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From the Book of the Samurai

When one writes, mindfulness and attention to the choice of words. Tsunetomo Yamomoto offered the following advice in the Book of the Samurai. He quoted the Zen priest Ryōzan, concluding the result of a well-written letter, even a short one, would lead to the recipient making “it into a hanging scroll.”

Mindfulness and attention are used in all facets of one’s life. Living mindfully is celebrating one’s life fully, living each moment to the fullest.

“Practice in letter writing goes to the extent of taking care in even one-line letters. It is good if all the above contain a quiet strength. Moreover, according to what the priest Ryōzan heard when he was in the Kamigata area, when one is writing a letter, he should think that the recipient will make it into a hanging scroll.”

About ivonprefontaine

I am a retired educator who recently completed a PhD at Gonzaga University in Spokane, WA. My dissertation topic and research was how teachers experience becoming who they are as teachers, as human subjects. For me, teaching is a calling and vocation that allows me to express who I am as a person. Currently, I am waiting and listening to what will call me. We have begun a small consulting and leadership firm called Rocky River Leadership & Consulting Ltd.

8 responses »

  1. I possess such letters, either from my mother or from the mother of a childhood friend – the friend disengaged, the mother did not. Brilliant woman, longtime naturalist, spoke Swahili, French, played piano, danced ballet, spoke truth to power in a no-nonsense but measured way. I miss that woman more than I ever thought I would. http://articles.latimes.com/2003/nov/23/local/me-passings23.1 (Why your post reminds me of her may be a mystery, but it just did.)

    Reply
    • It might be that letter writing is lost art. I remember my grandmother (mémère in French) sitting at the table with her French/English dictionary writing to her English-speaking friends. My mother used to have us write letters thanking people for our Christmas gifts. I don’t know if we do that anymore.

      Reply
  2. I don’t pay enough attention to words when I write. I just get the info down. I need to take more care. Thank you.

    Reply
  3. One of my favorite books. Words to live by….

    Reply

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