Musashi having his fortune told

All Helytimes readers are familiar with Miyamoto Musashi’s work on strategy in Book Of Five Rings, but some may need to brush up on the Dokkodo, “The Path of Aloneness.”

  1. Accept everything just the way it is.

  2. Do not seek pleasure for its own sake.

  3. Do not, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling.

  4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.

  5. Be detached from desire your whole life long.

  6. Do not regret what you have done.

  7. Never be jealous.

  8. Never let yourself be saddened by a separation.

  9. Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself nor others.

  10. Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love.

  11. In all things have no preferences.

  12. Be indifferent to where you live.

  13. Do not pursue the taste of good food.

  14. Do not hold on to possessions you no longer need.

  15. Do not act following customary beliefs.

  16. Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful.

  17. Do not fear death.

  18. Do not seek to possess either goods or fiefs for your old age.

  19. Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help.

  20. You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honour.

  21. Never stray from the way.


4 Comments on “Musashi”

  1. Vali says:

    Would love a definition of “what is useful” in rule 16.

  2. helytimes says:

    I refer you to rule 1.

  3. Will Holt says:

    Really great advice for aloness; really, really crap advice for life. Also, a little complicated, no? To learn how to fight with one hand, his advice is straightforward — put a sword in each hand. But the Path of Aloness requires 21 steps??? This prefaced my copy of the Five Rings and I almost had to put the book down and be done with it. Fortunately, I didn’t and therefore now know the techniques of Stabbing the Face and Letting Go of Four Hands.

    To all Helytimes readers who are peewees and bantams, Musashi gives the best advice ever on how to body check someone, so take note: “The Body Blow is executed by closing in on your opponent and hitting him with your body the split second before he takes action. Turning your face a little to the side, extend your right shoulder, and hit your opponent’s chest. The action of hitting him should be done with great bodily force, with breathing and rhythm and while being mindful to close in with momentum at the moment of peak tension. When you grasp this way of closing, you will become strong enough to throw a person back a great distance. You will be able to hit him with such strength that he dies [Pretty dominant, no?]. You should practice this well.”

  4. Runners says:

    I don’t know if this is the real Steve Hely or not. I assume the question’s been asked further down the page, but I’m feeling indifferent enough to admit I didn’t check far. Usually I’m more thorough. But I’m tired. Not in a particularly world-weary way, I mean tired in “can’t sleep and it’s 5:10 am and I’m staring at a computer and don’t have to get up early for anything so fuck it” kind of way.

    This isn’t about the above post, though obviously you can follow all the rules you want and still end up feeling alone. Because everyone is alone. Writers are always supposed to feel alone. Anyone with a vague inclination towards creativity or intelligence is probably perpetually alone. I used to think that accountants were bullet-proof on this front, but then my accountant joined a cult. Now he just calls me up about tax stuff I don’t care about but really to ask me how I’m doing, what my family’s up to. He’s not getting me to sign up for the cult, which I find interesting, but just to talk. Jesus.

    Just read How I Became A Famous Novelist. Makes Larry David look wet, which is hard to do. And thanks for giving us Australians a better-than-usual stereotype. By the way, everyone here hates VB and XXXX beer. Everything we eat and consume and do is American. I traveled across America quite a bit and there’s really no difference between here and there, except at home here I can no longer politely ask restaurant staff if I can use their toilet. I say “bathroom” because once in America I asked where the toilets were and someone looked at me like I just explained in detail my faecal movements.

    Until yesterday, I was having an affair with a married novelist. Not my finest moment but certainly not my worst. (Hey! It turns out I followed numbers 6, 7 and 15, broke 10 and a few others, but strangely kept following 4, 1, and 9… well, 9 until now, I suppose.) Since this is anonymous, no point in lying: I was in love with him. Him, actually, not his books, which I liked. Like.

    Saw him at a book reading 15 years ago, the second and final “writer event” I ever attended. Now, at age 36 but being one of those lucky bitches who look a lot younger, I was recognized by him as “that girl in the crowd in the purple skirt I wanted to follow so badly”. I thought it was a joke when he contacted me after all this time. Why would anyone want to contact or remember me or anyone for that matter?

    And then secret meet-ups, both of us being too stupidly moral and soft to take it beyond second base, constant misgivings about the crushed-by-life wife in the background, feelings which for my part faded by the end. Clutching hands and talking over the top of each other in a rush to get everything out in the time we had. (I did most of the talking.) Huh. The fact is that he is a good writer, as well as a good teacher about writing, so he has all the weapons at his disposal to syrup-string me along for a good banging. Except, as I came to realize with shock, he didn’t do any of this. He was, incredibly, in awe of me. I wrote comedy pieces for Australia’s poor answer to The Onion (The Chaser) and was stiffed on pay. I worked for Essay Experts while I lived in North America for two years (O Canada!) and did not tell him this. I justified it to myself by deliberately writing up papers that could not possibly have been written by an international Japanese student with no grasp of English, and I admit I grinned when the company was exposed and got all this negative press. And I never told him about this part because I was ashamed of doing it.

    I’m not that into jealousy. I’m not that into seeing people in a nasty way. Something about me comes off as high-spirited old-soulness somehow, by the way, which may or may not be true at that particular moment. No, mostly I’m good at cognitive dissonance and patiently waiting and I find people interesting. This seems to be enough to make me pass as an alright person. It all also put together the workings of someone – who usually sees married people as strange, separate beings who signed a religious contract years ago without remembering that business contracts always have to be adjusted for change – who could have an affair with THIS married person. Who happened to be a writer.

    I only ever told one person, a male friend of mine called Matt with dual US-Australian citizenship, born in Virginia but believing Australians buy it when claiming to be from northern New York, and the owner of the most cunning and liberal thinking of anyone I ever met. “Nothing ever good comes out of having an affair – ever. Don’t do it, stop it now” was his emailed advice. He was disappointed in me. I overrated his liberal traits and underrated his secretly religious or moral core. I probably should be disappointed in me, but I’m not. Sad, yeah, but not vengeful, not jealous, not wanting to hurt anyone really.

    Yes, I’m disappointed in how it turned out. Sort of. Isn’t it awful – I would say I was in love with this guy, still am, but I can see a time coming very soon – maybe in a week or so – where I can downgrade this to “a passing adoration” and then eventually “a sad affair and I hope he’s alright, because I am.” A quick turn-over of a seemingly fickle woman is in sight. However, what people don’t get is that lying to yourself is very easy. All you do is rewrite your memories. When he suggested we end it, suffocating on guilt and obviously not intending on leaving his wife ever, I knew what I had to do. I had to be a writer again, but print the words in my brain and believe them. Anything he ever said to me that seemed true will be consciously rewritten in my memory as the cunning act of an older man to lure in a hot younger body. Or any concern he ever expressed was really him thinking of a way of backing out of the whole thing because he got sick of it early. I was a burden to him, really, and when he thinks back on me with disgust he can feel like skipping and dancing around the room because at least no one found out.

    This is just a few themes out of hundreds of events or statements I will rewrite to protect myself. And I actually hope some of it is true because he’ll be feeling less like shit right now. Because he’s got it bad enough already, I think. I gave up on writing seriously years ago. Thank God, because right now I would be pulling my hair out of my head. Most stuff at the top of the best-seller list is crap, and editors are now marketers and almost everything you learn about the world of contemporary literature in How I Became A Famous Novelist is true. Oh yeah, and a lot of good agents are being made redundant. The only person who is a real editor and lover of books left with any seeming pull is Gary Fisketjon. Good on you, Gary.

    I’m so glad we have the internet, really. You’re allowed to be a self-indulgent arsehole like I’m being right now. You’re allowed to write into the void.

    The real Steve Hely should write some more novels.

    New Game of Thrones episode tomorrow (Aussie time). Awesome.

    And back to my main point: I’m out of weed. It’s been weeks. Someone send me some? Cheers.

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