Author Topic: Book of Void, The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi  (Read 4898 times)

Offline zen-zen

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Book of Void, The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi
« on: October 09, 2010, 10:01:07 am »
I can not express myself clearly about this text because it's simply too awesome. It's been like this for more than 15 years now with the book of the void. Please read carefully and tell me what you think. So here it goes:

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The Ni To Ichi Way of strategy is recorded in this the Book of the Void.

What is called the spirit of the void is where there is nothing. It is not included in man's knowledge. Of course the void is nothingness. By knowing things that exist, you can know that which does not exist. That is the void.

People in this world look at things mistakenly, and think that what they do not understand must be the void. This is not the true void. It is bewilderment.

In the Way of strategy, also, those who study as warriors think that whatever they cannot understand in their craft is the void. This is not the true void.

To attain the Way of strategy as a warrior you must study fully other martial arts and not deviate even a little from the Way of the warrior. With your spirit settled, accumulate practice day by day, and hour by hour. Polish the twofold spirit heart and mind, and sharpen the twofold gaze perception and sight. When your spirit is not in the least clouded, when the clouds of bewilderment clear away, there is the true void.

Until you realise the true Way, whether in Buddhism or in common sense, you may think that things are correct and in order. However, if we look at things objectively, from the viewpoint of laws of the world, we see various doctrines departing from the true Way. Know well this spirit, and with forthrightness as the foundation and the true spirit as the Way. Enact strategy broadly, correctly and openly.

Then you will come to think of things in a wide sense and, taking the void as the Way, you will see the Way as void.

In the void is virtue, and no evil. Wisdom has existance, principle has existance, the Way has existance, spirit is nothingness.

Twelfth day of the fifth month, second year of Shoho (1645)
Teruro Magonojo
SHINMEN MUSASHI

Offline Bodhicandra

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Re: Book of Void, The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi
« Reply #1 on: October 09, 2010, 01:08:23 pm »

To attain the Way of strategy as a warrior you must study fully other martial arts and not deviate even a little from the Way of the warrior. With your spirit settled, accumulate practice day by day, and hour by hour. Polish the twofold spirit heart and mind, and sharpen the twofold gaze perception and sight. When your spirit is not in the least clouded, when the clouds of bewilderment clear away, there is the true void.


This reminds me of when I was lucky enough, while on a business trip to Japan, to take a day off on the Japanese National Culture Day and visit a Buddhist temple in Kamakura. There (just in front of the bungalow where D T Suzuki wrote his books on Buddhism) was a Zen archery school. I spent about an hour just watching the archers, who seem to go into a meditative state, just like that described above, before - with no external warning - suddenly letting loose with amazing accuracy.


Please read carefully and tell me what you think.

Trying to be really brief:

1)  Void == Emptiness (as in Heart Sutra).

2) Obvious comparison with Chogyam Trungpa Rinpoche's "Shambabaha - the Way of the Warrior" - in which it is clear the the "warrior" is not just / not necessarily a fighter, but rather someone who has a determination to realize and act in accordance with the 'good',

3) Clear links to Dzoghen and other aspects of Secret Yoga in the Tibetan traditions.

4) "True spirit": echoes of The Tao / Dao?
"Your first task on the path is to learn to stop being a nuisance to the world"
adapted from Chögyam Trungpa Rinpoche

Offline zen-zen

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Re: Book of Void, The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi
« Reply #2 on: October 10, 2010, 07:02:02 am »
pretty much my thoughts also.

So few have commented that the writing must be exceptionally good. Such quiet acceptance is seldom seen here. ;)

Offline catmoon

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Re: Book of Void, The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi
« Reply #3 on: October 10, 2010, 07:28:23 am »
pretty much my thoughts also.

So few have commented that the writing must be exceptionally good. Such quiet acceptance is seldom seen here. ;)

Well, if I wrote a piece about the importance of Mormonism in Buddhism, and how Joseph Smith and the Zetans were crucial elements of Mahamudra, I might be greeted with polite silence as well.
Sergeant Schultz was onto something.

Offline Sunya

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Re: Book of Void, The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi
« Reply #4 on: November 14, 2010, 05:40:43 pm »
The void, at least as I understand it, is not a complete nothingness as implied by Musashi in this text (or rather, implied by the translator). Although I can only base my interpretation on this translated excerpt, what he calls the void does not seem to be the concept of emptiness that usually appears in Buddhist texts, but perhaps rather a permutation thereof, expressed in the limited capacity of the English language. He (at least as the translator makes it appear) equates the void with knowing that which does not exist. This tends to lead people to think of absolute non-existence rather than relative non-existence, and this difference is what I see as the main flaw in most Western translations of traditional works. The nature of "non-existence" is not specified, and is instead left open to interpretation. When most of us hear that something does not exist, or that there is nothingness, we think of it in an absolute sense. Musashi may very well mean relative non-existence, in which case his voidness is indeed the Buddha’s voidness, at least as far as I understand it. But to interpret nothingness as an absolute, as in the case of Nietschean nihilism, is a fatal mistake, in my opinion.
 
In my experience, emptiness/voidness is a lack of inherent existence, a lack of absolute existence. One can say that nothing exists [inherently]. Nothing exists in and of itself, in completely its own right. This isn't an absolute nothingness. As I see it, it is an interconnectedness. Without its supporting causes and conditions, there would be nothing. I believe Musashi makes a valid point, but the translation is misleading.

Offline Wednesday

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Re: Book of Void, The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi
« Reply #5 on: December 21, 2010, 01:54:16 pm »
Miyamoto said something along the lines of lack of evil, principle and existence

 


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