Do you have a personal manual of life principles to live by? What adages do you use to guide you in your everyday living?
Today, we’d like to share a list of 21 principles of life to live by from Japanese Buddhist master and expert swordsmen Miyamoto Musashi.
These rules are deeply relevant to our lives today. They explain the Buddhist way of life so brilliantly, helping us to live a life of purpose, meaning and detachment.
But before we show you Mushashi’s 21 rules of life, let’s talk about who the great man named Miyamoto Mushashi was.
Who was Miyamoto Musashi?
Mushashi was a Japanese Buddhist master and expert swordsmen who fought many duels in the seventeenth century.
He authored a famous book called The Book of Five Rings which is still studied today for its wisdom and philosophy on how to live “the way of the warrior”.
Musashi was also famous for developing the below 21 rules of life, which describe concisely how to live a life that is purpose driven but non-attached.
How can you use this list?
Even though this list has 21 points, don’t overwhelm yourself by reading and applying all the points right away. These principles are meant to be read and reflected on over time, as opposed to being a checklist that you tick and check off. As you read each point, think about the truth behind this principle, how it applies to your life, and the actions you should take in light of this principle.
Miyamoto Musashi 21 Rules of Life
So without further ado, here are Musashi’s 21 rules of life. Each line contains a different idea one would live by. Enjoy!
“1. Accept everything just the way it is.
2. Do not seek pleasure for its own sake.
3. Do not, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling.
4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
5. Be detached from desire your whole life long.
6. Do not regret what you have done.
7. Never be jealous.
8. Never let yourself be saddened by a separation.
9. Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself nor others.
10. Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love.
11. In all things have no preferences.
12. Be indifferent to where you live.
13. Do not pursue the taste of good food.
14. Do not hold on to possessions you no longer need.
15. Do not act following customary beliefs.
16. Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful.
17. Do not fear death.
18. Do not seek to possess either goods or fiefs for your old age.
19. Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help.
20. You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honour.
21. Never stray from the Way.”