‘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 Masashi
Miyamoto Masashi was a Japanese Buddhist master and swordsman. He is the author of ‘The Book of Five Rings’, which is studied for its philosophy and wisdom. Masashi was well-known for developing 21 rules of a purpose-driven life.
These rules form a foundation upon which people could build a purposeful and fulfilling life. Opening the mind to these rules will let other people view life from a different perspective; re-evaluate their self-imposed regulations and rules in exchange for self-acceptance and happiness. These rules are relevant to our life nowadays.
Here are Miyamoto Masashi’s 21 mind-blowing rules of life:
1. Accept everything just the way it is
Acceptance may be the most important trait to deal up with mental challenges in life. There is no aim or destination with acceptance. It is a process of exercising the mind to put up with everything we come across in life.
Instead of trying to control every aspect in our life, we should accept the reality. It will allow us to get rid of negative emotions, maintain relationships, prepare for the future and find out positive techniques to overcome life’s challenges.
Acceptance is not apathy or ignorance. It does not include giving up. It is accepting the things the way they are and letting the natural flow to happen.
2. Do not seek pleasure for its own sake
The sensation of pleasure is fleeting and short-lived, staying with us for a short period of time before going away. If we are trying to find pleasure for its own sake, we are setting up a failure, spending our life on temporary satisfaction.
3. Do not, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling
Feeling and emotions do not last forever. Triggered by different factors, they are changing all the time. Unfortunately, trying to control our emotions and feelings, the chosen approach to look for joy and love and disregard negative emotions in life, leaves us sad and longing.
4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world
There are two key focuses that you can choose in life: focusing on yourself and your own needs or focusing on the well-being and happiness of other people. One of these decisions will make you happy, whereas the other will give you an inflated ego. When you are over-thinking of yourself, you inflate your insecurity and your ego.
Happy people usually focus on helping other people. As the Chinese proverb goes: ‘If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help someone’.
5. Be detached from desire your whole life long
According to the Buddhist teaching, desiring leads to suffering. When we desire, we are dissatisfied with what we have and we want more. When we get what we want, we desire even more.
This is a result of the fact that it focuses on our efforts to have something we do not have instead of taking the time to appreciate the now and the here. If you want to have inner peace, you need to learn to be grateful for what you have.
6. Do not regret what you have done
We cannot change what we have done in the past, can we? However, we can learn a lot from the past experiences. When something happened that we are not happy with, we can choose to regret it all our life and live in the past that we cannot change, or looking forward to things before us.
7. Never be jealous
Jealousy is not anything more than envy of other people due to your insecurities. If you allow jealousy to enter your life, it may wreck havoc on it. Focus on dealing up with your insecurities rather than welcoming negative emotions and thoughts in your life. Look within yourself and be grateful for what you are.
8. Never let yourself be saddened by separation
There are times in life when you are forced to separate from the people you care of. This includes family, friends, or partners. Living in pain and sadness of experiences will only bring you unhappiness. Instead, learn to appreciate what you have in life, not what you lose.
9. Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself nor others
When we let negative emotions and thoughts dwell on in our life, we allow their toxins to destroy us. Take time to focus on things in your life that can change and improve rather than complaining without taking action.
Do not let other people control your life, too. You cannot control what they do, but you can control your reaction to what they do.
10. Do not let yourself be guided by feelings of lust or love
This may be the most controversial rule. Letting ourselves to focus on lust means to focus on short-lived emotions, proving just a temporary happiness. However, true love, which is the opposite end of the spectrum, is a concept that we are guided by in determining our life path.
11. In all things – have no preferences
Like desiring, preferring means that we are not happy with what we have. When we prefer something, we are creating a world in which we are hoping for the future, trying to achieve our determined goals. We need to learn to appreciate and find happiness in the moment.
12. Be indifferent to where you live
If we have an opportunity to go after a happy and fulfilled life, we should be aware of the possibility that the journey will take us somewhere. If you have an opportunity to change the place you live, accept it, because if you fear of relocating, you may close a door to great opportunities. But, do not always look for opportunities to do it.
13. Do not pursue the taste of good food
Food is the fuel that maintains our bodies moving. It is essential to be aware of the importance of minerals, vitamins and other nutrients rather than only focusing on the taste of good foods. Include healthy and nourishing foods in your diet.
14. Do not hold onto possessions you no longer need
Nowadays, society is materialistic. We buy thing after thing, usually buying faulty illusion. Get rid of the clutter from your life and make space for bigger things.
15. Do not act following customary beliefs
There are a lot of instances of actions, ideas and concepts from the past, ways in which our ancestors chose to live. Even though they might have worked in the past, the only way to achieve success today is to think for you. Follow your own sense. Make decisions for yourself. Do not listen to other people; you are the one who should decide what is right or wrong.
16. Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful
Instead of stretching yourself to take an advantage of everything available, try to focus on a few things you are really passionate about. Be good at several things, but be an expert in one thing.
17. Do not fear death
Death cannot be avoided. We are aware of the fact that death will eventually come and that we have no control over it. We can choose to live our life in fear of death or to accept that we have no control of death, forget about it and live our life truly.
18. Do not seek to posses either goods or fiefs for your old age
When we die, we cannot take our possessions with us. They are forgotten, left behind. Avoid wasting your time on collecting things that you will not need and focus on your spiritual journey.
19. Respect Buddha and the Gods without counting on their help
Take responsibility for the decisions you make in your life. No matter whether these decisions have negative consequences or not, you are responsible for them, not the Gods. They are guiding us in our lives, letting us make the right decisions and work towards achieving our dreams and goals.
20. You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honor
Focus on the soul and keep the values that you appreciate. Demonstrate love, truth, respect, honor and honesty in each interaction in your life, achieving a life of happiness.
21. Never stray from the way
According to Buddhism, people should be focused on their spiritual journey and the need to understand their higher self. Do not let yourself become distracted by the materialistic society and stress that exist around you. Focus on improving yourself, learning and developing instead.