Modern Bushido Principles


These are the updated seven principles of modern Bushido to guide a millennium Samurai. Todays Samurai still fight with weapons. Modern day weapons give power to the weak and the strong indiscriminately. Because modern warfare and politics have taken the individuality out of combat, except for the armed forces, the Samurai of today fight with very different weapons, resources and battles. Today’s warriors fight with words, law, media, demonstrations, group and individual action, communication, and education. Although the principles are the same, because of the complexity of an evolving society, technology, and communication, the codes and accompanying philosophies have grown more multifaceted to encompass modern times and need to be expressed in more contemporary language.
Honor
Still, the first guiding and most outstanding principal is honor. Without honor there is no trust, integrity or scope. The first tenant of honor is, “A mans word is his bond,” Don’t say you are going to do something and not do it. This is dishonorable. Better yet, just do it since, Life is Action. Do not make promises. They erode relationships and business interactions if they are not fulfilled, and act as wedges to bonding. Honor is still defined as a code of behavior that defines the duties of an individual within a social group. Unfortunately many modern industries, politics, people and administrators are self-serving and only believe in money as a means to their end. But you, as an enlightened individual, can use your Zen centered existence to erode the power of those without honor by first being a good example. One bucket of sand at a time can build a hill. One cut at the armor of a nefariousness person can cause a tiny wound to grow and disable. This does not mean you cannot become successful. Quite the contrary, the more successful you are, the more you can help and demonstrate honor. The honorable person has integrity and is trusted. A person without honor is not grounded or centered and will never see the light.
Duty & Loyalty
Duty and loyalty have changed significantly because of the structure of modern day capitalism. Many are wage slaves and are dependent on salaries and an employer’s proclivity. Today you have to see yourself as the catalyst for success and take pride in developing and honing your skills. This loyalty brings with it a sense of duty derived from the continued development of your character, the core of who you are and your moral expectation. You are committed to duty, and the end result, but only if it is ethical. To do any less than your best would be to dishonor yourself. Loss of honor is the greatest failure of the warrior and directly violates Bushido.
But, your main duty now is to become healthier in your body and mind. Your loyalty is diminished toward a master or employee unless he is a teacher or leads by example. Even if you are a Rōnin, your loyalty is to the universal good of man and you can no longer be concerned with the petty whims or wishes of anyone in power.
A rōnin was a samurai with no lord or master during the feudal period (1185–1868) of Japan. A samurai became master less from the death or fall of his master, or the loss of his master’s favor. In modern Japanese usage, the term describes a salary man who is “between employers” or a graduate who has not yet been admitted to university.
The word rōnin literally means “wave man,” one who is socially adrift. It is an idiomatic expression that means “vagrant” or “wandering man”, someone without a home. According to the Bushido Shoshinshu (the Code of the Samurai), a samurai was supposed to commit seppuku (also “hara kiri”, ritual suicide) upon the loss of his master. One who chose not to honor the code was “on his own” and was meant to suffer great shame. The undesirability of rōnin status was mainly a discrimination imposed by other samurai and by daimyo, the feudal lords.
More on Modern Bushido in the next blog. Satoru

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