English until 1981.
The book has an ongoing theme of Musashi and his journeys, as he walks the path of the warrior, following The Way, taming the mind.
- It is easy to crush an enemy outside oneself but impossible to defeat an enemy within.
- you’re going to find people from all over the country, everyone hungry for money and position. You won’t make a name for yourself just doing what the next man does. You’ll have to distinguish yourself in some way.
- I want to lead an important life. I want to do it because I was born a human being.
- Hold on to your life and make it honest and brave.
- Think what you like. There are people who die by remaining alive and others who gain life by dying.
- 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.
Musashi (Graphic Novel)
Musashi’s life in graphic novel format. Based on The Lone Samurai, listed above.
The Book of Five Rings (Graphic Novel)
The book of five rings in graphic form.