Takuan is one of my sources for inspiration, and I value this work. He was born during the Warring States period in 1573 into a Samurai family of the Miura clan, and entered a Jodo-sect Buddhist monastery when he was 10. He joined the Zen Rinzai sect when he was 14, and made history by becoming the abbot of Daitokuji, one of the major temples in Kyoto, at the young age of only 30.
He was a prolific writer who composed over 6 major volumes, of which this is but a small fragment. The three works contained here were all written to great sword masters including Yagyu Munenori, and last piece was possibly to the head of the Itto school of swordsmanship, Ono Tadaaki. The purpose of these works is to unify the spirit of Zen with the spirit of the sword. To transcend the physical duel and have unbroken awareness of everything in the moment.
This is not a book to read quickly and hope to find entertainment or a lesson in history. This is deep martial philosophy written by an absolute genius and master of some of the highest arts in ancient Japan. The book contains a few images of his art and calligraphy, but unless you know what to look for it is hard to see just how great his work is. I bought a repo scroll of his calligraphy when last I was in Japan. There is a standout quality about his style in that his scripting appears three dimensional. In fact, it is almost impossible for at least my mind to follow some of the path. Never seen anything like it. I own an original Tesshu who was a great master, but there is something unique and special about Takuan's style that suggests he may have indeed been operating on a whole different level.
"The unfettered Mind" is very advanced stuff. This is not a casual read, and it will appeal to experienced martial artists willing to work with it and apply deep meditation to the many concepts that may not be apparent at first glance. This is one of the greats.