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20 Quotes From the Book of Five Rings (Miyamoto Musashi)

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  • April 19, 2024
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  • 6 min read


In martial arts, strategy, and philosophy, few texts are as revered and time-tested as Miyamoto Musashi’s The Book of Five Rings. Composed in the 17th century by the undefeated samurai Miyamoto Musashi, this work has transcended its initial audience and era, offering relevant wisdom.

The quotes from the Book of Five Rings are about combat and navigating life’s challenges with grace and strategy. Here, we get into 20 quotes from this seminal work, exploring their timeless insights for personal growth and understanding.

1. “Do not think dishonestly.”

From the beginning, Musashi emphasizes the importance of integrity in our actions and thoughts. This principle goes beyond martial arts; it’s about living life with authenticity and honesty. When one goes deeper into such principles, it not only enriches our understanding of Musashi’s teachings but also broadens the book writing scope for those interested in exploring the interconnectedness of martial philosophy and personal integrity.

2. “The Way is in training.”

Musashi believed in the continuous pursuit of excellence. He says mastery in any field is achieved through relentless practice and dedication. This quote reminds us that progress is a perpetual journey, not a destination.

3. “Become acquainted with every art.”

The versatility of knowledge was a key principle for Musashi. He advocated for learning broadly, suggesting that understanding various arts and skills enriches our lives and enhances our ability to navigate the world.

4. “Know the Ways of all professions.”

Similar to the previous quote, this advice underlines the value of diverse knowledge. Musashi’s perspective encourages us to look beyond our expertise, fostering adaptability and creativity.

5. “Perceive those things which cannot be seen.”

This quote speaks to the power of intuition and insight. Musashi believed in sensing the subtle, unspoken, and unseen forces in life and combat, hinting at deeper awareness and understanding.

6. “Pay attention even to trifles.”

No detail is too small in the path of mastery. This quote from Musashi reminds us that attentiveness to even the slightest aspects can make a significant difference in our outcomes, encouraging mindfulness in all we do.

7. “Do nothing which is of no use.”

Efficiency and purposefulness were paramount to Musashi. This advice urges us to focus only on actions that bring value, avoiding wastefulness in our efforts and thoughts.

8. “Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.”

Humility and concern for the broader context of our actions are at the heart of this teaching. Musashi encourages us to look beyond our immediate desires and consider our actions’ wider implications and contributions. Reflecting on such wisdom is not just a matter of philosophical inquiry but a crucial component of our book writing journey. It challenges us to think deeply about the values and principles that guide us.

9. “In all things have no preferences.”

Flexibility and an open mind are valuable traits that this quote promotes. By having no strict preferences, we become adaptable to the changing circumstances of life, ready to make the most of what comes our way.

10. “Be indifferent to where you live.”

Musashi’s lifestyle as a wandering samurai might have influenced this perspective. It suggests a detachment from material conditions, emphasizing the importance of inner contentment and adaptability.

11. “Do not pursue the taste of good food.”

While this quote might seem to advocate for Spartan simplicity, it’s more about not letting our desires control us. Musashi believed in discipline and the ability to enjoy life without being enslaved by our appetites.

12. “Do not hold on to possessions you no longer need.”

Minimalism and detachment from material goods were principles Musashi practiced and preached. This quote reminds us of the freedom that comes from letting go of clutter, both physical and emotional.

13. “Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help.”

Musashi was spiritual but also practical. This quote encourages us to have faith and take personal responsibility for our actions and their outcomes.

14. “You may abandon your body, but you must preserve your honor.”

Honor and personal integrity were non-negotiable for Musashi. This teaching stresses the importance of maintaining one’s principles, even when facing the greatest challenges.

15. “Never stray from the Way.”

The “Way” represents the path of discipline, improvement, and righteousness. Musashi’s admonition is a call to stay true to our values and commitments, relentlessly pursuing our personal and professional growth.

This emphasis on steadfast dedication not only shapes a disciplined mind but also underlines the critical importance of informative content writing in documenting and sharing the journey of self-improvement.

16. “All men are the same except for their belief in their selves, regardless of what others may think of them.”

Self-belief and confidence are vital, according to Musashi. He recognized that the foundation of personal strength lies in one’s self-perception.

17. “It is difficult to understand the universe if you only study one planet.”

This quote emphasizes the importance of broad learning and perspective. Musashi encourages us to explore widely, acknowledging that deep understanding comes from comparing and contrasting varied experiences and bodies of knowledge.

18. “The primary thing when you take a sword in your hands is your intention to cut the enemy, whatever the means. Whenever you parry, hit, spring, strike, or touch the enemy’s cutting sword, you must cut the enemy in the same movement.”

Here, Musashi highlights the unity of intention and action. This quote underscores the importance of decisive action and commitment in every move we make, literally in battle and metaphorically in life.

19. “In strategy, it is important to see distant things as if they were close and to take a distanced view of close things.”

A strategic perspective is crucial, according to Musashi. This wisdom reminds us to consider both the big picture and the minutiae, understanding that both perspectives are necessary for informed decision-making.

20. “If you know the Way broadly, you will see it in everything.”

This last one of the quotes from the book of Five Rings, one of the favorites of the book writing founders team, is this one. This quote captures the essence of Musashi’s philosophy.

Mastery and understanding in one area can illuminate our understanding across all areas of life, suggesting that deep expertise can be a lens through which we better comprehend the world.


The quotes from the Book of Five Rings offer a glimpse into the mind of one of history’s greatest warriors—yet they are not solely about war. They teach us about discipline, integrity, strategy, and the pursuit of excellence.

Musashi’s wisdom serves as a guide not just for martial artists but for anyone seeking to live a life of purpose, balance, and continuous improvement. In integrating these insights into our daily lives, we honor the legacy of a remarkable individual whose teachings have transcended time and continue to inspire countless individuals around the globe.

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