Kaijo no Fuji | Source

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

  1. You are alive, but only for a little while.
  2. You are a tiny speck in an infinite universe.
  3. You have a plethora of options in front of you today.

  1. Start living. Beginning this very moment.
  2. Cultivate a burning ambition for success.
  3. Sacrifice what it takes to achieve results.
  4. Apply overwhelming force.

  1. Be content with losing everything except your principles.
  2. Constantly pursue knowledge.
  3. Recalibrate and practice where necessary.
  4. Apply your understanding.
  5. Motivation only operates properly internally.
  6. Be honest with yourself, and then with others.
  7. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
  8. Be as thoughtful of your inclinations as possible.
  9. You will eventually abandon your body, but preserve your honor.
  10. Always respect, but do not hold expectations.
  11. Nothing is ‘risk-free’.

  1. Do not think the world cares if you are tired.
  2. Do not take anything for granted.
  3. Do not let your ego create fear.
  4. Do not seek out pleasure for it’s own sake.
  5. Do not, under any circumstance, depend on a partial feeling.
  6. Do not regret what you have done.
  7. Do not be jealous.
  8. Do not be saddened by separation.
  9. Do not let yourself be guided by feelings of lust or love.
  10. Do not fear the unknown.
  11. Do not fear death.
  12. Do not miss the mark, hit where you aim.
  13. Do not act following customary beliefs.
  14. Do not allow yourself to become comfortable.
  15. Do not assume your actions will have beneficial outcomes.

  1. Be detached from desire your whole long life.
  2. Resentment and complaint are not appropriate from oneself nor others.
  3. Spread goodness unto everyone.
  4. Discard all unnecessary possessions.
  5. You are not obligated to do a single thing.
  6. It is only a mistake the first time.
  7. Leave circumstances better than how you found them.
  8. Always be thankful; Communicate it.
  9. Always be complimentary; Communicate it.

  1. Measure the consequences.
  2. Never stray away from The Way.