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Buddhism versus the Dokkodo of Miyamoto Musashi


Be Here Now– photo by Harald Lepisk courtesy of

The Dokkodo (The Way I go alone) of Miyamoto Musashi has many parallels to the Buddhist rules.  To take the most important example for me, the first of his  Nine Rules is “Do not think dishonestly.”  This is similar to “Don’t lie”, which is high on the Buddhist lists.  It doesn’t say, though, not to lie to other people, but what is more important to me, don’t lie to yourself.  Or, as another philosopher has said, first be true to yourself, then you can’t be untrue to anyone else.

There are also rules against sexual misconduct, although the Dokkodo has it in more personal terms.  There, he says, don’t have sexual thoughts, don’t crave things that are pleasurable.

I don’t see any rules in Musashi against killing people; that’s to be understood in relation to the Bushido (samurai code) of killing lots of people, especially your opponents in battle and commoners who annoy you.  Consistent with the killing philosophy, the Dokkodo says “Weapons are of the highest importance.”

Buddhists are clear that you’re not supposed to kill or harm anyone.  We see, however, many people who are nominally Buddhist attacking others in society who oppose them– so there is some hypocrisy there.

There is no rule in Musashi against stealing, but there are rules about not wanting things that you don’t need.  You don’t need to steal if you don’t want anything.

The Dokkodo says, in a distinct difference from Buddhism, “I will honor Buddha and the gods, but I will expect nothing from them.”

Even more important to me, Miyamoto Mushashi’s nine rules say: “Pay attention even to trifles” but “Do nothing which is of no use.”

Thus I’m ending this post now, to avoid doing something which is not really useful: talking too much.

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