The martial arts have always been deeply rooted in Buddhism and Taoist practice. This is evident in the warrior codes, precepts and tenants of the various martial arts traditions. The following precepts are combined from the various warrior mind philosophies that I have been taught during the 28 years of my training in martial arts. The original sources are unknown to me. When I am often questioned about the violence and negative karma that may be generated by training in an art of war, I find myself reflecting back to these words that I have learned to keep close to my heart. These words that remind me, that the martial arts, although translated literally to mean "the art of war", is truly an art of peace.
The Warrior strives to reach above himself, his false perceptions, his adversaries... His highest achievement is not one of victory, but one of absolute truth.
A warrior, once a warrior, will always be a warrior. A warrior is the epitome of controlled compassion & controlled violence. A warrior speaks from the pure heart and mind, transcending the ego. A warrior is one of great discipline. A warrior is a man of few words, refraining from speaking without reason. A warrior has not the luxury for excuses. A warrior recognizes the differences between the meaningful & trivial. A warrior can never afford fear, he lives in poverty of fear. A warrior learns how to defend before the attack. A warrior continues to develop the skills of his trade without end. A warrior seeks unity of mind, body, & spirit. A warrior understands the merits of compassion. A warrior pursues a knowledge of all things, regardless of nature. A warrior's profession is war, his product is peace. A warrior integrates the practice of truth within all his day to day activities. A warrior sees the truth within himself, within his adversaries, within the world. A warrior is not separate from all things, but strives to flow as one with all things. A warrior is as water taking the shape of its container. A warrior places the lives of those innocent & weak above himself. A warrior knows pain, sadness, joy, & solitude.
Have compassion for all beings, causing them no unnecessary hurt, nor needless harm.
Refrain from needless competitiveness, from contriving for self-advantage, and from subjugating others.
When accepting authority over others, know also that you accept responsibility for their well being.
Value true friendship, and fulfill your obligations, rather than striving with egotistical motive.
Seek liberation from the negative passions of hatred, envy, greed and rage, and especially from delusion, deceit and sensory desire.
Learn to let go of that which cannot be owned, or which is destroyed by grasping.
Seek the courage to be; defend yourself, and your convictions.
Accept transience, the inevitable and the irrevocable. Know that change exists in everything. Negate the barriers to your awakening; discover the positive in the negative, and seek a meaningful purpose in what you do.
Be just and honorable; take pride in what you do, rather than being proud of what you have accomplished.
Having humility and respect, give thanks to those from whom you learn, or who have otherwise helped you.
Act in harmony with your fellow beings, with nature, and with inanimate objects.
Know that a thing or an action which may seem of little value to oneself, may be a priceless treasure to another.
Help those who are suffering or disadvantaged, and as you yourself become awakened, help those who seek to make real their own potential.
Know that there is no shame in questioning.
Be diligent in your practice, and on hearing the music of the absolute, do not be so foolish as to try to sing its song.
Remember to renew the source, in order to retain good health.
Seek neither brilliance nor the void; just think deeply, and work hard.
When still, be as the mountain; when in movement be as the dragon riding the wind.
Be aware at all times, like the tiger which only seems to sleep, and at all times let the mind be like running water.
When you are required to act, remember that right motive is essential to right action, just as right thought is essential to right words.
Beware of creating burdens for yourself or others to carry.
Act with necessary distinction, being both creative and receptive, and transcending subject/object dichotomy.
Know that you are not the center of the universe, but learn to put the universe at your center by accepting the instant of your being.
Seek security within yourself, rather than in others.
Know that even great worldly wealth, and the accumulation of material things are of little worth, compared with the priceless treasures; love, peace and the freedom to grow.
Allow yourself to be, so that your life may become a time of blossoming.