The Ise Zumi of the Dragon Clan were renowned for their cryptic demeanors and love of riddles and maxims, some often quoting directly from the Tao of Shinsei [1]

Known Sayings Edit

  • "What is most useful of the cup: What is there or what is not?"[2]
  • "Petting scorpions with a compassionate hand only gets you a sting."[2]
  • "The most difficult act in the world is to sit still."[2]
  • "Be more concerned with good actions than great ones."[2]
  • "Friendship is tested when it is time to share the burden."[2]
  • "Distant thunder tells of present danger."[2]
  • "See obstacles as they truly are, not as they appear to be."[2]
  • "A woman asked a wise man, "My husband drinks too much." The wise man said, "Might as well tell that to a fish.""[2]
  • "The mountains never learned to step aside."[2]
  • "When asked how he gained his great wisdom, Shinsei said: "Following my footsteps will not lead you to what I found.""[2]
  • "Every moment has a lesson for you to learn. Learn to listen."[3]
  • "Hearts are the repositories of secrets. Lips are their locks and tongues are their keys."[3]
  • "Treat everyone you meet as if they will die tomorrow."[3]
  • "Choosing between two evils is still choosing evil."[3]
  • "Even a goblin is beautiful at eighteen."[3]
  • "While you rest, your enemy practices."[3]
  • "Those who choose to stand alone, fall alone."[3]
  • "You can never bake the same cake twice."[3]
  • "Relish the moment before you make the first step on a journey, for that is the sweetest moment in the world."[3]
  • "When asked of the meaning of dreams Shinsei said: If only men put so much thought into what they see when they are awake."[3]
  • "The only true test of courage is the last one."[3]
  • "If you eat poison, don't forget to lick the dish."[4]
  • "A gift is given for the purpose of recieving one."[4]
  • "Suspect that all men are liars and that it will rain tomorrow."[4]
  • "Truth and peace never live under the same roof. When one moves in, the other leaves."[4]
  • "A face is never uglier than when it asks for praise."[4]
  • "Never trust a man on the merit of what he "once was" or "will be". Only trust who he is."[4]
  • "Friends do not hold on to the past, they hold on to each other."[4]
  • "Nothing offends anger more than laughter."[4]
  • "A courageous man has no need of weapons."[4]
  • "One must bow to offer aid to a fallen man."[4]
  • "Shinsei said: "My faults derive from my parents, my virtues are my own. How foolish is this?."[4]
  • "When you are gone," asked Hantei, "where will I find wisdom such as yours?" Shinsei answered, "In rice cakes"[5]
  • "If you are walking, walk. If you are running, run. Never meander."[5]
  • "Fear is afraid of laughter."[5]
  • Shinsei said: "I am only the ladle and the Tao is the well. When you are not thirsty, is your mind on the ladle or on the well?"[5]
  • "Brave deeds may be forgotten; brave men, never so."[5]
  • "The child wants to grow old fast, the parent wants to grow old slowly."[5]
  • "The nail that sticks out is the one that gets pounded first."[5]
  • "The price of greatness is paid by the great, but we all reap the benefit."[5]
  • "What is written is not what is, only what is written"[5]
  • "We only sympathize with pain when it is our own."[5]
  • "Do not simply say that anything is true. Know it is true or stay silent."[6]
  • A man climbed a mountain to find a shrine that housed a wise man and said, "I came here to find truth." The wise man answered, "Be glad you brought it with you."[6]
  • "Five and two multiplied are ten, but added are only seven. Learn by doing."[6]
  • "Kharma and shadows follow us all."[6]
  • "Don't trust a man who doesn't know how to smile."[6]
  • "If you only look for oranges at the top of the tree, you will go hungry."[6]
  • "What is wisdom?" one asked. "What is not wisdom?" the other answered.[6]
  • "For every single achievement, there are one hundred people looking for merit."[6]
  • "Fear is the measuring stick of ignorance."[6]
  • "Don't use two hands when one is good enough."[7]
  • "Criticism is kindness in disguise."[7]
  • "The fortuneteller cannot tell his own future."[7]
  • "In all the world, man is the only creature that has taught itself to argue."[7]
  • "Do not be concerned with any life but this one. One world at a time."[7]
  • "Many hands make too much work."[7]
  • "The simplest questions are the hardest to ask."[7]
  • "Blink your eyes and eighty years will pass."[7]
  • "Not all blooming flowers bear fruit."[7]
  • "It is difficult enough to master yourself, let alone others."[7]
  • "The most frightening truth is gained from the mirror."[8]
  • When a monk came home and saw everything had been stolen, his companions tried to give him comfort, but he smiled and said, "Why do you weep? He took nothing from me."[8]
  • "Do not look for life's meaning, look only to live."[8]
  • "Do everything as if you have nothing else to do."[8]
  • "The bird does not care how it flies, and oh! how it flies."[8]
  • "Many seek peace, but not many are ready to kill for it, even if only their own selves."[8]
  • "A diversion is just that and nothing more."[8]
  • "You cannot die well if you have lived poorly."[8]
  • "A patient man learns quickly. An impatient man, not at all."[8]
  • Two beggars sitting in the cold. One, without hands, says: "My feet are cold." The other, without legs, says: "So are mine."[9]
  • "If the well is bad, the village will die."[9]
  • "You cannot speak of the lion's wrath until you have been under it's claws."[9]
  • "Do not become a parent when your child is born; become a child."[9]
  • "Certainty murders possibility."[9]
  • The Emperor said, "I have a question." Shinsei said, "I have an answer." The Emperor said, "But you do not know my question." Shinsei said, "You do not know my answer."[9]
  • "Correct your mistake quickly. Not correcting it is the biggest mistake of all."[9]
  • "Preparation is prevention."[9]
  • "Metal is tested by fire; man by what he says."[9]


  1. Way of the Dragon page 15
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 2.4 2.5 2.6 2.7 2.8 2.9 Way of the Dragon p. 15, sidebar
  3. 3.00 3.01 3.02 3.03 3.04 3.05 3.06 3.07 3.08 3.09 3.10 Way of the Dragon p. 35, sidebar
  4. 4.00 4.01 4.02 4.03 4.04 4.05 4.06 4.07 4.08 4.09 4.10 Way of the Dragon p. 40, sidebar
  5. 5.0 5.1 5.2 5.3 5.4 5.5 5.6 5.7 5.8 5.9 Way of the Dragon p. 43, sidebar
  6. 6.0 6.1 6.2 6.3 6.4 6.5 6.6 6.7 6.8 Way of the Dragon p. 47, sidebar
  7. 7.0 7.1 7.2 7.3 7.4 7.5 7.6 7.7 7.8 7.9 Way of the Dragon p. 83, sidebar
  8. 8.0 8.1 8.2 8.3 8.4 8.5 8.6 8.7 8.8 Way of the Dragon p. 91, sidebar
  9. 9.0 9.1 9.2 9.3 9.4 9.5 9.6 9.7 9.8 Way of the Dragon p. 101, sidebar

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