Sir George Sansom: History of Japan (1615-18679 wrote, For a thoughtful warrior whose life always bordered on death, there was an attraction, even a persuasion, in the belief that truth come like the flash of a sword as it cuts through the problem of existence. Any line of religious thought that helped a man understand the nature of being without arduous literary studies was likely to attracted the kind of warrior who felt that the greatest moment in life was the moment when death was nearest.
1-4 Some people naturally draw on their resources to reach quick decisions. Others have to think hard before deciding things. The fact of the matter is although people are born with different degrees of wisdom, be we can reach new levels if we free our ego and act upon the four resolutions (shown on the next page). Although most people think it is possible to solve problems thinking earnestly, a judgmental based upon ego will not be of much use however hard we try. Human beings are slow in understanding and find it hard not to look at things subjectively. When faced with a problem we should set it aside and examine the four resolutions free of our egos. In this fashion we may be able to reach a good judgmental
1-6 When all your judgments are based on your own wisdom, you tend towards selfishness and fail by straying from the right path. Your own judgments are narrow minded and have no persuasive power or growth for others. It is best to consult a wise man when a fit decision does not occur to you. A wise man is a fair judge from an objective point of view. He is passing judgment for the benefit of others, not for his own sake. A judgment passed using only ones own wisdom is just like thrusting a stick into the ground and expecting it to grow!
1-7 Listening to golden sayings or deeds of men of old is to learn their wisdom. This is an unselfish attitude. If you talk with others discuss these excellent well known accomplishments, dismiss your narrow minded ideas and your course of action will not be wrong.
1-9 I've been passing through this world now for a considerable long time. There are many men who cavort about and egoistically help their Lord with advice, judgments and the arts when they conveniently remember to do so. Yet, when a Lord goes into retirement or dies, there are many who turn tail on that Lord and want to win their way to another man of power. Whenever I think of them I am disgusted.
1-17 If you can understand the main course of a matter you omit minor details. However these minor details are of great importance. You must consider the good and the bad in even trifle matters.
1-18 It is indeed ill mannered to yawn in public. When you want to yawn inconspicuously, you can stop it by stroking your head upward, or you can lick your lips with your mouth shut. Or hide it with your or your sleeve in such a way that no one will know what you are doing. It is also the same when you sneeze. You will look foolish if you are not aware of many other ways.
1-19 Jocho wrote down many things about the days activities on the previous evening. This was because he had the mental attitude to tackle things earlier than others. When he had an appointment to go somewhere, he would prepare how he was to greet people according to their position of respect after researching the matter the previous evening. The following tells about when I accompanied him to a certain persons house: You should take your hosts spouse into consideration. This is a form of peace and etiquette. When you are invited by a person of status, you should not go dull witted. When you are interviewed by such a person you should not be at a loss for words. On the contrary you should press yourself into some form of interesting conversation. In general, should not visit a person unless invited except for matters of business. To visit casually will not possess the qualification of a guest. Therefore it is important to think things over in advance in order to be pleasing. Even more importantly, it is wise to take many things into consideration at a drinking party. It is difficult to decide when you should leave a party. You should not be worn out and leave too early. In daily life, it is bad refrain from eating when there are good things set before you. It is good manners to eat after politely refusing a few times. The same manners should apply when you have been detained by unexpected circumstances.
He once said, As am undeniably sick, I will fail if I want to manage a large temple. I make it a rule not to commit big mistakes by substituting a man to take care of things in which I consider myself to have poor ability. Two generations previous to this, the priest of this temple was so strict that none of his acolytes would follow him. He over trusted everything to them to such an extent that they became uncontrollable. The priest who keeps his affairs separate will gain the obedience of his acolytes. Taking this into consideration, he will understand all well regardless of numbers. What is more, he entirely trusts others, letting them take charge of work. When problems arise, he will answer clearly, giving correct instructions. Therefore I think management can go well.
 I have found the Way of the Samurai is in death relates to death as purity and to free from ones ego. We can find the same Buddhist doctrine with Musashi's words. That of Musha none-self and Muga, to be free of ones ego. The important principles associated with spiritual strength and concept. As Professor Furukawa of Tokyo University points out, "Death is portrayed as a positive part of the process of living. Hagakure is reflective of purity. There is no greater purity than to die for ones Lord. To die every morning and evening does not mean to actually die. The Hagakure points toward a living death within oneself: To be prepared for ones physical death, to take responsibility for the danger of possible death. To make the utmost of any given work or task."
© Hyakutake-Watkin 1990