As most people
are aware Miyamoto Musashi wrote a number of works the most famous being
the scrolls of the Five Elements - Gorin no Sho. Some call this the tombstone
book as the shape of each element constitutes the whole shape of a tombstone.
This shape comes from Tibet as the script written on each part is Tibetan
script. Gorin no Sho was written in Hiragani (simplified Japanese).
At the beginning of the work Musashi states, "In writing this work
I will not borrow from Confucian or Buddhist precepts". The fact
of the matter is, if he had used Kanji to write the works it would have
immediately relate to either Chinese or Buddhist precepts as each kanji
has deep significant meanings both obvious and hidden. The very core
of education in Japan stems from Buddhism.
Dokkodo is not
"Another sword manual". After Gorin no Sho it was summary
of Musashi's life, his will, a philosophy.
online work is a part translation of Imai Masayuki Nobukatsu
Soke's book, 'Understanding Dokkodo' He was the 10th Headmaster
of the Hyoho Niten Ichiryu. The original book also contains
the Ito and Nito Seiho techniques of the ryu. But as the 11th
Soke, Iwami Toshio Gensho chooses to interpret the waza by doing
the full sets rather than an annotated version done by the 10th
Soke to improve fundamentals it is wise to do what is right
to follow instruction of the present head of the ryu in practice.
For this reason I have left the explanation of waza out.
both Dokkodo and Gorin no Sho will give some people a much further
insight into the strength and purpose behind techniques. What
has to be realized is that the actual will left by Musashi stating
certain rules to go by in life is a simple summarization. One
can take each individual part and describe it in great depth
using Buddhist precepts.
met with a few unexpected problems in doing the translation. To do it
required a knowledge of Buddhist texts I first approached Japanese language
scholars the find out the deeper meaning of the words. They in turn
advised me to consult with colleagues of mine that I had worked with
for many years in the Jodo Shinshu Buddhist sect who are all priests.
at times was disastrous. Some would not be a party to helping with an
English translation of what was in Musashi's time a brave radical opinion.
Also Musashi has said that the biggest stumbling block in understanding
Buddhism was it's priests who gave Buddhism a bad name! Understandably
some refused to help. Musashi's basic philosophy also tells us not to
think too much of religion. That I will leave you to decide for yourselves
as you read the explanation! To translate the word Dokkodo as "Going
my Way seemed to be most apt. I felt that the work was not long enough
to publish as a book. Secondly if I added a few pictures and did publish,
it would be against Musashi's principles. He would not have liked it!
All are free to read it. Please feel free to make a link to it. But
do NOT copy it, publish 'any' part of it anywhere, without my permission.
It does have a copyright.
thanks to Ms Chiyako Kitamura in doing a very basic English translation
to try and work with.
Yoyo no Michi wo Somukukoto Nashi:
In no way should one act contrary to the great future you have before
is your bright future? It is the customary lifestyle of an enlightened
person? It is the way in carrying out all matters both old and new in
a natural manner? In Buddhism the word Makoto
(truth) means the historical tradition of the original wish. Buddhism
created by Buddha has been passed down generations to the present day
through seven high priests including Ryuki, Tenshin and Unran. When
we look at the history of tradition we refer to it as the discovery
of tradition. This is way of truth. To act contrary is this case means
to step out into the open world alone.
the beginning of Gorin-no-Sho, Musashi relates, "Since childhood
I was interested in the martial ways and fought for the first
time when I was thirteen. I beat my opponent, a man called Kihei
Arima. At the age of sixteen I fought and defeated the martial
exponent Akiyama from Tajima. At twenty-one I went to Kyoto and
fought with several strong fighters and never lost, not even once.
After my stay in Kyoto I visited places all over Japan and never
losing fought some sixty times. From thirteen years of age to
between twenty-eight and twenty-nine this amounted to about fifteen
years. When I recalled my experiences at about thirty years of
age I realised that the perfection of the martial way was not
just in winning. Fortunately I had continued to win, perhaps because
I had followed natural precepts, or, perhaps it was because all
my opponents were weaker than myself. When I realised The natural
rules of the martial way, I was already fifty years of age".
In other words he had
fought over sixty times and won every time, but only through being
Each fight was very unstable
and he could never summon up the complete confidence to win. After every
fight Musashi reflected upon things and felt emptiness. This made him
develop a higher degree of human character.
He realised and was enlightened
as to how immature and inadequate he was. It was a very similar experience
with the venerated Priest Nichiren. After many years of Buddhist training
at Hieizan Temple he visited the revered Priest Honen. He could not find
enlightenment and confessed to Honen, I am only a human being an cannot
find the true way in life and begged for advice. The famous Chinese philosopher
Koshi (Confucius) says in his analects, I decided to study when I was
fifteen, when I was thirty I became independent, at the age of forty I
discarded hesitation. By fifty I realised my purpose in life and at the
age of sixty I became able to obey matters I heard with my own ears. On
reaching seventy I started to act naturally. One way of explaining, 'In
no way act contrary to ones future' is to become a real human being or
to mould a correct human constitution.
is correct constitution? It is the accomplishment of our own lives.
As children we go to school. We grow up and acquire employment.
Then get married, have children and look after them. This is our
bright future. Having a good job, getting married to an attractive
person. Living in a big house does not always constitute content.
Even if we are materially poor our heart and spirit are fulfilled.
It is form of happiness. Musashi is saying that life is to break
out of ones shell and become independent.