I am already given to the power that rules my fate. And I cling to nothing, so I will have
nothing to defend.
I have no thoughts, so I will see.
I fear nothing, so I will remember myself.
Detached and at ease, I will dart past the Eagle to be free.
Warriors have an ulterior purpose for their acts which has
nothing to do with personal gain. The average man acts only if
there is a chance for profit. Warriors act not for profit, but for
For the average man, the world is weird because if he's not
bored with it, he's at odds with it. For a warrior, the world is
weird because it is stupendous, awesome, mysterious, unfathomable.
A warrior must assume responsibility for being here, in this
marvelous world, in this marvelous time.
Impeccability begins with a single act that has to be
deliberate, precise and sustained. If that act is repeated long
enough, one acquires a sense of unbending intent which can be
applied to anything else. If that is accomplished the road is
clear. One thing will lead to another until the warrior realizes
his full potential.
Any movement of the assemblage point means a movement away
from an excessive concern with the individual self. Shamans believe
it is the position of the assemblage point which makes modern man a
homicidal egoist, a being totally involved with his self-image.
Having lost hope of ever returning to the source of everything, the
average man seeks solace in his selfishness.
A warrior must cultivate the feeling that he has everything
needed for the extravagant journey that is his life. What counts
for a warrior is being alive. Life in itself is sufficient,
self-explanatory and complete.
Therefore, one may say without being presumptuous that the
experience of experiences is being alive.
A warrior must focus his attention on the link between
himself and his death. Without remorse or sadness or worrying, he
must focus his attention on the fact that he does not have time and
let his acts flow accordingly. He must let each of his acts be his
last battle on earth. Only under those conditions will his acts
have their rightful power. Otherwise they will be, for as long as
he lives, the acts of a fool.
Note—Although the quotes use the default masculine pronoun "he," it is not assumed that warriors must be males. Many of the most powerful warriors in the Casteneda books are female.
Warriors compress time; this is the sixth principle of the
art of stalking. Even an instant counts. In a battle for your
life, a second is an eternity, an eternity that may decide the
outcome. Warriors aim at succeeding, therefore they compress time.
Warriors don't waste an instant.
A warrior acknowledges his pain but he doesn't indulge in it.
The mood of the warrior who enters into the unknown is not one of
sadness; on the contrary, he's joyful because he feels humbled by
his great fortune, confident that his spirit is impeccable, and
above all, fully aware of his efficiency. A warrior's joyfulness
comes from having accepted his fate, and from having truthfully
assessed what lies ahead of him.
The basic difference between an ordinary man and a warrior is
that a warrior takes everything as a challenge, while an ordinary
man takes everything as a blessing or as a curse.
The self-confidence of the warrior is not the self-confidence
of the average man. The average man seeks certainty in the eyes of
the onlooker and calls that self-confidence. The warrior seeks
impeccability in his own eyes and calls that humbleness. The
average man is hooked to his fellow men, while the warrior is hooked
only to infinity.
It is much easier for warriors to fare well under conditions of
maximum stress than to be impeccable under normal circumstances.
What seems natural is to think that a warrior who can hold his
own in the face of the unknown can certainly face petty tyrants with
impunity. But that's not necessarily so. What destroyed the superb
warriors of ancient times was to rely on that assumption. Nothing
can temper the spirit of a warrior as much as the challenge of
dealing with impossible people in positions of power. Only under
those conditions can warriors acquire the sobriety and serenity to
withstand the pressure of the unknowable.
Knowledge comes to a warrior, floating, like specks of gold
dust, the same dust that covers the wings of moths. So for a
warrior, knowledge is like taking a shower, or being rained on b
specks of dark gold dust.
A warrior is a hunter. He calculates everything. That's
control. Once his calculations are over, he acts. He lets go.
That's abandon. A warrior is not a leaf at the mercy of the wind.
No one can push him, no one can make him do things against himself
or against his better judgment. A warrior is tuned to survive and
he survives in the best of all possible fashions.
Acts have power. Especially when the warrior acting knows that
those acts are his last battle. There is a strange consuming
happiness in acting with the full knowledge that whatever he is
doing may very well be his last act on earth.
If a warrior is to succeed in anything, the success must come
gently, with a great deal of effort but with no stress or obsession.
Our fellow men are black magicians. And whoever is with them
is a black magician on the spot. Think for a moment, can you
deviate from the path that your fellow men have lined up for you?
And if you remain with them, your thoughts and your actions are
fixed forever in their terms. That is slavery. The warrior, on the
other hand, is free from all that. Freedom is expensive, but the
price is not impossible to pay. So, fear your captors, your
masters. Don't waste your time and your power fearing freedom.
A warrior is never under siege. To be under siege implies that
one has personal possessions that could be blockaded. A warrior has
nothing in the world except his impeccability, and impeccability
cannot be threatened.
To discard everything that is unnecessary is the second
principle of the art of stalking. A warrior doesn't complicate
things. He aims at being simple. He applies all the concentration
he has to decide whether or not to enter into battle, for any battle
is a battle for his life. This is the third principle of the art of
stalking. A warrior must be willing and ready to make his last
stand here and now. But not in a helter-skelter way.
The flaw with words is that they always make us feel
enlightened, but when we turn around to face the world they always
fail us and we end up facing the world as we always have, without
enlightenment. For this reason, a warrior seeks to act rather than
to talk, and to this effect, he gets a new description of the
world—a new description where talking is not that important, and
where new acts have new reflections.
Applying these principles brings about three results. The
first is that stalkers learn never to take themselves seriously;
they learn to laugh at themselves. If they are not afraid of being
a fool, they can fool anyone. The second is that stalkers learn to
have endless patience. Stalkers are never in a hurry; they never
fret. And the third is that stalkers learn to have an endless
capacity to improvise.
Only as a warrior can one withstand the path of knowledge. A
warrior cannot complain or regret anything. His life is an endless
challenge, and challenges cannot possibly be good or bad.
Challenges are simple challenges.
The recommendation for warriors is not to have any material
things on which to focus their power, but to focus it on the spirit,
on the true flight into the unknown, not on trivialities.
Everyone who wants to follow the warrior's path has to rid
himself of the compulsion to possess and hold onto things.
Self-importance is man's greatest enemy. What weakens him is
feeling offended by the deeds and misdeeds of his fellow men.
Self-importance requires that one spend most of one's life offended
by something or someone.
The hardest thing in the world is to assume the mood of a
warrior. It is of no use to be sad and complain and feel justified
in doing so, believing that someone is always doing something to us.
Nobody is doing anything to anybody, much less to a warrior.
A warrior takes his lot, whatever it amy be, and accepts it in
ultimate humbleness. He accepts in humbleness what he is, not as
grounds for regret but as a living challenge.
By the way, Casteneda, just before he died, published an entire book of Don Juan quotations entitled The Arrow of Time.
When nothing is for sure we remain alert, perennially on our
toes. It is more exciting not to know which bush the rabbit is
hiding behind than to behave as though we knew everything.
As long as a man feels that he is the most important thing in
the world, he cannot really appreciate the world around him. He is
like a horse with blinders; all he sees is himself, apart from
There is no completeness without sadness and longing, for
without them there is no sobriety, no kindness. Wisdom without
kindness and knowledge without sobriety are useless.
Everything that warriors do is done as a consequence of a
movement of their assemblage points, and such movements are ruled by
the amount of energy warriors have at their command.
Power always makes a cubic centimeter of chance available to a
warrior. The warrior's art is to be perennially fluid in order to
The worst that could happen to us is that we have to die, and
since that is already our unalterable fate, we are free; those who
have lost everything no longer have anything to fear.
What we need to do to allow magic to get hold of us is to
banish doubts from our minds. Once doubts are banished anything is
A warrior must learn to make every act count, since he is going
to be here in this world for only a short while, in fact, too short
for witnessing all the marvels of it.
Feeling important makes one heavy, clumsy and vain. To be a warrior one needs to be light and fluid.
Dwelling upon the self too much produces a terrible fatigue. A man in that position is deaf and blind to everything else. The fatigue itself makes him cease to see the marvels all around him.
When one has nothing to lose, one becomes courageous. We are timid only when there is something we can still cling to.
For a seer, the truth is that all living beings are struggling to die. What stops death is awareness.
The only freedom warriors have is to behave impeccably. Not only is impeccability freedom; it is the only way to straighten out
the human form.
"Self-respect is the fruit of discipline." - Abraham J. Heschel
"I worshipped dead men for their strength, forgetting I was strong." - Vita Sackville-West
"Nothing is so strong as gentleness. Nothing is so gentle as real strength." - Frances de Sales
"Where do you begin? Perfect is a good place to start. We must always focus on improving things that are already perfect." - J. Viol
"We make war that we may live in peace." - Aristotle
"To be prepared for war is one of the most effectual means of preserving peace." - General George Washington
"He Who Knows Others Is Wise. He Who Knows Himself Is Enlightened." - Tao Te Ching
"Without Knowledge, Skill cannot be focused. Without Skill, Strength cannot be brought to bear and without Strength, Knowledge may not be applied." - Alexander the Great's Chief Physician
"Fear is the true opiate of combat."
"To a real warrior, power perceived may be power achieved."
"Given enough time, any man may master the physical. With enough knowledge, any man may become wise. It is the true warrior who can master both....and surpass the result." - Tien T'ai
"Act like a man of thought - Think like a man of action." - Thomas Mann
"It is a brave act of valor to condemn death, but where life is more terrible than death it is then the truest valor to dare to live." - Sir Thomas Brown
"Your work is to discover your work and then with all your heart to give yourself to it." - Buddha .
"Vive la mort, vive la guerre, vive le sacre mercenaire." ("Long live death, long live war, long live the cursed mercenary.") - Mercenary marching cadence and toast.
"One mind, any weapon." - Hunter B. Armstrong
"Civilize the mind but make savage the body." - Chairman Mao
"Unless you do your best, the day will come when, tired and hungry, you will halt just short of the goal you were ordered to reach, and by halting you will make useless the efforts and deaths of thousands." - Gen. George S. Patton
"I seek not only to follow in the footsteps of the men of old, I seek the things they sought."
"That which doesn't kill me, will make me stronger!"
"We do not rise to the level of our expectations. We fall to the level
of our training"
"I have a high art, I hurt with cruelty those who would damage me." - Archilocus, 650 B.C.
"You must concentrate upon and consecrate yourself wholly to each day, as though a fire were raging in your hair." - Taisen Deshimaru
"The test of a good teacher is not how many questions he can ask his pupils that they will answer readily, but how many questions he inspires them to ask him which he finds it hard to answer."
"True strength is the flower of Wisdom, but its seed is action."
"Some Warriors look fierce, but are mild. Some seem timid, but are vicious. Look beyond appearances; position yourself for the advantage. - Deng Ming-Dao
"Only a warrior chooses pacifism; others are condemned to it."
"I dislike death, however, there are some things I dislike more than death. Therefore, there are times when I will not avoid danger." - Mencius
"Victory is reserved for those who are willing to pay it's price." - Sun Tzu
"It does not matter how slowly you go so long as you do not stop." - Confucius
"Mental bearing (calmness), not skill, is the sign of a matured samurai. A Samurai therefore should neither be pompous nor arrogant." - Tsukahara Bokuden.
"The flower of flowers is the Sakura - Cherry Blossom. The Samurai is the man among men." - Japanese proverb
"War is not about who is right, it is about who is left."
"Only one who devotes himself to a cause with his whole body and soul can be a true master. For this reason, mastery demands all of a person."
"Talk is easy - ACTION is difficult. Action is easy - TRUE UNDERSTANDING is difficult!"
"One finds life through conquering the fear of death within one's mind. Empty the mind of all forms of attachment, make a go-for-broke charge and conquer the opponent with one decisive slash." - Togo Shigekata.
"The undisturbed mind is like the calm body water reflecting the brilliance of the moon. Empty the mind and you will realize the undisturbed mind." - Yagyu Jubei
"You might as well stand and fight because if you run, you will only die tired" - Vern Jocque - Sei Shin Kan.
"It is easy to kill someone with a slash of a sword. It is hard to be impossible for others to cut down" - Yagyu Munenori
"When the World is at Peace, a gentleman keeps his Sword by his side." - Wu Tsu
"Master the divine techniques of the Art of Peace and no enemy will dare to challenge you." - Ueshiba
"It is the very mind itself that leads the mind astray; Of the mind, Do not be mindless."
"In the beginners mind there are many possibilities, but in the expert's mind there are few" - Suzuki
"To practice Zen or the Martial Arts, you must live intensely, wholeheartedly, without reserve - as if you might die in the next instant" - Taisen Deshimaru
"The Ultimate Warrior leaves no openings - Except in his mind." - Seishinkan ITP
"When the Way comes to an end, then change - having changed, you pass through." - I Ching
"The more you sweat in training, the less you will bleed in battle." - Motto of Navy Seals
"The Way lies at hand yet it is sought afar off; the thing lies in the easy yet it is sought in the difficult." - Mencius
"To think, "I will not think" - This, too, is something in one's thoughts. Simply do not think about not thinking at all." - Takuan
"Use your head, or somebody else might."
"The dance of battle is always played to the same impatient rhythm. What begins in a surge of violent motion is always reduced to the perfectly still." - Sun Tzu
"Not to borrow the strength of another, nor to rely on one's own strength; to cut off past and future thoughts, and not to live within the everyday mind... then the Great Way is right before your eyes." - Yamamoto Tsunetomo
"SHUCHU RYOKU - Focus all your energy to one point." - Shioda Gozo
"Ultimately, you must forget about technique. The further you progress, the fewer teachings there are. The Great Path is really NO PATH." - Ueshiba Morihei
"When you aim for perfection, you discover it's a moving target." - Unknown
"The no-mind not-thinks no-thoughts about no-things." - The Buddha
"Victory goes to the one who has no thought of himself."- Shinkage School of Swordsmanship
"JIU YOKU GO O SEI SURU - Flexibility Masters Hardness"
"See first with your mind, then with your eyes, and finally with your body" - Yagyu Munenori
"Teachers open the door, but you must enter by yourself" - Chinese Proverb
"When the student is ready, the Master appears." - Buddhist Proverb
"Be master OF mind rather than mastered BY mind" - Zen Saying
"All men can see these tactics whereby I conquer, but what none can see is the strategy out of which victory is evolved." - Sun Tzu
"All warfare is based on deception." - Sun Tzu
"For to win one hundred victories in one hundred battles is not the acme of skill. To subdue the enemy without fighting is the acme of skill." - Sun Tzu
"He who is prudent and lies in wait for an enemy who is not, will be victorious." - Sun Tzu
"He who knows when he can fight and when he cannot, will be victorious." - Sun Tzu
"Hence to fight and conquer in all your battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting." - Sun Tzu
"If ignorant both of your enemy and yourself, you are certain to be in peril." - Sun Tzu
"If you are far from the enemy, make him believe you are near." - Sun Tzu
"If you know the enemy and know yourself you need not fear the results of a hundred battles." - Sun Tzu
"Invincibility lies in the defence; the possibility of victory in the attack." - Sun Tzu
"Know thy self, know thy enemy. A thousand battles, a thousand victories." - Sun Tzu
"Now the reason the enlightened prince and the wise general conquer the enemy whenever they move and their achievements surpass those of ordinary men is foreknowledge." - Sun Tzu
"Pretend inferiority and encourage his arrogance." - Sun Tzu
"Strategy without tactics is the slowest route to victory. Tactics without strategy is the noise before defeat." - Sun Tzu
"The good fighters of old first put themselves beyond the possibility of defeat, and then waited for an opportunity of defeating the enemy." - Sun Tzu
"Thus, what is of supreme importance in war is to attack the enemy's strategy." - Sun Tzu
"Victorious warriors win first and then go to war, while defeated warriors go to war first and then seek to win." - Sun Tzu
Prowess: To seek excellence in all endeavors expected of a knight, martial and otherwise, seeking strength to be used in the service of justice, rather than in personal aggrandizement.
Justice: Seek always the path of 'right', unencumbered by bias or personal interest. Recognize that the sword of justice can be a terrible thing, so it must be tempered by humanity and mercy. If the 'right' you see rings agrees with others, and you seek it out without bending to the temptation for expediency, then you will earn renown beyond measure.
Loyalty: Be known for unwavering commitment to the people and ideals you choose to live by. There are many places where compromise is expected; loyalty is not amongst them.
Defense: The ideal knight was sworn by oath to defend his liege lord and those who depended upon him. Seek always to defend your nation, your family, and those to whom you believe worthy of loyalty.
Courage: Being a knight often means choosing the more difficult path, the personally expensive one. Be prepared to make personal sacrifices in service of the precepts and people you value. At the same time, a knight should seek wisdom to see that stupidity and courage are cousins. Courage also means taking the side of truth in all matters, rather than seeking the expedient lie. Seek the truth whenever possible, but remember to temper justice with mercy, or the pure truth can bring grief.
Faith: A knight must have faith in his beliefs, for faith roots him and gives hope against the despair that human failings create.
Humility: Value first the contributions of others; do not boast of your own accomplishments, let others do this for you. Tell the deeds of others before your own, according them the renown rightfully earned through virtuous deeds. In this way the office of knighthood is well done and glorified, helping not only the gentle spoken of but also all who call themselves knights.
Largesse: Be generous in so far as your resources allow; largesse used in this way counters gluttony. It also makes the path of mercy easier to discern when a difficult decision of justice is required.
Nobility: Seek great stature of character by holding to the virtues and duties of a knight, realizing that though the ideals cannot be reached, the quality of striving towards them ennobles the spirit, growing the character from dust towards the heavens. Nobility also has the tendency to influence others, offering a compelling example of what can be done in the service of rightness.
Franchise: Seek to emulate everything I have spoken of as sincerely as possible, not for the reason of personal gain but because it is right. Do not restrict your exploration to a small world, but seek to infuse every aspect of your life with these qualities. Should you succeed in even a tiny measure then you will be well remembered for your quality and virtue.