Bushido: Everyday Life as the Warrior’s Canvas
Ancient Samurai wisdom serves as an invaluable guide to helps us direct our daily actions with strength and beauty.
Bushido is an ancient moral guide for samurais, developed in Japan during the Heian and Tokugawa periods (between the 9th and 12th centuries). Beyond mastering strategies for battle and diplomacy, Bushido is also a fundamental guide on how to temper the spirit and set warriors themselves as leaders that know how to comfort others and give them direction in times of darkness.
If they are embraced with humility, the seven principles of Bushido are unfading pillars that can bring dignity to our life.
1. Gi –Honesty and Justice
Often, treating others as we would like to be treated is not enough: when justice is not equal for all, the warrior must adopt a clear and unhindered position. For a samurai there are no grey areas, so he must make sure everything that involves him sees the light of day and in this manner he will avoid misunderstandings.
2. Yu –Heroism
A warrior, unlike the masses, does not live in hiding: he acts, and by setting the example, he spreads courage among others. Although he might feel fear deep inside him, he will not show it: his courage is not blind but intelligent –because he knows how to measure danger and transform fear into caution.
3. Jin –Compassion
With a strong Buddhist influence, Bushido attests that compassion is an opportunity which the warrior must seek or create in order for him to help others. His training has formed him as a strong and powerful being, which is only useful when used to help others
4. Rei –Courtesy
A samurai needs not be cruel: his strength resides precisely in the fact that he does not brag about it. He will not give-in to vulgar demonstrations to impress his enemies. His true strength resides in knowing that the enemy will avoid any confrontation, fearful not of his strength, but of his courtesy. Lacking respect for our rivals makes us no better than the basest men.
5. Meyo –Honor
The only one capable of judging a samurai is the samurai himself. One can never hide from oneself, and if our moral is strong we will know how to differentiate our good actions from our bad. In this sense, honor must be understood as the capacity to accept the consequences of our actions with absolute consciousness.
6. Makoto –Unassailable Sincerity
Perhaps one of the most beautiful Bushido proverbs is: “When a samurai says he will do something, it is as if it were already done”. For warriors there is no difference between speaking and doing, since words are as crystal clear as actions. By being interwoven with the others, each statement made by the Bushido makes the others grow stronger, like a knot: thus, absolute sincerity with oneself derives in honoring and respecting ourselves. A warrior never lies to himself.
7. Chugo –Duty and Loyalty
Power is worthless if it does not protect; that is, if it lacks a sense of responsibility for others. Having said or done something is the warrior’s ultimate responsibility; he is tied to that word or action. Bushido states: “The words of a man are like his prints: you can follow them wherever he goes.” Loyalty refers to the vassalage relationship between the samurai and the Ronin (feudal master); which implies that, as a warrior, he will be hold, forever responsible, for his own actions before himself.
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