The 9 Fundamental Samurai Rules of Life

Miyamoto Musashi wrote on a scroll the most important rules to keep with you in any situation.

Alexandre Porto


Musashi rules for life
Image by the Author — Samurai Miyamoto Musashi sitting meditating in front of the sun

Samurais were the warrior class of Japan. With time the wars became less violent and frequent and this fighting class stopped focusing so much on the science of battling and started trying to figure out how to apply the lessons of the Art of War transmitted throughout many generations of samurai in the ordinary peaceful life.

If you master one art you art all others, this is why the samurai went through a transition in which the warriors put the sword aside to take a pencil to draw, practice calligraphy and write. Other samurai masters enjoy music, games, or other artistic endeavors.

Miyamoto Musashi is often regarded as the most famous samurai of Japan. He lived around the year 1600 and in 1643 he sat down to immortalize the instinctive knowledge he acquired around his years dueling other swordsmen and living a life dedicated to Martial Art. In what we call now the Book of Five Rings, Musashi details with a simple and direct style, his thoughts on the most important things that anyone should know when navigating life.

In the first pages of the Book of Five Rings, Musashi mentions the 9 most important rules anyone should know to learn his art and live a more successful life. Think carefully about each one of the topics and you may notice that they peel like the layers of an onion that always gives way to more and more layers.

To apply the lessons contained in his book, Musashi believes that the reader should read the rules and consider them carefully. Just going through each one of the 9 points in the following list is in itself already a life-long journey, but I do believe that it must be done if we wish to live a more accomplished life:

Rules for Learning The Art:

1 — Think of what is right and true;

2 — Practice and cultivate the science;

3 — Become acquainted with the arts;

4 — Know the principles of the crafts;

5 — Understand the harm and benefit in everything;

6 — Learn to see everything accurately;

7 — Become aware of what is not obvious;

8 — Be careful even in small matters;

9 — Do not do anything useless.

Thanks for reading, I hope you appreciated this article!



Alexandre Porto

Pieces of the integral man. Specialist in the responsible use of psychedelics.