30 Days of Miyamoto Musashi

A 30-day meditation practice on the writings of Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi

By Sam Yang - Get similar updates here

Often it is the warrior like Japanese swordsman Miyamoto Musashi (c. 1584 – 1645) who is more applicable to the everyday person than a philosopher or monk. It is not that we need a more adversarial viewpoint or that Musashi gives us better insight than German philosopher Ludwig Wittgenstein or Taoist poet Chuang Tzu. Warriorship is philosophy delivered through a code of living—which is much easier to implement. Especially when we no longer set aside time for deep thinking or wonder the fertile ground for freedom and independent thought. So for all intents and purposes, we love rules.

Then it is not surprising that we are naturally drawn to the words of the warrior class. They demand we follow their code, whether we understand them or not. But it works better if we spend some time reflecting. After all, quoting Musashi is not the same as thinking like Musashi. This is bunbu ichi, the samurai concept of swordsmanship and intellect in equal accord.

Musashi was a lover of poetry, philosophy, and the arts. Fighting and swordsmanship were metaphors for Musashi. Then pay special attention to what he means, not what he says. He did not write for general audiences. In fact, Musashi never wrote a book. He wrote lessons that his students compiled into a book. In person, he taught them swordsmanship. His writings were to teach his students everything else.

As Musashi put it: “You must reflect well on this.”

So what I will do is give you thirty Miyamoto Musashi maxims related to living. Spend one day meditating on each maxim and its deeper meaning. What I would suggest is to do it early in the mornings so it carries with you the rest of the day. Perhaps you can listen to this on your way to work or before school.

Then after 30 days, perhaps you'll notice a change in yourself. I posted this 30-day practice online several years ago and I got a lot of positive messages from people who benefited. Discussion groups and clubs were formed. Some people made it into a calendar. And some others were inspired to convert their thoughts into blogs, journals, and even ebooks.

So I welcome you to invite others to this practice, form groups, or to take this practice and make it your own.

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Books I Recommend

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