Thomas Cleary's translation of Code of the Samurai
introduced the social, political, and organizational principles of samurai culture, including loyalty to family, a sense of service and duty, and the rules for dealing with allies and enemies.
In Soul of the Samurai
, Cleary delves into the key influence of Zen on the samurai's combat style, from its emphasis on detachment-meaning a willingness to sacrifice life (including one's own)-to the attempt to clear the mind and "be in the moment," which freed the swordsman's mind from distractions and allowed him to act in an instant.
Including translations of Yagyu Munenori's Book of the Sword
, and Takuan Soho's Inscrutable Subtlety of Immovable Wisdom
and The Peerless Sword
, the teachings in Soul of the Samurai
represent the recording and codification of these beliefs in the seventeenth century.
Thomas Cleary is the translator of Opening the Dragon Gate by Chen Kaiguo and Zhen Shunchao and The Story of Chinese Zen by Nan Huai-Chin, as well as The Art of War by Sun Tzu, The Book of Five Rings by Miyamoto Musashi, The Japanese Art of War, and dozens of other titles on martial philosophy, Buddhism, Taoism, religion, and philosophy.