Soul of the Samurai: Modern Translations of Three Classic Works of Zen & Bushido

Thomas Cleary

Language: English

Pages: 160

ISBN: 4805312912

Format: PDF / Kindle (mobi) / ePub

Soul of the Samurai contains modern translations of three classic works of Zen & Bushido

In Soul of the Samurai bestselling author and respected translator Thomas Cleary reveals the true essence of the Bushido code or Zen warrior teachings according to 17th-century Japanese samurai master Yagyu Munenori and his Zen teacher Takuan Soho.

The three works of Zen Bushido translated in Soul of the Samurai are:

  • The Book of the Sword by Yagyu Munenori
  • The Inscrutable Subtlety of Immovable Wisdom by Takuan Soho
  • The Peerless Sword by Takuan Soho

Yagyu was a renowned swordsman and chief of the Shogun's secret police, while Takuan was the Zen spiritual mentor to the Emperor. This samurai philosophy book contains the first English translations of their seminal writings on Bushido. Cleary not only provides clear and readable translations but comprehensive notes introducing the social, political, and organizational principles that defined Samurai culture—their loyalty to family, their sense of service and duty, and their political strategies for dealing with allies and enemies.

These writings introduce the reader to the authentic world of Zen culture and the secrets behind the Samurai's success—being "in the moment" and freeing the mind from all distractions, allowing you to react instantaneously and instinctively without thinking. In these classic works we learn that Zen mental control and meditational training were as important to the Samurai as swordsmanship and fighting skills.

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move, remaining secure in a passive waiting mode, when you then sneak into the range of the sword, slipping right up to your adversary, and he can no longer hold back and shifts into the aggressive mode, then you induce the adversary to take the initiative, whereupon you let him hit out at you, and thus you strike him down. In any case, you can't win unless your opponent lashes out. Even if an opponent lashes out at you, if you have properly learned how to gauge the margin of safety where you

restored. Similarly in the Zen approach to martial arts, learning postures, moves, and techniques is a matter of expediency for the master of martial arts must be able to respond to situations instantly as they unfold, without stopping to think about postures, moves, and techniques. To express this in terms of your martial art, the moment you see an opponent come with a cutting stroke, if you think of parrying it right then and there, your mind lingers on the opponent's sword that way, so you

mind dwells on something —this is attachment to an image of a phenomenon. If you fixate on forms when you see forms, and activate your mind dwelling on form, then you are a deluded person. If you are detached from forms even as you see forms, and activate the mind without dwelling on forms, then you are an enlightened person. When you activate the mind dwelling on forms, it is like clouds covering the sky; when you activate the mind without dwelling on forms, then you are an enlightened person."

particular, if the parent's own conduct is not correct, it is contradictory to censure the wrongdoing of the child. Straighten yourself first, and then if there is any further controversy, be correct yourself and your younger son will also straighten out by following the example of his older brother. Then father and sons will all be good. That will be auspicious. It is said that taking and leaving should be done justly. Now that you are a favored member of the cabinet, you should never accept

the development of martial arts in Japan, although it did not take the form of a distinct philosophy or religion in Japan as it did in China. Early Taoism in Japan was amalgamated with so-called Shinto, the Spirit Way, Japan's native shamanistic religion. Shinto, like later Taoism, also absorbed much material from esoteric Tantric Buddhism, which includes arts of destruction in its so-called Sinister Way, or Left-Hand Path. While the Sinister Way was formally outlawed by the first military

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