Other Hagakure gems.
Yamamoto Tsunetomo was a samurai in the early 1700s. Forbidden by law from committing tsuifuku (read as 'seppuku', suicide of a retainer after his master's death), he retired to a monestary. Though he never fought in any battles, he nonetheless felt that the samurai of his time had become soft. A younger samurai that visited Yamamoto over the years wrote down his words in the Hagakure. It has been translated many times, including a translation by the famous Japanese author Mishima Yukio.
Quotes of Ghost Dog read from the Hagukure: The way of the Samurai:
- The Way of the Samurai is found in death. Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily. Every day when one's body and mind are at peace, one should meditate upon being ripped apart by arrows, rifles, spears and swords, being carried away by surging waves, being thrown into the midst of a great fire, being struck by lightning, being shaken to death by a great earthquake, falling from thousand-foot cliffs, dying of disease or committing seppuku at the death of one's master. And every day without fail one should consider himself as dead.
- It is bad when one thing becomes two. One should not look for anything else in the Way of the Samurai. It is the same for anything that is called a Way. If one understands things in this manner, he should be able to hear about all ways and be more and more in accord with his own.
- If one were to say in a word what the condition of being a samurai is, its basis lies first in seriously devoting one's body and soul to his master.
- It is a good viewpoint to see the world as a dream. When you have something like a nightmare, you will wake up and tell yourself that it was only a dream. It is said that the world we live in is not a bit different from this.
- In the words of the ancients, one should make his decision within the space of seven breaths. It is a matter of being determined and having the spirit to break through to the other side.
- There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you still get the same soaking. This understanding extends to everything.
- When one has made a decision to kill a person, even if it will be very difficult to succeed by advancing straight ahead, it will not do to think about doing it in a long, roundabout way. One's heart may slacken, he may miss his chance, and by and large there will be no success. The Way of the Samurai is one of immediacy, and it is best to dash in headlong.
- Our bodies are given life from the midst of nothingness. Existing where there is nothing is the meaning of the phrase, ‘Form is emptiness.’ That all things are provided for by nothingness is the meaning of the phrase, ‘Emptiness is form.’ One should not think that these are two separate things.