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The Way of a Genuine Master

You can say that I started my learning with what was given to me at birth,
continued with what was natural for me to do, and completed it by trusting what was meant to be.
– Lieh Tzü

The world is filled with Force and Wisdom.
Masters have been accumulating wisdom for thousands of years;
they pass it from hand to hand, from heart to heart like the greatest treasure…
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

My temple is the whole Universe.
– Sōhō Takuan

Samurai Master


A Master is the concentration of knowledge. A Master exists through his knowledge. Knowledge is the Way. A real Master never stops striving to perfect himself.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

A man who sees his true nature is always free wherever he goes.
He meets the situation and matches response to the issue.
– Huineng

Only those become masters who experience every single thing by themselves.
A. R. Basov, "Legend"

Life itself is always a trial. In training you must test and polish yourself in order to face the great challenges of life. Transcend the realm of life and death, and then you will be able to make your way calmly and safely through the crisis that confronts you.
– Ueshiba Morihei

In the world in which we live, the good and the bad are entwined. It is hard to realize where one ends and the other starts, and to learn to distinguish between opposite things. He who follows the Way of the Master must impose a ban on many things and view many issues at a different angle than all other people.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

However extensive your knowledge is, you have no Zen if you are trying to copy another's life.
– Yamaoka Tesshū

Those who escape the grip of stereotypes are on the path toward self-perfection.
My Zen will always remain my Zen. A Master is a person who is already following his Way. A Master is constantly saturated with the sacred essence of his spirit.
A feature distinguishing a Master: he maintains an unwavering state of spirit.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

The undisturbed mind is like the calm body water reflecting the brilliance of the moon. Empty the mind and you will realize the undisturbed mind.
– Yagyū Jūbei Mitsuyoshi

A Master has an exceptional type of personality. A Master is a strong, worthy individual who would never kneel at the feet of anybody. He is independent, and he has a goal – the Spirit.
This is how one must live a life!
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

The genuine art of the sword is obtained when a warrior in a fight relies on his spiritual powers.
– Yamaoka Tesshū

A Master's Spirit must be forged like a blade.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

Learn the ways to protect more than to destroy. Only he who comprehends the human nature in his soul could be initiated into the Teaching.
– Funakoshi Gichin

A genuine Master is unhurried; he has acquired the art of Force retention. When a person is overtired, he cannot retain Force, he needs rest. A Master does his training in a long and meticulous manner, maintaining energy and vigor. In doing so, he retains Force for a long period and enhances it. Over the course of time the state of Force retention and enhancement becomes natural for him.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

Learning without thought is naught; thought without learning is dangerous.
– Confucius

Willpower, unflappable courage and determination together with strength and polished skills will always help you when you face any danger.
You will be the master of any situation.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

And therefore surely the Sage controls the people with the highest principles and governs them with Righteousness. He stimulates them with ritual and soothes them with humane treatment.
– Wu Qi

A genuine Master should train a disciple who would later excel beyond him.
Death does not separate disciples and their Teacher, because truly devoted and respectful disciples continue the Teacher’s mission and pass it to their own disciples.
Devotion to the tradition preserves continuity for many centuries. Do all you can to prevent this sacred fire from dying down...
No matter who your Teacher is, you will have to follow the Way by yourself!
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"



There are various Ways. There is the Way of salvation by the law of Buddha, the Way of Confucius governing the Way of learning, the Way of healing as a doctor, as a poet teaching the Way of Waka, tea, archery, and many arts and skills. Each man practices as he feels inclined.
It is said the warrior's is the twofold Way of brush and sword, and he should have a taste for both Ways.
– Miyamoto Musashi

Understand various Ways but follow your own... On the whole, sharing the Buddhist ideals of compassion, the samurai did not accept the Buddhist canon of nonresistance to evil by force. A warrior must be humble in heart but not soft; patient but not lenient. A warrior's mercy is in his stamina. It is the stamina of the person with strong moral principles, adamant spirit, and bravery.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

Father and mother are like Heaven and Earth. The lord and the teacher are like the Sun and the Moon.
The teacher is as a needle, the disciple is as thread. You must practice constantly.
– Miyamoto Musashi

Those are wise, who, while in a state of calm, can perceive the path of situations. Such people can see beforehand where the flow of life is directed, and act in accordance with their foresight.
The Warrior who comprehends the Way should always keep this saying in mind, never forget it, and try to make it a guideline to follow. Then he will gradually acquire such situational sensitivity to be able to cope with any challenge.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

A mind free of material desires, an absolutely tranquil mind can foresee the movements of an opponent and reach the state of being acutely alert and acting on intuition.
– Ueshiba Morihei

Unlimited will is the determination to fulfill any volitional order until you are alive. To know that you would die tomorrow and to do what you see proper is aristocratic. This is the backbone of the Master's morality.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

Success is not worth rejoicing over, failure is not worth grieving over.
– Luo Guanzhong

If you are tired, feel weak and depressed... What does it mean? It means only one thing: you turned aside from the Way!
A. R. Basov, "Sakura Flowers"

Even if the whole world explodes and everything falls into pieces, you must believe.
Søren Kierkegaard

The Master should pay no heed to the strokes of fate. His will should be harder than steel.
If you fall, find the nerve to rise.
Life is a battle, and unwaveringly you must have the will to wage it! Ceased endeavors to reach the goal result in a full and final defeat.
A Master may suffer set-backs, but he never comes to terms with them. This is why, strictly speaking, he never suffers a defeat. He who finds strength for struggle even after much discomfiture is a genuine warrior, and he is on his way to victory.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

Immovable means unmoving.
Wisdom means the wisdom of intelligence.
Although wisdom is called immovable, this does not signify any insentient thing, like wood or stone. It moves as the mind is won to move; forward or back, to the left, to the right, in the ten directions and to the eight points; and the mind does not stop at all is called immovable wisdom.
– Sōhō Takuan

The Way of a wise man is inside him…
The truth rests inside. The heart always feels the truth intuitively; you only need to carefully listen to it.
If you have reached understanding – act without delay!
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

While practicing arts, on the one hand, you should strive to perceive their essence, their principle, and on the other, master subtle details and techniques.
By adding a flawless technique to the understanding of the principle, you become perfect. A person who has mastered the technique and comprehended the principle is unequaled.
– Sōhō Takuan

How to become a Master: continue improvement, even when it seems you can do no more… Continue… There are no limits for improvement!
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

He who is capable of summoning his energy in one instant obtains force. He who is able to concentrate all his force into one blow has a gift from gods.
– V. N. Morshankin

A warrior must maintain the equilibrium of Heaven and Earth, spirit and body, earthly life and spiritual life.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"




It is better to die than to preserve this life by incurring disgrace.
The loss of life causes but a moment's grief, but disgrace brings grief every day of one's life.
– Chanakya

If there is sense in your life, if it is worth living – live; if you consider that you should quit –
then quit calmly, in a dignified manner, and without unnecessary hurry. Do not live in indignity and defeat.
Live proud and victorious – as a man, justifiably proud, should live. As the Master of this life should live.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

To learn the Way at daybreak and die at eve were enough.
– Confucius

 

 

Quotes are taken 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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