Meditation of inevitable death should be performed daily. Everyday when the body and mind are at peace, one should meditate on being ripped apart by arrows, rifles, spears and swords; being carried away by surging waves; being thrown in the midst of a great fire; being struck by lightning, being shaken to death by a great earthquake; falling from thousand foot cliffs; dying of disease; and every day without fail, one should consider himself as dead. This is the substance of the way of the samurai.
It is a good viewpoint to see the world as a dream. When you have something like a nightmare, you will wake up and tell yourself that it was only a dream. It is said that the world we live in is not a bit different from this.
Among the maxims on Lord Naoshige’s wall, there was this one: “Matters of great concern should be treated lightly.” Master Ittei commented, “Matters of small concern should be treated seriously.”
In the words of the ancients, one should make his decision within the space of seven breaths. It is a matter of being determined and having the spirit to break through to the other side.Yamamoto Tsunetomo (1716) Hagakure (‘The book of the Samurai’)