A samurai will use a toothpick even though he has not eaten. Inside the skin of a dog, outside the hide of a tiger.
In the eyes of mercy, no one should have hateful thoughts. Feel pity for the man who is even more at fault. The area and size of mercy is limitless.
A warrior should not say something fainthearted, even casually. He should set his mind to this beforehand. Even in trifling matters the depths of one's heart can be seen.
Go ahead and gamble a lie. A person who will not tell you seven lies within a hundred yards is useless as a man.
The end is important in all things.
By bringing shame to a person, how could one expect to make him a better man?
When delivering something like an important letter or other written materials, grasp it firmly in your hand as you go and do not release it once, but hand it over directly to the recipient.
As everything in this world is but a sham. Death is the only sincerity.
By inconsistency and frivolity we stray from the Way and show ourselves to be beginners. In this we do much harm.
It is better not to become acquainted with men about whom you have formerly had doubts. No matter what you do, they will be people by whom you will be tripped up or taken in.
Even if one's head were to be suddenly cut off, he should be able to do one more action with certainty.
You cannot tell whether a person is good or bad by his vicissitudes in life. Good and bad fortune are matters of fate.
Looking comparatively at the good things, you will see that they are not excluded from wisdom, humanity and bravery.
When someone is giving you his opinion, you should receive it with deep gratitude even though it is worthless. If you don't, he will not tell you the things that he has seen and heard about you again.
The basic meaning of etiquette is to be quick at both the beginning and end and tranquil in the middle.
There is one transcending level, and this is the most excellent of all. This person is aware of the endlessness of entering deeply into a certain Way and never thinks of himself as having finished.
The Four Oaths: Never be late with respect to the way of the warrior; be useful to the lord; be respectful to your parents; get beyond love and grief: exist for the good of man.
A person who is discreet in speaking will be useful during the good times and will avoid punishment during the bad.
It is said that one should not hesitate to correct himself when he has made a mistake. If he corrects himself without the least bit of delay, his mistakes will disappear.
One should be wary of talking on end about such subjects as learning, morality or folklore in front of elders or people of rank. It is disagreeable to listen to.
It is better to have some unhappiness while one is still young, for if a person does not experience some bitterness, his disposition will not settle down.
One should make his decisions within the space of seven breaths.
An affected laugh shows lack of self-respect in a man and lewdness in a woman. It is carelessness to go about with one's hands inside the slits in the sides of his hakama.
The saying 'the arts aid the body' is for samurai of other regions. For samurai of the Nabeshima clan the arts bring ruin to the body.
There is not a man who does not get senile by the time he reaches sixty. And when one thinks that he will not be senile, he is already so.
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