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Anyone know who wrote this poem?

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Anyone know who wrote this poem?

Postby klinkov on Sat Feb 04, 2017 7:20 pm

Recently I was reading the book THE FIGHTING SPIRIT OF JAPAN http://www.fadedpage.com/showbook.php?pid=20150722 by E. J. Harrison. At the 8th chapter of this book there is the following poem:

“I have no parents; I make the heavens and the earth my parents.
I have no home; I make saika tanden my home.
I have no divine power; I make honesty my divine power.
I have no means; I make docility my means.
I have no magic power; I make personality my magic power.
I have neither life nor death; I make a um my life and death.
I have no body; I make stoicism my body.
I have no eyes; I make the flash of lightning my eyes.
I have no ears; I make sensibility my ears.
I have no limbs; I make promptitude my limbs.
I have no laws; I make self-protection my laws.
I have no strategy; I make sakkatsu jizai (literally “free to kill and free to restore to life”) my strategy.
I have no designs; I make kisan (taking opportunity by the forelock) my designs.
I have no miracles; I make righteous laws my miracles.
I have no principles; I make adaptability to all circumstances (rinkiohen) my principles.
I have no tactics; I make kyojitsu (emptiness and fulness) my tactics.
I have no talent; I make toi sokumyo (ready wit) my talent.
I have no friends; I make my mind my friend.
I have no enemy; I make incautiousness my enemy.
I have no armour; I make jin-gi (benevolence and righteousness) my armour.
I have no castle; I make fudoshin (immovable mind) my castle.
I have no sword; I make mushin (absence of mind) my sword.”

Harrison has reference of that poem a book by a Japanese writer Kumashiro Hikotaro http://dl.ndl.go.jp/info:ndljp/pid/859889/10?tocOpened=1. The verses are in the following pages https://app.box.com/s/m0fwv94ofee8xv7zitfgro3cnrnu1luo.

I would like to know if anyone knows the excact resource of this poem that seems to belong to some Zen tradition.

This poems at Hikotaro's book reminds me a lot the Nāgārjuna's doctrine of "Eight No's":

There is no birth,
Nor is there death;
There is no beginning,
Nor is there any ending;
Nothing is identical with itself,
Nor is there any diversification;
Nothing comes into existence,
Nor does anything go out of existence.

(translation from an old book by Teitaro Suzuki http://www.sacred-texts.com/bud/mcb/mcb06.htm )
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Re: Anyone know who wrote this poem?

Postby macdougdoug on Fri Feb 10, 2017 9:36 pm

Just thought I'd bump up this question about a poem known on the interwebs as the Samourai code (seeing as I'm probably responsible for no one noticing the post) :hide:
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Re: Anyone know who wrote this poem?

Postby Meido on Sat Feb 11, 2017 12:44 am

It's a well-known text, but I've yet to see a definitive source. The attribution one sees everywhere is "anonymous, 14th century". I have occasionally seen it attributed to Musashi Miyamoto (which would be much later), but I suspect that is just a confusing of this text with his own famous and equally pithy Dokkodo:

1. Accept everything just the way it is.
2. Do not seek pleasure for its own sake.
3. Do not, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling.
4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
5. Be detached from desire your whole life long.
6. Do not regret what you have done.
7. Never be jealous.
8. Never let yourself be saddened by a separation.
9. Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself or others.
10. Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love.
11. In all things have no preferences.
12. Be indifferent to where you live.
13. Do not pursue the taste of good food.
14. Do not hold on to possessions you no longer need.
15. Do not act following customary beliefs.
16. Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful.
17. Do not fear death.
18. Do not seek to possess either goods or fiefs for your old age.
19. Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help.
20. You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honour.
21. Never stray from the Way.
The Rinzai Zen Way: A Guide to Practice
Korinji monastery [臨済宗 • 祖的山光林禅寺]: http://www.korinji.org
Madison Rinzai Zen Community/Ryugen-ji [機山龍源寺]: http://www.madisonrinzaizen.org
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