Musashi’s Book of Five Rings
The Definitive Interpretation
Hanshi Stephen F. Kaufman
In my version of Musashi’s Book of Five Rings, I use the term ‘mu’ rather than ‘ku’ in the last section I refer to as No-Thing. Since the first publication of my version, in 1993, and having sold over 1.3 million copies, making it the best-selling version extant, I constantly receive queries from readers from around the world as to why I use ‘mu’ rather than ‘ku,’ since all other versions, interpretations and translations refer to The Void as ‘ku’ and misinterpret void with heaven and being. Understanding ‘mu’ rather than ‘ku’ will significantly enhance a practitioner’s skills to the highest levels of excellence and coincides with the complete statement, ‘the sword is the soul of the samurai only when the samurai is the soul of the sword.’ To fully understand why I use the term ‘mu,’ read my version, which gives the complete explanation. To avoid in-depth explanations for brevity’s sake, here it is in simple terms.
Ultimate ‘is’ ness has nothing to do with heaven.
Nothing, ‘ku,’ is something by definition.
No-thing, ‘mu,’ is beyond conception.
Musashi knew this; his interpreters did not.
Hence, ‘mu,’ not ‘ku.’