Musashi Miyamoto wrote the Dokkōdō or The Way of Walking Alone.
Miyamoto Musashi (1584-1645) was a legendary Japanese swordsman, ronin, and author renowned for his undefeated record in 61 duels. He is best known for his seminal work, "The Book of Five Rings," a treatise on strategy, tactics, and philosophy that has influenced martial artists, business leaders, and strategists worldwide. However, his lesser-known work, "Dokkōdō" or "The Way of Walking Alone," written a week before his death, offers profound insights into his philosophy on life.
The Dokkōdō is a concise set of precepts that distill Musashi's wisdom and approach to living. These precepts were dedicated to his closest disciple, Terao Magonojō, as a parting gift before Musashi's death. The Dokkōdō espouses a stringent, honest, and ascetic view of life, emphasizing detachment, self-discipline, and a deep respect for the natural order.
While the Dokkōdō is a relatively short text, its profound insights have been subject to extensive analysis and interpretation. In the book "Musashi's Dokkōdō (The Way of Walking Alone)," five individuals from diverse backgrounds – a monk, a warrior, a teacher, a businessman, and an insurance executive – offer their unique perspectives on Musashi's final words.
Their interpretations highlight the timeless relevance of Musashi's teachings, which transcend the martial arts and speak to the universal human experience. For instance, the monk sees the Dokkōdō as a guide to spiritual enlightenment, while the businessman views it as a blueprint for success in the corporate world.
Despite their differing backgrounds, the authors agree that the Dokkōdō encapsulates Musashi's philosophy of self-mastery, discipline, and a deep respect for the natural order of things. They also acknowledge the ambiguity and implicit notions within the text, which require careful study and contemplation to fully grasp.
Musashi's life and works have had a profound impact on Japanese culture and have influenced countless individuals worldwide. His teachings on strategy, tactics, and self-mastery have been applied to fields as diverse as business, sports, and personal development.
The Dokkōdō, in particular, stands as a testament to Musashi's wisdom and his unwavering commitment to the Way. Its concise yet profound precepts offer a roadmap for living a life of purpose, discipline, and enlightenment – a fitting legacy for one of history's greatest swordsmen and philosophers.
Some of the key principles outlined in the Dokkōdō include:

1. Accept everything just the way it is.
For generations, men have been known for dominance and control.
However, not everything can be controlled.
Flexibility is a key aspect of an even-tempered man.
2. Do not seek pleasure for its own sake.
The search for pleasure is a dangerous adventure.
Along the way, many men have gotten lost in pleasure.
Go into pleasure with your mind aware
Because on the other side of pleasure is pain.
3. Do not, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling.
Go into everything whole-heartedly and non-apologetic.
Mindless actions are typically stupid ones.
Mindless experiences are typically forgettable ones.
4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
Ego blinds and ego destroys.
Go into any experience humble and respectful of your fellow man.
5. Be detached from desire your whole life long.
The two strongest fears that men typically face are fear of death and fear of missing out. Both are born from attachment.
If you do not control yourself, you will be controlled.
6. Do not regret what you have done.
Regret and guilt are both useless emotions.
The past cannot be changed and the future cannot be determined.
Focus on the present.
You can't move forward while looking behind.
7. Never be jealous.
Envy is a bottomless pit of suffering.
There will never be enough and you will never feel like you are enough.
Don't seek to be the best.
Seek to be the best version of yourself.
8. Never let yourself be saddened by a separation.
We circle back to the attachment.
Attachment leads to fear and fear results in pain.
Live fully in the moment because you can't control the future.
9. Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself nor others.
Resentment is typically born from jealousy and greed.
Seek to be the best version of yourself and complain about nothing.
Don't waste energy complaining, spend energy doing.
10. Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love.
Lust is a dangerous emotion and many men have sacrificed everything and been ruined by it.
Love is pure emotion, but a man can be blinded by it.
Maintain awareness.
11. In all things have no preferences.
Remaining open-minded relates to the flexibility we talked about in the first rule.
Bias can be a waste of opportunity in business, love, and learning.
12. Be indifferent to where you live.
Blind patriotism is antiquated.
Find a region you like with weather that you enjoy and people you get along with.
Plus, all you need is an internet connection to make money these days.
13. Do not pursue the taste of good food.
Food should be consumed for nutrition.
Taste is secondary.
14. Do not hold on to possessions you no longer need.
You will never realize how much useless stuff you own and never use it until you are packing to move.
Actively declutter.
15. Do not act following customary beliefs.
Learn to think for yourself.
Find your traditions and rituals.
16. Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful.
Every man should learn to fight and defend himself and those around him.
However, do not be consumed by it.
And remember, no plan survives the first point of contact.
17. Do not fear death.
Attachment again, noticing a pattern?
The greatest irony is that those most afraid of death are also afraid to live.
18. Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help.
Regardless of your faith, respect your fellow man and depend on nothing but yourself.
Men lie and gods don't answer every prayer.
19. You may abandon your body but must preserve your honor.
While it is important to never be apologetic, a man must follow his ethics and values.
To betray one's ethics is to compromise one's soul.
20. Never stray from the Way.
Go into everything wholeheartedly and do not stray from your way.
A man who lies to himself loses the ability to understand the truth.
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