Bushido

The samurai philosophy traces back to Zen Buddhism which implies the idea of the existence of a single ideal sword that gave birth to the entire dual world with its innumerable doubts.

The Concept of “Bushido”

“Budoseshinshu” – “The Samurai Code” (translated as “The Way of the Warrior”) – was written as a guide for the Japanese who chose a military life. The book’s author is Taira Shigesuke, the Confucian monk and military historian. Following that, it took five centuries of military rule to finally develop the standards of the Bushido samurai philosophy. It included the model of the samurai’s irreproachable conduct, moral and practical guidance; historically appropriate personal, social and professional standards of warrior’s conduct.

The word “bushido” includes 3 hieroglyphs. The word “bushi” is the only one in the Japanese language that most accurately describes the concept and essence of a warrior. The first hieroglyph “bu” means “military”/“soldierly”, its root means “to stop”. And the second character is a short form of how a spear is designated. An ancient Chinese source contains a detailed interpretation that says that “bu” forbids violence, “stops the spear”.

In Japanese, the hieroglyph “shi” means “a soldiery”, “a warrior”, “a noble person”. Initially, the word was used to describe people who had certain skills and were high on the social scale but willing to take up arms if necessary. It appears that “bushi” is a person who secures peace by both purely non-aggressive methods, with art, and with a sword.

The last character – “do” – means “a path”. This is the most important concept for many oriental teachings that combines seemingly incompatible qualities – “bu” and “bun” as “the ideal person”.

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Bushido Postulates

The requirements of the code were quite clearly stated by Daidoji Yuzan. They are the following:

- true courage means that one must live when it is rightful and die when it is rightful;

- one must go to his death being clearly aware of this;

- one must weigh his every word and ask himself whether his words are true or not;

- one must be moderate in eating and avoid self-permissiveness;

- one must remember about death in his everyday life;

- one must respect the rule “Parents are the tree trunk and children are its branches”;

- one must always be loyal to his master;

- one must take on enemy spears and arrows with no fear;

- faithfulness, courage and justice are the samurai’s main virtues;

- if one loses a war, he has to proudly say his name and die with a smile, with no humiliating haste.

The Samurai Philosophy

The true spiritual meaning of the “Bushido” samurai code and samurai philosophy can be stated as follows: “A warrior must live knowing that he may die at any time, and he should appreciate every moment of his life as it may turn out to be the last one.” Only the one who is ready to die can see the world in all its glory and devote all his time to helping his neighbors and himself. Only when you realize you can see all of this for the last time, you will look at the world with love and notice the things that ordinary people do not see in their busy lives. The warrior feels the sun warms him with its rays, rustling of leaves and beautiful birdsongs. He sees how a leaf, that has come off the branch, swirling, falls into a runlet and rapidly floats away downstream. That is why a lot of samurai became poets, and many of them customarily left their dying poems. A lot of samurai were also interested in theater, fine arts and calligraphy.


See also

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