These Miyamoto Musashi quotes will remind you to look beyond yourself.
Miyamoto Musashi was born in a small Japanese province. He was the son of a farmer but was much more adept at the art of swordsmanship.
There are a lot of theories surrounding the lineage and birth records of Miyamoto Musashi. There are conflicting tombstones, birth years, and divorce records, so it is hard to know much about his early life.
However, when Musashi was 7, he went to live with his uncle. His uncle taught the young boy to read, write, and understand the basic Buddhist principles.
Miyamoto claimed that he fought his first duel (he would fight 66) at the age of thirteen, writing:
“I have trained in the way of strategy since my youth, and at the age of thirteen, I fought a duel for the first time. My opponent was called Arima Kihei, a sword adept of the Shinto ryū, and I defeated him.
At the age of sixteen, I defeated a powerful adept by the name of Akiyama, who came from Tajima Province. At the age of twenty-one, I went up to Kyōtō and fought duels with several adepts of the sword from famous schools, but I never lost.”
Miyamoto related a lot of his philosophical beliefs to swordsmanship, strategy, and battle. These Miyamoto Musashi quotes instruct that we look beyond ourselves and what we see.
While you may not be fighting duels with swords daily, his words can influence your life.
Don’t forget to also check out these Japanese quotes and proverbs on wise everyday life.
Miyamoto Musashi quotes that remind us to look beyond ourselves
1. “Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
2. “There is nothing outside of yourself that can ever enable you to get better, stronger, richer, quicker, or smarter. Everything is within. Everything exists. Seek nothing outside of yourself.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
3. “It is difficult to understand the universe if you only study one planet.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
4. “Perceive that which cannot be seen with the eye.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
5. “Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
6. “All men are the same except for their belief in their own selves, regardless of what others may think of them.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
7. “A man cannot understand the art he is studying if he only looks for the end result without taking the time to delve deeply into the reasoning of the study.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
8. “Perception is strong and sight is weak. In strategy, it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
9. “Determine that today you will overcome yourself of the day before, tomorrow you will win over those of lesser skill, and later you will win over those of greater skill.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
10. “With your spirit open and unconstricted, look at things from a high point of view.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
Miyamoto Musashi quotes on life advice
11. “Do not regret what you have done.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
12. “Do nothing that is of no use.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
13. “You may abandon your own body, but you must preserve your honor.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
14. “Step by step, walk the thousand-mile road.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
15. “Develop intuitive judgment and understanding for everything.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
16. “Become acquainted with every art.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
17. “Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
18. “I choose to live by choice, not by chance.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
19. “Though you give up your life, do not give up your honor.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
20. “Do not let the body be dragged along by mind nor be dragged along by the body.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
Philosophical Miyamoto Musashi quotes
21. “Get beyond love and grief: exist for the good of Man.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
22. “Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
23. “You must understand that there is more than one path to the top of the mountain.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
24. “If you know the way broadly you will see it in everything.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
25. “What I call the void is where nothing exists. It is about things outside man’s knowledge.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
26. “Of course, the void does not exist. By knowing what exists, you can know that which does not exist. That is the void.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
27. “If you are not progressing along the true way, a slight twist in the mind can become a major twist. This must be pondered well.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
28. “The essential is to think that anything you are doing has to become the occasion for slashing. You must examine this well.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
29. “It is said the warrior is the twofold Way of pen and sword, and he should have a taste for both Ways.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
30. “If there isn’t discipline, how can there be a true realization of an ideal?” ― Miyamoto Musashi
31. “Truth is not what you want it to be; it is what it is, and you must bend to its power or live a lie.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
32. “Anyone can give up, it’s the easiest thing in the world to do. But to hold it together when everyone else would understand if you fell apart, that’s true strength.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
33. “One thousand days of lessons for discipline; ten thousand days of lessons for mastery.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
34. “This Fudo Myo-o, whose name means “Immovable Wisdom King,” is represented with a sword to cut through our ignorance and a rope to bind up our emotions.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
Miyamoto Musashi quotes about battles and enemies
35. “From one thing, know ten thousand things.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
36. “In battle, if you make your opponent flinch, you have already won.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
37. “You can only fight the way you practice.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
38. “If you do not control the enemy, the enemy will control you.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
39. “The important thing in strategy is to suppress the enemy’s useful actions but allow his useless actions.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
40. “The only reason a warrior is alive is to fight, and the only reason a warrior fights is to win.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
41. “To become the enemy, see yourself as the enemy of the enemy.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
42. “Know your enemy, know his sword.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
43. “When you decide to attack, keep calm and dash in quickly, forestalling the enemy… attack with a feeling of constantly crushing the enemy, from first to last.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
If you’re enjoying these quotes, you’ll love our collection of enemy quotes that will make you want to cut ties with your frenemies.
44. “When your opponent is hurrying recklessly, you must act contrarily and keep calm. You must not be influenced by the opponent.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
45. “One must make the warrior walk his everyday walk.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
Miyamoto Musashi quotes about strategy
46. “In strategy, it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
47. “In strategy, it is necessary to treat training as part of normal life with your spirit unchanging.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
48. “Immature strategy is the cause of grief.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
49. “Study strategy over the years and achieve the spirit of the warrior.” ― Miyamoto Musashi
50. “When you cannot be deceived by me, you will have realized the wisdom of strategy.”― Miyamoto Musashi
What did you learn from these Miyamoto Musashi quotes?
Later in his life, Miyamoto wrote The Book of Five Rings. It is primarily a book about martial arts. However, business leaders use it for conflict resolution. Hyōhō Niten Ichi-ryū, the school started by Musashi, uses it to teach technique and philosophy.
There is a lot of value to be found in Musashi’s philosophy, even if most of us don’t engage in martial arts with swords. He reminds us to keep going and never give up, becoming a true testament of strength.
Musashi also explains the importance of understanding the process and doing the work instead of focusing solely on the goal, something I always need to be reminded of!
Which of these Miyamoto Musashi quotes and sayings resonated the most with you? Let us know in the comments below!
November 12, 2020 7:00 AM EST