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- The Way of Strategy – Review of The Book of Five Rings, Miyamoto Musahi.
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Shambhala logo. Home The Book of Five Rings. The Book of Five Rings. Links The Book of Five Rings. By Thomas Cleary and Miyamoto Musashi. Apple eBook Download X. Look Inside. Mar 01, ISBN Oct 23, ISBN May 11, ISBN Dec 12, ISBN Jan 11, ISBN May 15, ISBN Jun 24, ISBN His emphasis on strategic thinking, concentration, appropriate caution, choice of weapon, and the work ethic reflects the traditional Japanese approach to life.
This acclaimed English translation was prepared jointly by a team of Western and Japanese scholars for the Nihon Services Corporation, and interpreting, translating, and business counseling service dedicated to breaking down cultural and communication barriers between Japan and the United States. This edition includes explanatory notes ad commentary on each chapter.
One of the most insightful texts on the subtle arts of confrontation and victory to emerge from Asian culture, The Book of Five Rings analyzes the process of struggle and mastery over conflict that underlies every level of human interaction. Written by the renowned Japanese warrior Miyamoto Musashi in , its principles for achieving success in combat have long been lauded not only for their applicability to the martial arts but to all aspects of life.
This acclaimed translation from Thomas Cleary is immediately accessible, with an introduction that presents the spiritual background of the warrior tradition. This book is part of the Shambhala Pocket Library series. The Shambhala Pocket Library is a collection of short, portable teachings from notable figures across religious traditions and classic texts. The covers in this series are rendered by Colorado artist Robert Spellman.
Thus with the virtue of strategy I practise many arts and abilities— all things with no teacher. It is equivalent to the Chinese "Tao" and means the whole life of the warrior, his devotion to the sword, his place in the Confucius-coloured bureaucracy of the Tokugawa system. It is the road of the cosmos, not just a set of ethics for the artist or priest to live by, but the divine footprints of God pointing the Way. In Shinto there are many Holies, gods of steel and fermentation, place and industry, and so-on, and the first gods, ancestors to the Imperial line.
See note Musashi studied various arts in various schools, but when after his enlightenment he pursued his studies he had become separate from traditional guidance. He writes his final words in the book of the Void: "Then you will come to think of things in a wide sense, and taking the Void as the Way, you will see the Way as Void. It could be put as feeling, manner. It has always been said "The sword is the soul of the samurai. TheGround Book Stategy is the craft of the warrior.
Commanders must enact the craft, and troopers should know this Way. There is no warrior in the world today who really understands the Way of strategy. There are various Ways. Each man practices as he feels inclined. Even if a man has no natural ability he can be a warrior by sticking assiduously to both divisions of the Way. Generally speaking, the Way of the warrior is resolute acceptance of death. The word means "Song of Japan" or "Song in Harmony".
It is basically a ritual, based on simple refined rules, between a few persons in a small room.
The Book Of Five Rings : Miyamoto Musashi :
Archery is practised as a ritual like tea and sword. Hachiman, the God of War, is often depicted as an archer, and the bow is frequently illustrated as part of the paraphernalia of the gods. Young men during the Tokugawa period were educated solely in writing the Chinese classics and exercising in swordplay. Pen and sword, in fact, filled the life of the Japanese nobility.
Under the Tokugawas, the enforced logic of the Confucius-influenced system ensured stability among the samurai, but it also meant the passing of certain aspects of Bushido. Discipline for both samurai and commoners became lax.
Yamamoto Tsunenori had been counsellor to Mitsushige, lord of Nabeshima Han, for many years, and upon his lord's death he wanted to commit suicide with his family in the traditional manner. This kind of suicide was strictly prohibited by the new legislation, and, full of remorse, Yamamoto retired in sadness to the boundary of Nabeshima Han.
Here he met others who had faced the same predicament, and together they wrote a lament of what they saw as the decadence of Bushido. Their criticism is a revealing comment on the changing face of Japan during Musashi's lifetime: "There is no way to describe what a warrior should do other than he should adhere to the Way of the warrior Bushido. I find that all men are negligent of this.
There are a few men who can quickly reply to the question "What is the Way of the Warrior? From this we can say they do not follow the Way of the warrior.
The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi
By the Way of the warrior is meant death. The Way of the warrior is death. This means choosing death whenever there is a choice between life and death. It means nothing more than this.
It means to see things through, being resolved. Sayings like "To die with your intention unrealized is to die uselessly", and so on, are from the weak Kyoto, Osaka Bushido. They are unresolved as to whether to keep to their original plan when faced with the choice of life and death.
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Every man wants to live. They theorize with staying alive in mind. That to die having failed is to die uselessly is a mad point of view. This is not a shameful thing. It is the most important thing in the Way of the warrior. If you keep your spirit correct from morning to night, accustomed to the idea of death and resolved on death, and consider yourself as a dead body, thus becoming one with the Way of the warrior, you can pass through life with no possibility of failure and and lowlier folk have been known to die readily in the cause of duty or out of shame, this is a different thing.
The warrior is different in that studying the Way of strategy is based on overcoming men. By victory gained in crossing swords with individuals, or enjoining battle with large numbers, we can attain power and fame for ourselves or for our lord. Warriors must learn this Way. Recently there have been people getting on in the world as strategists, but they are usually just sword-fencers.
The attendants of the Kashima Kantori shrines'" of the province Hitachi received instruction from the gods, and made schools based on this teaching, travelling from country to country instructing men. This is the recent meaning of strategy. In olden times strategy was listed among the Ten Abilities and Seven Arts as a beneficial practice.
It was certainly an art but as beneficial practice it was not limited to sword-fencing. The true value of sword-fencing cannot be seen within the confines of sword-fencing technique.
If we look at the world we see arts for sale. Men use equipment to sell their own selves. As if with the nut and the flower, the nut has become less than the flower. In this kind of Way of strategy, both those teaching and those learning the way are concerned with colouring and showing off their technique, trying to hasten the bloom of the flower. They speak of "This Dojo" and "That Dojo". Someone once said "Immature strategy is the cause of grief". That was a true saying. Such a fellow is a spendid retainer.
In this house there have been generations of splendid gentlemen and we are deeply impressed by their warm kindness This was simply abondoning body and soul for the sake of their lord. What a joyful thing if this can be used to advantage. To think only of the practical benefit of wisdom and technology is vulgar.
Some men do not quickly have good ideas but arrive at the answer by slow consideration. Well, if we investigate the heart of the matter, even though people's natural abilities differ, bearing in mind the Four Oaths, when your thinking rises above concern for your own welfare, wisdom which is independent of thought appears. Whoever thinks deeply on things, even though he may carefully consider the future, will usually think around the basis of his own welfare.