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Miyamoto Musashi

by Alexey R. Basov

Musashi killed his first enemy in a bout before he had even reached the age of thirteen. He killed every person that stood in his way. Musashi’s life turned into an endless chase, as many sought vengeance against him.
Many manhunts were staged in an attempt to catch Musashi, as if he were a wild animal. Like a lone wolf, Musashi went into hiding in the forests and mountains, always hungry, without a roof over his head, with no friends and no hope to be saved. Despite everything, he always kept up his spirit. Musashi told his pursuers, "Since you have
decided to kill me, I will instead kill you all! Are you attempting to hunt me down? Wrong!
I will hunt you down!"


A large reward was set for his capture. Soon after, the man who offered the bounty was found lying in the mud with his head smashed and a pole with the announcement about the reward for Musashi’s head protruding out of his body.

 

 

Miyamoto Musashi print

The fierce warrior feared no one; he attacked and disappeared like a ghost. People became afraid of his sublime, murderous obsession. Legends spread about Musashi and gradually turned him from an outcast into a sinister hero.
One girl was rumored to love him passionately, since he – a true samurai – feared nothing on earth. But Musashi remained alone.

Ordeals hardened him, made his spirit invincible. During his wanderings he learned to value freedom above all, to feel joyous about the life that freedom provides. The sky was his roof, roots and forest berries became his food. He felt free and worthy. Musashi learned to see the magnificence of life, he became strong enough to defy successfully any circumstances that threated his freedom.

It was rumored that Musashi learned from yamabushi to see the hidden side of things. He could prophesize his enemies dead and dismembered. He understood that a circle is formed where the beginning and the end meet.
Musashi raised himself above life and death, beyond trivial views of good and evil.
He did not wish to kill anymore. There were not many left who still were seeking to kill him, and the determination of those left had already weakened.

According to legends, at this crossroad of life, Musashi met the renowned Zen preacher Soho Takuan. They talked for a long time, and even longer they kept silence. Takuan convinced Musashi that a warrior must bring welfare to people, and secured a pardon from the governor to forgive Musashi's wrongdoings.

Musashi chose a solitary life, serving no one, remaining an eternal wanderer. He became a philosopher and painter whose works are still highly valued in Japan.

a painting by miyamoto musashi
An ink painting by Miyamoto Musashi

A few good quotes by Miyamoto Musashi from A Book of Five Rings:

-- The ultimate aim of all martial arts is not having to use them.

-- Do nothing that is of no use.

-- Perceive that which cannot be seen with the eye.

-- Get beyond love and grief: exist for the good of Man.

-- To know ten thousand things, know one well.

-- I believe that the Way of the Warrior for the Samurai
should be wholly based on things that exceed everything human.

 

This is a chapter from
the book "Samurai. Spirit of the Warrior" by A. R. Basov

avaliable as an eBook (for Windows, Android, iOS) and a hardcover book (pre-order only).

 

 





I will not get lost...
The North Star is shining in the darkness...
The road to Valhalla, straight like a sword, is always in front of me!

Copyright 2000-2016 Alexey R. Basov, Tatiana Basova. All rights reserved.

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