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February 18, 2007

Simplicity of Zen has always facinated me. Practicing Zen is same as breathing or working or eating. Zen, they say is way of life. When you eat, just eat. When you walk, just walk. When you sit, just sit. Your body knows how to do that already. When you play tennis, just play tennis. Approach the situation for what it is, and nothing more. Whether you like it or not is irrelevant. I would like to share an itneresting parable about Zen monks:


A Zen story illustrates this: Two monks were travelling in the rain, the mud sloshing under their feet. As they passed a river crossing, they saw a beautiful woman, finely dressed, unable to cross because of the mud. Without a word, the older monk simply picked up the woman and carried her to the other side.
The younger monk, seemingly agitated for the rest of their journey, could not contain himself once they reached their destination. He exploded at the older monk. “How could you, a monk, even consider holding a woman in your arms, much less a young and beautiful one? It is against our teachings. It is dangerous.”
“I put her down at the roadside, “said the older monk. “Are you still carrying her?”

Now, why am i talking about Zen … Coz i recently finished a book titled “Book of Five rings” by a great samurai warrior Miyamoto Musash, who in this book sets down the secretes of his legendary success – timeless principles of craft, skill , timing and spirit athat result in vctory. His emphasis on strategic thinking, concentration, appropriate catuion, choice of weapon, and the work ethic. Book talks about the Japanese approach to life and Zen forms the central part of most of the Japanese philosophies. This book is widely read by American business community as a text on Japanese management techniques. Finally as the book says that practicing Heiho (Musashi’s way of living and doing things)

“You can attain an understanding with which to win against ten thousand.”

It is said that beginnning at the age of thriteen, Musashi had bouts with sixty swordsmen before the age of thirty, and he never lost in any of these individual encounters. However, practicing Heiho demands a lot of discipline and focus. Musashi lists down NINE conditions before you actually start practicing Heiho:


He who wishes to undertake the study of my Heiho should be aware of the following:

FIRST: Do not harbour sinister designs.
SECOND: Diligently pursue the path of Niten Ichiryu (school of two swords)
THIRD: Cultivate a wide range of interests in the arts.
FOURTH: Be knowledgeable in a variety of occupation.
FIFTH: Be discreet regarding one’s commercial dealings.
SIXTH: Nurture the ability to perceive the truth in all matters.
SEVENTH: Perceive that which cannot be seen with the eye.
EIGHTH: Do not be negligent, even in trifling matters.
NINTH: Do not engage in useless activity.

So, Winning throughout life is no piece of cake …. Are you game for it?


2 Comments leave one →
  1. Namrata permalink
    February 20, 2007 11:39 am

    This was a good article and gave a good insight on the practices of one of the great leader. Undoubtedly the nine principles of miyamoto can be the key to our success if we follow each and every word of it diligently. Thankx SID for bringing the priniciples of Miyamoto to our knowledge

  2. May 13, 2009 4:01 am

    Good, concise article, and something to think about.

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