Yamamoto Tsunetomo Quotes | Quotes by Yamamoto Tsunetomo

1If a retainer will just think about what he is to do for the day at hand, he will be able to do anything. If it is a single day's work, one should be able to put up with it. Tomorrow, too is but a single day.

2Be true to the thought of the moment and avoid distraction. Other than continuing to exert yourself, enter into nothing else, but go to the extent of living single thought by single thought.

3An affected laugh shows lack of self-respect in a man and lewdness in a woman. It is carelessness to go about with one's hands inside the slits in the sides of his hakama.

4There 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 will still get the same soaking. This understanding extends to everything.

5It is better not to become acquainted with men about whom you have formerly had doubts. No matter what you do, they will be people by whom you will be tripped up or taken in.

6A person who is discreet in speaking will be useful during the good times and will avoid punishment during the bad.

7If one is but secure at the foundation, he will not be pained by departure from minor details or affairs that are contrary to expectation. But in the end, the details of a matter are important. The right and wrong of one's way of doing things are found in trivial matters.

8Covetousness, anger and foolishness are things to sort out well. When bad things happen in the world, if you look at them comparatively, they are not unrelated to these three things.

9As long as people overlook matters, then inferiors can, without any fear, lead an easy and peaceful life.

10Purity is something that cannot be attained except by piling effort upon effort.

Yamamoto Tsunetomo Quotes

11If a warrior is not unattached to life and death, he will be of no use whatsoever. The saying that 鈥淎ll abilities come from one mind鈥?sounds as though it has to do with sentient matters, but it is in fact a matter of being unattached to life and death. With such non-attachment one can accomplish any feat.

12The heart of a virtuous person has settled down and he does not rush about at things. A person of little merit is not at peace but walks about making trouble and is in conflict with all.

13When delivering something like an important letter or other written materials, grasp it firmly in your hand as you go and do not release it once, but hand it over directly to the recipient.

14The way of the Samurai is found in death.

15The Four Oaths: Never be late with respect to the way of the warrior; be useful to the lord; be respectful to your parents; get beyond love and grief: exist for the good of man.

16What is called generosity is really compassion. In the Shin'ei it is written "Seen from the eye of compassion, there is noone to be disliked. One who has sinned is to be pitied all the more." There is no limit to the breadth and depth of ones heart. There is room enough for all. That we still worship the sages of the three ancient kingdoms is because their compassion reaches us yet today.

17When confronted with two alternatives, life and death, one is to choose death without hesitation.

18A warrior is worthless unless he rises above others and stands strong in the midst of a storm.

19To desire with one鈥檚 very soul every second of every day to accomplish one鈥檚 aim.

20One should be wary of talking on end about such subjects as learning, morality or folklore in front of elders or people of rank. It is disagreeable to listen to.

Yamamoto Tsunetomo Quotes

21Singlemindedness is all-powerful.

22Matters of small concern should be treated seriously.

23There is not a man who does not get senile by the time he reaches sixty. And when one thinks that he will not be senile, he is already so.

24In the eyes of mercy, no one should have hateful thoughts. Feel pity for the man who is even more at fault. The area and size of mercy is limitless.

25It is a principle of the art of war that one should simply lay down his life and strike. If one's opponent also does the same, it is a even match. Defeating one's opponent is then a matter of faith and destiny.

26The person who practices an art is an artist, not a samurai, and one should have the intention of being called a samurai.

27When one is writing a letter, he should think that the recipient will make it into a hanging scroll.

28Everyone lets the present moment slip by, then looks for it as though he thought it were somewhere else.

29As everything in this world is but a sham, Death is the only sincerity.

30To give a person an opinion one must first judge well whether that person is of the disposition to receive it or not.

Yamamoto Tsunetomo Quotes

31Even if one's head were to be suddenly cut off, he should be able to do one more action with certainty.

32You cannot tell whether a person is good or bad by his vicissitudes in life. Good and bad fortune are matters of fate.

33Meditation on inevitable death should be performed daily. Every day when one鈥檚 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鈥檚 master. And every day without fail one should consider himself as dead

34When 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 going at 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.

35By inconsistency and frivolity we stray from the Way and show ourselves to be beginners. In this we do much harm.

36By being impatient, matters are damaged and great works cannot be done

37All of man鈥檚 work is a bloody business. That fact, today, is considered foolish, affairs are finished cleverly with words alone, and jobs that require effort are avoided. I would like young men to have some understanding of this.

38Go ahead and gamble a lie. A person who will not tell you seven lies within a hundred yards is useless as a man.

39If you are slain in battle, you should be resolved to have your corpse facing the enemy.

40By bringing shame to a person, how could one expect to make him a better man?

Yamamoto Tsunetomo Quotes

41Continue to spur a running horse.

42There is one transcending level, and this is the most excellent of all. This person is aware of the endlessness of entering deeply into a certain Way and never thinks of himself as having finished.

43It is said that what is called "the spirit of an age" is something to which one cannot return. That this spirit gradually dissipates is due to the world's coming to an end. For this reason, although one would like to change today's world back to the spirit of one hundred years or more ago, it cannot be done. Thus it is important to make the best out of every generation.

44It 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.

45Even if it seems certain that you will lose, retaliate. Neither wisdom nor technique has a place in this. A real man does not think of victory or defeat. He plunges recklessly towards an irrational death. By doing this, you will awaken from your dreams.

46Not to borrow the strength of another, nor to rely on one's own strength; to cut off past and future thoughts, and not to live within the everyday mind... then the Great Way is right before your eyes.

47Having only wisdom and talent is the lowest tier of usefulness.

48In China there was once a man who liked pictures of dragons, and his clothing and furnishings were all designed accordingly. His deep affection for dragons was brought to the attention of the dragon god, and onde day a real dragon appeared before his window. It is said that he died of fright. He was probably a man who always spoke big words but acted differently when facing the real thing.

49Our 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 seperate things.

50I have found that the Way of the samurai is death. This means that when you are compelled to choose between life and death, you must quickly choose death.

Yamamoto Tsunetomo Quotes

51Sincerity does not only complete the self; it is the means by which all things are completed. As the self is completed, there is human-heartedness; as things are completed, there is wisdom. This is the virtue of one鈥檚 character, and the Way of joining the internal and external. Thus, when we use this, everything is correct.

52It is not good to settle into a set of opinions. It is a mistake to put forth effort and obtain some understanding and then stop at that. At first putting forth great effort to be sure that you have grasped the basics, then practicing so that they may come to fruition is something that will never stop for your whole lifetime. Do not rely on following the degree of understanding that you have discovered, but simply think, "This is not enough."

53A real man does not think of victory or defeat. He plunges recklessly towards an irrational death.

54It is difficult for a fool's habits to change to selflessness.

55All abilities come from one mind

56Everyone lets the present moment slip by, then looks for it as though he thought it was somewhere else. No one seems to have noticed this fact. But grasping this firmly, one must pile experience upon experience. And once one has come to this understanding he will be a different person from that point on, though he may not always bare it in mind. When one understands this settling into single-mindedness well, his affairs will thin out.

57Nothing is impossible in this world. Firm determination, it is said, can move heaven and earth. Things appear far beyond one's power, because one cannot set his heart on any arduous project due to want of strong will.

58A samurai will use a toothpick even though he has not eaten. Inside the skin of a dog, outside the hide of a tiger.

59Human life is truly a short affair. It is better to live doing the things that you like.

60There is surely nothing other than the single purpose of the present moment. A man's whole life is a succession of moment after moment. There will be nothing else to do, and nothing else to pursue. Live being true to the single purpose of the moment.