In the final days of his life, the mythical Japanese samurai Musashi Miyamoto retreated to a cave called the Reigandō. (Spirit Rock Cave) In that cave he spent the final months of his life meditating and writing his views on the world. While secluded in the cave he wrote, “Dokkōdō”. The Dokkōdō contains his very own soul.
The Dokkōdō means “The Path of Aloneness” or “The Way to be Followed Alone” . Musashi wrote this work a week before his death. It is 21 lines long, each line containing a different idea one would live by.
1. Accept Everything Just The Way It Is.
Beautiful advice. Rather than worry or fret about what’s going on around you, accept it.
Too often we struggle trying to change things that cannot be changed. When one accepts things as they are, they are free to pursue their true purpose as opposed to fighting against the unchangeable.The time you’ve spent dwelling on it is better spent improving yourself.
2. Do Not Seek Pleasure For It’s Own Sake.
Seeking out the pleasurable things in life quickly become a distraction from the overall goal. In time, the pursuit of pleasure may become the goal itself and all effort towards your true purpose is lost. Avoid constant pleasure if you would stay true to your path.
3. Do Not, Under Any Circumstances, Depend On A Partial Feeling.
You must be sure of where you put your foot before you step. The meaning here is not to get confused, to keep your head clear, and only act when you’re certain.
4. Think Lightly Of Yourself And Deeply Of The World.
Being humble. How are you to hear wisdom if you only hear yourself? If you only walk around with eyes for yourself, you’ll miss the details of the world around you. Paying attention to the world let’s you better appreciate the results of your actions, as well as giving you insight into things you would otherwise miss.
5. Be Detached From Desire Your Whole Lifelong.
If you spend your life chasing a dream you may be running forever. Live your life to be content, have goals but don’t let them rule you. Don’t dwell on what others have when you can make your own.
6. Do Not Regret What You Have Done.
Understand your actions. If you disprove of how you are, don’t constantly regret the past and be bitter. Work to understand yourself, put it past you, and live your life how you should.
7. Never Be Jealous.
It’s a waste of time. Spend your energy productively. All that time scheming could achieve a lot of other things.
8. Never Let Yourself Be Saddened By A Separation.
Just by living life people will come and go. It’s not the distance that matters but how you remember them. Keep them close to your heart and they are always living in your footsteps.
9. Resentment And Complaint Are Appropriate Neither For Oneself Nor Others.
Both happen because of an inability to accept and are a waste of time. It is far more efficient to change things without resentment or complaint and accepting what cannot be changed. Better to focus your energy on bettering yourself or them then causing useless grief.
10. Do Not Let Yourself Be Guided By The Feeling Of Lust Or Love.
Act with respect to yourself. If one studies the irrational behavior of humans it becomes prevalent that most of it is caused by love and lust. As wonderful as love can be, it can be equally as hurtful and distracting from one’s primary goal and, all to often, the same goal can even be forsaken. Lust will also become a bar to one’s path and will be no less of an obstruction as love. Never allow either to guide you.
11. In All Things Have No Preferences.
Have an open mind, be ready to try all things and desire none.If you always act a certain way you will never experience anything new.
12. Be Indifferent To Where You Live.
Living is living. If your unhappy with where you are, move, but in time you’ll realize it’s not where you live but how you live. A palace or a parking garage; be happy of shelter and warmth.
13. Do Not Pursue The Taste Of Good Food.
You can see this in evidence today. Eat for nourishment and eat to be full. Living the life of a ronin Mushashi learned the value of appreciating a full stomach. A taste for good food can be as harmful as any addiction.
14. Do Not Hold On To Possessions You No Longer Need.
Everything has its use, but eventually things run their course and become broken or unusable. If it no longer benefits with you, part with it freely. Give it to someone who can appreciate it. Let go of what is no longer useful and move forward. You’ll feel better for it.
15. Do Not Act Following Customary Beliefs.
Think and act for yourself. Act how you think you should act not how others say you should. You only have one chance to decide for yourself.
16. Do Not Collect Weapons Or Practice With Weapons Beyond What Is Useful.
A tribute to his time but apt advice depending on how you apply it. As with other possessions, it becomes burdensome to the Way when the desire for weapons becomes prominent. Keep what is useful and discard what is not.
17. Do Not Fear Death.
This may be the hardest one for some to do. Everyone dies, Everyone comes to terms differently. Great deeds can never be accomplished so long as death holds sway over your decisions. A true warrior carries death in his heart daily and, when the time comes, fully embraces it.
18. Do Not Seek To Possess Either Goods Or Fiefs For Your Old Age.
What good will they do when you’re gone? Apt advice as well, Live usefully and collect what is useful. When you make plans for material possessions, you lose focus on what is truly important and do what you can to live and enjoy wealth. This can lead to cowardice and other loathsome actions that will further you from the Way. Don’t waste your time when you can spend your time bettering yourself.
19. Respect Buddha And The Gods Without Counting On Their Help.
Count on yourself, Don’t count on luck or gods to pull you through. Tackle the endeavors you know are within your capabilities. If you pray to them for strength then they will put you in situations to find it.
20. You May Abandon Your Own Body But You Must Preserve Your Honor.
Don’t do anything you can’t live with for the rest of your life. Your actions make you. If you become old and weak, not far from the drink; live still with the actions and character that made men respect you.
21. Never Stray From The Way.
If you live a certain way, Either devote yourself wholly to it or cast it aside. If you can’t bring yourself to place complete conviction in your actions then why do them?