January 14th, 2019
The Dokkōdō is the only one of the three texts of which we have a copy in Musashi’s own hand.
On that faded scroll are Musashi’s last written instructions — it consists of 21 precepts — to his students, and to any who would follow his path later. it constitutes the hard-won wisdom from the rigorous and perhaps sometimes lonely life of the kensei (’sword saint’).
Dokkōdō "The Path Walked Alone"
Do not ignore the many ways in the world.
Do not seek pleasures for yourself.
Do not rely on anything whatsoever.
Think little about yourself; think deeply about the world.
Never, in all your life, think greedy or desirous thoughts.
Hold no regrets about your personal affairs.
No matter what, never be jealous of others.
On whatever the path, do not be sad about parting ways.
Do not complain about or blame either yourself or others.
Do not allow your thinking to be led down the paths of romantic feelings.
Cultivate no likings for particular things.
Have no special wishes about your home.
Do not have a preference for delicacies.
Do not hold on to old equipment in order to pass it down to posterity.
Regarding your body, do not avoid certain things for superstitious reasons.
Do not concern yourself with unnecessary variety of tools, especially weapons.
Along the way, have no bad feelings toward death.
Do not seek to be rich in your old age.
Buddha and the gods are to be revered, but do not make requests of them.
Even if you must surrender your life, never abandon your honor.
Always stay on the path of strategy, and never stray from it.
Shōhō Second Year, Fifth Month, Second Day Shinmen Musashi
Dokkōdō can also be interpreted as "The Path of Aloneness", "The Way to Go Forth Alone", or "The Way of Walking Alone". Art: (Roganzu) Reeds and Wild Geese by Miyamoto Musashi. Image from Wikimedia.org.
Keep in touch!