the five rings

Although it is difficult to grasp it from the book, Go Rin No Sho, these books are actually the teachings which Musashi preached to his students in his own dōjō. Despite taking some ideas from others, the books are not based on any other school of teaching.

The five “books” refer to the idea that there are different elements of battle, just as there are different physical elements in life, as described byBuddhism, Shinto, and other Eastern religions. The five books below are Musashi’s descriptions of the exact methods or techniques which are described by such elements.

The term “Ichi School” is referred to in the book, Go Rin No Sho. When referring to such books, it refers to “Niten No Ichi Ryu” or “Ni Ten Ichi Ryu”, which means, when literally translated, “Two heaven, one school”, although many could see the translation as “Two Swords, One spirit”, or “Two Swords, One Entity”. However, the translation of “Two Swords, one Dragon” was thought to be a transliteral misinterpretation of the Kanji word Ryu.

  • The Book of Earth chapter serves as an introduction, and metaphorically discusses martial arts, leadership, and training as building a house.
  • The Book of Water chapter describes Musashi’s style, Ni-ten ichi-ryu, or “Two Heavens, One Style”. It describes some basic technique and fundamental principles.
  • The Book of Fire chapter refers to the heat of battle, and discusses matters such as different types of timing.
  • The Book of Wind chapter is something of a pun, since the Japanese character can mean both “wind” and “style” (e.g., of martial arts). It discusses what Musashi considers to be the failings of various contemporary schools of sword fighting.
  • The Book of the Void chapter is a short epilogue, describing, in more esoteric terms, Musashi’s probably Zen-influenced thoughts on consciousness and the correct mindset.

The Book of Earth

The Earth book, according to Go Rin No Sho, is mentioned as the book that refers expressly to the strategy taught by Musashi at the Ichi School, and it is said to be how to distinguish the way through “Sword-Fencing”, or “Swordsmanship”. The idea of strategy would be encouraged to be very astute in their study and strategy:

Know the smallest things and the biggest things, the shallowest things and the deepest things. As if it were a straight road mapped out on the ground … These things cannot be explained in detail. From one thing, know ten thousand things. When you attain the Way of strategy there will not be one thing you cannot see. You must study hard.

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia




have a zen filled day




have a zen filled day



A mother and daughter were having fun when the mother asked, “do you want an apple?”

The little girl jumps up, “yes, I’ll get them.” she said excited and run to the kitchen and returned with two apples. The little girl took a bite out of one apple and then turned her head and took a bite out of the second apple.

The mother was upset and asked, “why did you do that? Don’t eat both. Don’t I get one, that was wrong.”

The little girl handed the mother an apple and said, “I was seeing which one was sweetest so I could give it to you.”

Moral~ Don’t be so eager to judge.



have a zen filled day



We are getting settled into our new home / land. It is a big job and a lot to do, but there is a row of bushes that are tall and wild. I cut them back and trimmed them and they look amazing and full, now. A little attention goes a long way, that is in everything I suppose.


have a zen filled day



They say there was a mountain that was so high, that all you needed was a ladder to get to heaven. People came from all over the world to attempt to climb to heaven but when they got there they found that in order to get to heaven you have to fight the dragon and the dragon has never lost a fight. So basically in order to get to heaven you have die. Not very many people attempted to fight a dragon that would win.

I was reading an article the other day, about how when we get cold, we find a way to get warm. When we are hot we find a way to get cool. We find a way to make ourselves comfortable. The shaolin monks make themselves accept what is and makes the body find a way to adapt to the surroundings.

We have a conception that in heaven everything is perfect. No heat, no cold, no hunger, no pain. Accept what is… until the day you go to heaven and you will get a taste of heaven before you reach the stairway to heaven.


A master was walking with a student when the student turned and asked the master, “what is the most important thing in life.”

The master replied with, :”Choices.”

“I don’t understand ,” the student said with a confused tone in his voice.

“Your life is a compilation of all the memories you have acquired in life. Which is a direct result of all the choices you have made.” The two walked along as the student allowed this to soak in. 

So, how can I be sure I make the right choices in the future?” The student asked.

“There is a pile of gold and a pile of dirt. Which is more valuable? Which would you choose, if you were given a choice of which pile you could have?” The master asked.

“The gold of course.” The student blurted out.

“Why, it is the dirt that is important to a seed. Dirt can grow food. What can gold do?”

The student blurted out. “I could buy land, cattle, horses and build a barn and grow crops. I could get a wife and have children. And my children would not suffer because I could afford to manage them.” 

But, you did not mention the most important thing.” The master stated.

“What is that? The student asked with a puzzled look on his face.

“Seed.” The master replied. “You need seed to make a family and you did not mention seed when you stated you would buy land, cattle and a barn. The thought of being rich clouds judgement. And as for managing your children. A seed that grows from adversity is stronger than a plant in a farmers row.” The two walked for a moment when the master added. “There is no perfect answer, just that your life is a compilation of your memories. I think a pile of gold could make some good memories. Till the gold run out.” The master grinned.

by Art (~_~) 2015







A new monk arrives at the monastery. He is assigned to help the other monks in copying old texts by hand. He notices however that they are copying copies, not the original books.

So the new monk goes to the head monk to ask him about this. He points out that is there were an error in the first copy that error would be continued in all the other copies.

The head monk says, ” We have been copying the copies for centuries.But you make a good point, my son.”

So he goes down to the cellar with one of the copies to check it with the originals.Hours later, nobody has seen the head monk.

So, one of the monks go down to the cellar to look for him. He hears sobbing coming form the back of the cellar, and finds the head monk crying over one of the original books.

He asks, “What is wrong?”

“The word is celebrate.” The head monks says. “Not celibacy.”









have a zen filled day


I remember when Hurricane Katrina hit New Orleans and a lot of people migrated to the Houston area, Refugees. My wife went to her parents house where they had a generator and I stayed with my nephews at the house and roughed it for eight days with out power/ electricity.

Recent floods in Texas has left us unable to get to our house that now sits over the river, or the river flows under our house making our house a house boat but mainly the roads are flooded and we can not get on the island where we live do to the river washed the bridge out. I have been wading in to keep the animals feed and pampered. I know what it feels like to be a refugee. We take so much for granite, going to work, coming home, taking a shower, eating and sleeping in our own beds. we have been staying at my in laws, about twenty miles away. So much going on all at the same time, with my wife’s car in the shop, the motor is destroyed due to driving in high water and it will be 3,500.00 to repair. But we have our health and each other.

I can only imagine the holocaust in Germany, or the camps for the Japanese here in America. It seems like disasters test our reserve, our strengths and our patience. I am a patient man (I am told) but I am ready for things to get back to normal. Mother nature has a way of waking us up from our complacency. I will get back to posting zen stories as soon as I can get a calm in the storm of emotions we here in Texas have been plagued with.

Remember, we can find zen in anything…I was walking through the water the other morning, 6 am and it was quiet and the sun was coming up and I was at peace with the world. Then came a big splash about 2 foot from me and all I could think of was the alligators that have been spotted every where. When the water rises snakes go to higher ground and there is not mush dry ground left. I watched a hawk come flying close and thought how cool is that. It came really close and landed. I was so excited till I saw it swoop up a large snake that was about ten foot from me and I didn’t even know it was there.

I am officially a refugee for a little while, so stay safe have a zen-filled life (~_~) Art


art 225




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