Forty-four Ways to Live Like a Samurai
When I was younger, I had a developed a keen interest in the feudal time period of Japan. I mean, what boy doesn’t think, at one time or another, that Samurai are really cool? But the reality was that I wasn’t actually interested in the awesome fighting, or tactical wars.
I was interested in Bushido, the ethics and honor code of the soldiers — how selfless and admirable their behavior was. This also lead to an interest in the philosophical school of stoicism and the lifestyle of asceticism. I bought a beautifully illustrated version of the Hagakure which included first-hand stories and precepts.
One work that particularly caught my attention was a list of precepts entitled the Dokkōdō by Miyamoto Musashi. It was twenty-one simple rules that are admittedly difficult to follow. Over the past few years I’ve tried to follow them, modifying and adding to them, in a way that I felt would allow me to improve who I am as much as possible. I’ve broken it up into separate parts for easier understanding and organization.
A Modified Dokkōdō
- You are alive, but only for a little while.
- You are a tiny speck in an infinite universe.
- You have a plethora of options in front of you today.
- Start living. Beginning this very moment.
- Cultivate a burning ambition for success.
- Sacrifice what it takes to achieve results.
- Apply overwhelming force.
- Be content with losing everything except your principles.
- Constantly pursue knowledge.
- Recalibrate and practice where necessary.
- Apply your understanding.
- Motivation only operates properly internally.
- Be honest with yourself, and then with others.
- Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
- Be as thoughtful of your inclinations as possible.
- You will eventually abandon your body, but preserve your honor.
- Always respect, but do not hold expectations.
- Nothing is ‘risk-free’.
- Do not think the world cares if you are tired.
- Do not take anything for granted.
- Do not let your ego create fear.
- Do not seek out pleasure for it’s own sake.
- Do not, under any circumstance, depend on a partial feeling.
- Do not regret what you have done.
- Do not be jealous.
- Do not be saddened by separation.
- Do not let yourself be guided by feelings of lust or love.
- Do not fear the unknown.
- Do not fear death.
- Do not miss the mark, hit where you aim.
- Do not act following customary beliefs.
- Do not allow yourself to become comfortable.
- Do not assume your actions will have beneficial outcomes.
- Be detached from desire your whole long life.
- Resentment and complaint are not appropriate from oneself nor others.
- Spread goodness unto everyone.
- Discard all unnecessary possessions.
- You are not obligated to do a single thing.
- It is only a mistake the first time.
- Leave circumstances better than how you found them.
- Always be thankful; Communicate it.
- Always be complimentary; Communicate it.
- Measure the consequences.
- Never stray away from The Way.