The Samurai Creed

I hear the internets!

Every once in a while (well, quite often actually), I come across something on the internet that someone somewhere has seen as valuable enough to archive in the biggest free information mess history has ever known.

A couple days back I came across the “Samurai Creed.”  Back when I was just getting into the severe geek out over martial arts, I got a lot out of the creed, meditating on it, studying it, seeing where it applied to my life.

It seems to happen often that such material goes through a cyclical path through my life.  When the creed surfaced again a few days ago, I happily read it, and was struck by loads of new material and insights concealed in it’s verse.

“Based on Confucian, Shinto, Buddhist and Zen principles, the samurai developed a code which came to be known as ‘bushido’ or the Way of the Warrior. The Samurai Creed, believed to have been written by an anonymous warrior in the 14th century, depicts the fusion between these religious elements and their influence on the Bushido.” ~ 3quarksdaily

Without further ado, I add my effort to archiving the creed on the inter-tubes.  I hope you get as much out of it as I do!

I have no parents; I make the Heavens and the Earth my parents.

I have no home; I make the Tan T’ien my home.

I have no divine power; I make honesty my Divine Power.

I have no means; I make Docility my means.

I have no magic power; I make personality my Magic Power.

I have neither life nor death; I make A-Um my Life and Death.

I have no body; I make Stoicism my Body.

I have no eyes; I make The Flash of Lightning my eyes.

I have no ears; I make Sensibility my Ears.

I have no limbs; I make Promptitude my Limbs.

I have no laws; I make Self-Protection my Laws.

I have no strategy; I make the Right to Kill and the Right to Restore Life my Strategy.

I have no designs; I make Seizing the Opportunity by the Forelock my Designs.

I have no miracles; I make Righteous Laws my Miracle.

I have no principles; I make Adaptability to all circumstances my Principle.

I have no tactics; I make Emptiness and Fullness my Tactics.

I have no talent; I make Ready Wit my Talent.

I have no friends; I make my Mind my Friend.

I have no enemy; I make Incautiousness my Enemy.

I have no armour; I make Benevolence my Armour.

I have no castle; I make Immovable Mind my Castle.

I have no sword; I make No Mind my Sword.

Tip For Getting Out Of The Then

A friend asked me this morning for a practice for staying out of thoughts about the past, and spinning out on hyper-analytical dissection of previous events.  In other words, “getting out of the then.”  I thought others might dig it and find it useful, so here it is:

Steps for getting back to here and now:

  1. Take a breath. A nice deep long one like all the books on relaxation tell you to.  Inhale slowly, pause for a heart beat and the exhale gentle and long and deep.
  2. Scan the body. From mindfulness-style meditation do a scan, top to bottom, or bottom to top of the sensations in your body, not your mind.
  3. Ask yourself, “What is actually happening right now?” Then answer the question with the first impression that makes itself known.  This morning when I did that the answer was, “Soft light coming in through the window.”

That’s it.  The real secret is to make this a habit.  When we have a habit of past-sifting or future-tripping, the solution (like for all habits) is to employ a counter-habit.  Use a practice regularly enough that it becomes something we do naturally.  Eventually, in this way, the new habit will overtake the old one.

We are creatures of habit, and we can use that to our advantage!

Find a habit you don’t like and give it the one-two combination of a conscious and planned counter-habit repeated many times.