“Hagakure is the essential book of the Samurai. Written by Yamamoto Tsunetomo, who was a Samurai in the early 1700s, it is a book that combines the teachings of both Zen and Confucianism. These philosophies are centered on loyalty, devotion, purity and selflessness, and Yamamoto places a strong emphasis on the notion of living in the present moment with a strong and clear mind.”
Not being too familiar with Japanese writings I hadn’t come across this book before, but it was brought to my attention by a quote I stumbled across that I really liked:
“There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to get wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you still get the same soaking. This understanding extends to everything.”
The book seems to be full of pithy, simple, wisdom like that.
I’m not familiar with which translation is the best – probably one you can buy on Amazon since that’s usually the way things work – but there’s certainly a free version of the book you can read here.