The Book of Five Rings - By Miyamoto Musashi & translated by Thomas Cleary 9/10
At the start of this year I began learning two Eastern Asian languages (Mandarin and Japanese). Since then I've been looking deeper into Eastern Asian culture. I chose to read this book because I felt that anything that had stood the test of time deserves reading. The Book of Five Rings was composed in 1643 as a way for Miyamoto Musashi, a legendary swordsman, to record his learnings and teachings of martial arts. It contains principles that are very much still relevant to today's world. It's an insight into how much focus and time was devoted to mastering their craft.
Book Depository: The Book of Five Rings
Date completed: 23/06/16
It is imperative to master the principles of the art of war and learn to be unmoved in mind even in the heart of battle.
As for physical appearance, your face should not be titled downward, upward, or to the side. Your gaze should be steady.
Make your ordinary bearing the bearing you use in martial arts, and make the bearing you use in martial arts your ordinary bearing.
Observation and perception are two seperate things; the observing eye is stronger, the perceiving eye is weaker.
Training and practice are imperative.
Studying and practicing each item in this book, fighting with opponents, you gradually attain the principles of the science; keeping it in mind at all times, without any sense of hurry, learning its virtues whenever the opportunity arises, taking on any and all opponents in duels, learning the heart of the science, even it is a path of a thousand miles, you walk one step at a time.
This is something that requires thorough examination, with a thousand days of practice for training and ten thousand days of practice for refinement.
Especially when one is in full combat gear, one does not think of small things.
Even if you are exercising alone with a sword, assess the knowledge and tactics of all adversaries, know the strong and weak moves of adversaries, find out how to beat everyone by means of the knowledge and character of military science.
Training and refining it day and night with the determination to eventually consummate it, after having perfected it, one gains a unique freedom, spontaneously attains wonders, and is endowed with inconceivable powers of penetration.
Whenever opponents try to attack you, let them go ahead and do anything that is useless, while preventing them from doing anything useful. This is essential to military science.
Even if the wind changes you can still reach port by oar.
In emptiness there is good but no evil. Wisdom exists, logic exists, the Way exists, mind is empty.
Not forgetting about disturbance when times are peaceful is an art of war.
It is bias to think that the art of war is just for killing people. It is not to kill people, it is to kill evil. It is a strategy to give life to many people by killing the evil of one person.
In all things, uncertainty exists because of not knowing.
It is essential to control your mood by means of your will, calming down so that your will is not drawn by your mood.
To do something unexpected as a ploy to startle an opponent is also an appearance concealing an ulterior intention, an art of war. When an opponent is startled and the felling of opposition is distracted, the opponent will experience a gap in reaction time.
Dust and dirt adhere to an unpolished gem, but a perfectly polished gem will not be dirtied even if it falls into mud. Polishing the gem of your mind by spiritual cultivation so that it is impervious to stain, leaving sickness alone and giving up concern, do as you will.
"The mind is like the moon in water, the body is like and image in a mirror."
True and False Mind
There is a poem that says,
It is the mind
that is the mind
confusing the min.
Do not leave the mind,
to the mind.
The original mind is the "original countenance," which is there before our parents give birth to us; having no form, it has no origination and no extinction.
When we speak of the false mind, this refers to the energy of the blood, which is personal and subjective. Blood energy is the action of blood; when blood rises, the colour of the face changes and one becomes angry.
Also, when people despise what we love, we become angry and resentful. But if others similarly despise what we despise, we enjoy this an twist wrong into right. When people are given valuables, they receive them with delight; they break into smiles, and blood energy produces a glow in their faces. Then they take what is wrong to be right.
These are all states of mind that come from the energy in the blood in the body, from this physical body, when dealing with temporal situations. These states of mind are referred to as the false mind.
This sound mind is called the original mind. If you accord with the original mind, you will excel in martial arts. This principle is relevant to everything, without exception.
This is the most urgent point. Not lingering is considered quintessential.
If you ask as a leave of home,
I simply think you should
not let your mind linger
on a temporary dwelling
If you just duel and shoot with a normal mind, you should have no trouble with the bow and you should be able to wield the sword freely.