Chop wood, carry water.

fireplaceThe warm fire talked me out of going out into the cold, damp Welsh night to draw something. The fire and the water kettle reminded me of the elements of Mushashi’s Book of Five Rings. I am neither Samurai nor Buddhist, but I glean much from the writings of this Samurai from the 1600s who wandered alone, with no emperor to pledge his loyalty to. He spent most of his life in travel and reflection, always honing his arts which included much more than the sword and the art of fighting. He was a master painter whose brush was an extension of his body no less than his sword. He was also a master of strategy…an accomplished poet, calligrapher, sculptor and archer. He wrote “Study the Ways of all professions”. It is evident that he did just that. He sought out not only great swordsmen but also priests, strategists, artists and craftsmen, eager to broaden his knowledge.

In some of his teachings I find agreement, some I find a hard truth that and try to accept and practice, and some I find unsuitable for my nature and reject out right. Of particular interest to me was his Dokkoda which is as translated as ” The Way of Walking Alone”  Some of his teachings are :

Accept everything just the way it is.

Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.

Never let yourself be saddened by a separation.

Be indifferent to where you live.

There is timing in everything.

Examine your environment.

To know ten thousand things, know one thing well.

Get beyond love and grief, exist for the good of man.

Perceive that which can not be seen with the eye.

Polish the twofold spirit heart and mind, sharpen the twofold gaze perception and sight.

Step by step walk the thousand mile road.

All things entail rising and falling timing. You must discern this.

Thus with the virtue of strategy I practice many arts and abilities -all things with no teacher.

 Do not think dishonestly.
The Way is in training.
Become aquainted with every art.
Distinguish between gain and loss in worldly matters.
Develop intuitive judgement and understanding for everything.

 

 

Musa

(Portrait of Miyamoto Musashi, Circa Edo Period)

Musashi seems to have been a very complex man. He never married and never settled down. He traveled basically his entire life in the pursuit of enlightenment.

shi seems to have been a very complex man. He never married and never settled down. He traveled basically his entire life in the pursuit of enlightenment. HMusashi seems to have been a very complex man. He never married and never settled down. He traveled basically his entire life in the pursuit of enlightenment. e became an expert in numerous fields by self-study. I would dare say that the man skirts the realm of a genius.

One thought on “Chop wood, carry water.

  1. These specific teachings resonated with me today. I’m inspired to do some reading. Lately, I have focused primarily on the I Ching for wisdom. I think I may need to branch out. Thanks for the inspiration!

    Like

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