Dokkodo, also known as The Way of Walking Alone has influenced me in the past and it still does to this day. This is simply the precepts and my take on it.
1. Accept everything just the way it is.
This is a big one. The way things are is going to be the way things are. If everything is going easily you must keep going forwards through life, and if things are going hard you have to keep going forwards still as everything cannot go to plan. Life is life and there are going to be up and downs, so it is better to accept that both good and bad things are going to happen.
2. Do not seek pleasure for its own sake.
Pleasure is a great thing, but as I see it, you should seek things to do instead of pleasure and you will get pleasure from that. You get kept busy and you will get pleasure from that instead of just pleasuring yourself for the sake of feeling pleasure.
3. Do no, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling.
This is more self-explanatory. To do things more on thought or instinct then of feelings.
4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world.
The world is a big place and individuals are only a small part of it. Everyone has strengths and weaknesses and thinking lightly of yourself rather then deeply will hopefully get you to not overestimate yourself.
5. Be detached from desire your whole life long.
Desires for things can be pointless seeing as your may never get it. The desire for something you could never get can disappoint you later on. Aiming for what you want is important but do not let the desire for it be a factor of it as the outcome of your doings can be different to what you want in which the desire can bring you down quite a bit.
6. Do not regret what you have done.
What is done is done, it cannot be changed. It is best not to dwindle on the past but to learn from it. Regret can just slow you down from your goals, learning from your mistakes can take you further.
7. Never be jealous.
Jealously is another thing that can you slow you down in life. I think of jealously as pointless as there will be people with belongings, skills, talents and looks you will never have. It goes with the first precept pretty well, too, seeing as the way things are is going to be how the way things are.
8. Never let yourself be saddened by a separation.
Separation just happens to be one of those things that is going to happen eventually. Friends and family move or die, people change and grow. Separation can also apply to other things besides with people, you may lose a pet or a belonging, maybe even separated with a place.
I want to move to the US, and I’m confident I will eventually get to live there sometime in my life so when it happens I shouldn’t let myself be saddened from leaving Australia. All I would be doing if I let myself be saddened is putting myself down, and it is certainly not a good thing to put oneself down.
9. Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself or others.
Another self-explaining recept. Complaining or being resentful isn’t going to get anyone anywhere, really.
10. Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love.
Lust honestly isn’t a good thing while love is a great thing, but I have heard a number of times that love makes you do stupid things. Then again, I also heard lust makes people do even stupider things.
I take this as to use your head instead of your heart, that way you hopefully won’t do anything stupid and if lucky you can be with the one you love.
11. In all things have no preferences.
Preferences can be seen by many, but the preference of things may not be the best choice. Chocolate is nice, but preferences for certain chocolate can stop many from trying the many other types of chocolate and in my books that would be a “no-no”. Having a preference can also stop people from doing or trying many other things, possibly even from choosing what could be the better choice.
12. Be indifferent to where you live.
This is a big one to me, a couple years back at school I had a teacher who told the class about a student who told the very teacher that he couldn’t get anywhere based of the area he came from and this is why it is important to me. It doesn’t matter where you come from and it doesn’t matter where you live, there are a lot more important things then one’s past and current residence.
13. Do not pursue the taste of good food.
I take this as one shouldn’t worry about the taste of food. Don’t worry about the taste, worry about eating your fill.
14. Do not hold on to possessions you no longer need.
This has two obvious benefits, getting rid of what you don’t need anymore gets rid of cluster and others can benefit from what you no longer need. Besides, those things you no longer need may just be taking up much needed space.
15. Do not act following customary beliefs.
We can waste much time doing what others do when it makes no sense to us, and during the wasted time much better things can be done. It is better to act on what we find more meaningful to do then following custom.
16. Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful.
This is more relevant to the past of Japan then it does today, seeing as weapons were more common and were made of more use in the past then of today. However, there is still relevance for today, it can be taken as saying not to waste time with other things beyond what is useful or if isn’t going to benefit you.
17. Do not fear death.
This is pretty simple. All life dies as it is born. No sense in worrying about death seeing as all life eventually dies.
18. Do not seek to possess either goods or fiefs for your old age.
You may never reach old age and you can also experience such things now. Enjoying life should happen now and in old age if reached, instead of just old age.
19. Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help.
Help may not be given if asked for, and if given a more needy person may not get needed help. Relying on oneself is a good thing but asking for help from people around you should be done if needed.
20. You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honour.
All are born and all who are born must die. One’s honour is certainly important and you shouldn’t change who you are based on if others want you to.
21. Never stray from the Way.
I take this as never lose your way with Dokkodo, nor with the Tao (or ‘the Way’ as some may call it).