It is just a tree (獨行道 1)

This is number 1 of my series of posts on Dokkōdō.

Dokkōdō (獨行道) is a short work written by Miyamoto Musashi (宮本武蔵) a week before he died in 1645. It consists of 21 precepts. [It] was largely composed on the occasion of Musashi giving away his possessions in preparation for death, and was dedicated to his favorite disciple, Terao Magonojō. “Dokkōdō” expresses a stringent, honest, and ascetic view of life. ~ From Wikipedia

1. Accept everything just the way it is.


Viewing the world as it is and accepting the reality you see around you is often not easy. But perhaps not for the reason we think.

Many of us are taught to strive for change, or to be agents of change in our world. Doesn’t acceptance seem to be contrary to a desire to improve our world? Isn’t acceptance akin to complacency?

I think these questions stem from a misunderstanding of what acceptance means. Acceptance is actually the first step we must take in order to change the world we live in.

There is a difference between accepting how things are, and being unwilling to improve a situation.

Acceptance is about recognizing truth; seeing things for their true reality. Acceptance means not allowing ourselves to succumb to a delusional belief about the world or allowing our minds to reside in a world of conspiracies and fantasies.

If you can observe with an impartial and unbiased eye, then you see the truth of the world.

If you see the truth of the world, you understand what can be done to improve it.

This is challenging because all views of the world are inherently biased. We are a result of our personal histories, beliefs, and experiences. Those naturally lend themselves to a specific perspective that colors our understanding of the world around us.

So, accepting the world as it is, means not forcing our judgement and biases on what we see. It means being detached from our view.

If we see a tree, are we angry at the tree? It is just a tree.

But if the tree loses a branch that falls on our father’s head and kills him, then the tree becomes a bad thing.

But the tree is no different. It is just a tree. It is our perception of the tree which has changed based on our perspective.

The meanings we attribute to things in the world determine our beliefs about the world. But the things of the world do not change. Only our beliefs about their meaning can change.

Accept the tree as it is, divorced of your bias. It is just a tree.

Accept the world as it is, without your judgement. It is just the world.

Accept everything, just the way it is.