Miyamoto Musashi's sayings

read more in Samurai II: Spirit of the Warrior

by A. R. Berg

  • miyamoto musashi

    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

    The most important thing about the Way is to always keep its virtues in your heart.
    Miyamoto Musashi

    To master the virtue of the long
    sword is to govern the world and oneself.
    Miyamoto Musashi


    I believe that the Way of the Warrior for a samurai should be wholly based on things that exceed everything human.
    Miyamoto Musashi

    Lord Hosokawa once asked Musashi, “What does ‘the body like a rock’ mean?”
    “Send for my disciple Terao motomenosuke now!” ordered Musashi.
    As soon as he arrived, Musashi told him to kill himself by seppuku immediately.
    When Terao raised the sword without a second thought, Musashi withdrew the order and told Hosokawa, “My lord, this is the body like a rock.”
    The gate of death is nearby at every moment, only a breath away. It is a reality a Warrior never loses sight of. But nearness to death is the most important stimulus for living fully.

    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.
    Miyamoto Musashi

    In the void there is virtue, and no evil. Wisdom has existence, principle has existence, the Way has existence, the spirit is nothingness.
    Miyamoto Musashi

    samurai skeleton kuniyoshi utagawa ukiyoe
    Fragment of a famous ukiyo-e work by Utagawa Kuniyoshi ("Takiyasha Summons a Skeleton to confront Mitsukuni in the Sōma Castle")

    After I comprehended the Way of the Sword, I had no need to turn to either the law of Buddha or the teaching of Confucius.
    Miyamoto Musashi

    When your spirit is not in the least clouded, when the clouds of bewilderment clear away, there is the true void…
    By the void I mean that which has no beginning and no end.
    Attaining this principle means not attaining the principle.
    The Way of strategy is the Way of nature.
    Miyamoto Musashi

    The medieval Japanese traditionally admired the instant thrust as the greatest art beyond good and evil. A perfect thrust is Enlightenment, a state that transcends human apprehension. Miyamoto Musashi was invincible even in the face of more technically skilled opponents mainly due to his talent for breaking their inner equilibrium. (Spirit of the Warrior)

    “To release four hands” is used when you and the enemy are contending with the same spirit, and the issue cannot be decided. Abandon this spirit and win through an alternative resource.
    Miyamoto Musashi

    Attack without warning where the enemy is not expecting it, and while his spirit is undecided follow up your advantage and, having the lead, defeat him. … Without allowing him space for breath to recover from the fluctuation of spirit, you must grasp the opportunity to win.
    Miyamoto Musashi

    A few short 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 ―

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    This is a chapter from Samurai II: Spirit of the Warrior

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