Eastern scriptures left an indelible mark on my psyche and perspective. The concepts expressed in the Tao te Ching allowed me to approach life with pliancy, to bend with situational adversity as opposed to being broken by it. The Art of War—when paired with the Tao—gave me the knowledge to use that malleability of spirit to enter conflict unperturbed. Despite how applicable it can be for personal disputes, Sun Tzu's masterclass on war is more concerned with managing a battle from a position of authority. However, what happens when you're stripped of agency? When the prospect of fighting is unavoidable, is it possible to retain a pliable spirit?
Japanese warrior/philosopher Miyamoto Musashi answers that question beautifully in his brief and paradoxically comprehensive Book of Five Rings. Whereas the Tao speaks broadly about offering zero resistance to situations in a peaceful sense, Musashi's book examines the concept for those under intense duress. Broadly speaking, the Tao teaches you to mimic water, and Musashi advocates understanding when you must become the flame. Moreover, Musashi explains how to live a lifestyle where one can transition from blaze to wave whenever reality demands.
In the video embedded above, the YouTube channel Bushido Blues explains why the Book of Five Rings is considered a masterpiece and an essential piece of literature that belongs on any respectable bookshelf.