21 Mindful Rules to Live by—from 1645.

Via elephant journal
on Jun 13, 2014
get elephant's newsletter

"miyamoto musashi" "the book of five rings"

For much more, click the image above.


Musashi, the greatest samurai, later a deeply feeling student of the Buddha, and much later the subject of the awesome Samurai Trilogy starring Toshiro Mifune…set down 21 Rules to Live by. Here they are.

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.”
~ Miyamoto Musashi 

For much more context and deeper meaning, this blog: “I came across ‘Dokkodo’ recently which is a small book written by Miyamoto Musashi a week before he died in 1645. Based on the date, I was quite amazed at how many of the following rules or principles if you like have stayed with us and are still very relevant today.

The 21 precepts below were written just as Miyamoto was giving away all his possessions in preparation for death and I think many of them still apply to our modern society and lifestyles.”

Also, the Samurai Trilogy, starring my idol Toshiro Mifune, is awesome fun:


About elephant journal

elephant journal is dedicated to “bringing together those working (and playing) to create enlightened society.” We’re about anything that helps us to live a good life that’s also good for others, and our planet. >>>

Founded as a print magazine in 2002, we went national in 2005 and then (because mainstream magazine distribution is wildly inefficient from an eco-responsible point of view) transitioned online in 2009. >>>

elephant’s been named to 30 top new media lists, and was voted #1 in the US on twitter’s Shorty Awards for #green content…two years running. >>>

Get involved:
> Subscribe to our free Best of the Week e-newsletter.
> Follow us on Twitter Fan us on Facebook.
> Write: send article or query.
> Advertise.
> Pay for what you read, help indie journalism survive and thrive.


4 Responses to “21 Mindful Rules to Live by—from 1645.”

  1. selinov says:

    I really thought there would have been some analysis to the items on this list.

  2. Kate says:

    yes, if we really did live by these rules, we would be repressing our feelings. How can you simply not feel certain feelings? I think we need to acknowledge feelings such as jealousy and sadness before letting them go.

  3. Kit says:

    Here is my own list:

    1. When in doubt, count the blessings out

    2. Let go of attachments and expectations of all kinds

    3. Think realistically, remember the bigger picture, and act kindly

    4. Cultivate compassion and forgiveness for all others and myself, no matter what the situation

    5. Take time aside each day for self care, and let go of self indulgence

    6. Practice enjoying and appreciating life, for what each individual moment brings

    7. Truly cherish others and our time here together. Practice tolerance for all the inevitable differences.

    8. Tune into the physical sensations that emotions bring, not the story or reason behind them. Allow myself to fully feel. Resist labeling as good or bad.

    Happy New Year everyone!! Have fun and be safe!

  4. Valley says:

    13 is the killer for a lot of us 🙂

Leave a Reply