Observe the bigger picture and do not just focus on the insignificant aspect with which you have an emotional attachment. Setting your priorities correctly will give you the most impact and allow you to motivate, inspire, learn and change. Find the talent that can help you to carry out your mission, a triangular alliance is more stable than a two legged one, and be decisive once you have the facts to act. Have strategic solutions but remember that being just approximately right can solve many problems. Do not take no for an answer from a person who does not have the power to say yes. Satoru
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.
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
Bushido Principles Review
Bushido has seven main principles to guide a Samurai.
It was the code of the Samurai during the feudal period (1185–1868) of Japan.
My master had a secret that he did not talk about. After years and many questions he finally revealed that he had chosen the practical side of Buddhist transcendentalism, but incorporated Taoism naturalism, (The Way,) and wedded pragmatic Christianity, because he was Samurai.
As such he also lived by the code of bushido, the most outstanding being honor, the only canon to be written with two pictograph symbols. The principles are:
This means that a samurai has a specific Code of Honor and an elevated moral code of the society. This is based not because of a consequence of power but upon moral or ethical excellence. 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 (Chu)
Difficult and easy support each other. High and low depend on each other. The warrior is responsible for their words, actions, and for those whom they work. They never avoid their duty and pursue the success of every venture. The best leader is loved, next, one who is feared.
Justice & Morality (GI)
Justice was supposed to be fair play, fair-mindedness, equity, and evenhandedness. But today, ”Justice is the advantage of the stronger.” Thrasymachus
Complete Sincerity (Makoto)
Sincerity is the quality of being free from pretense, deceit, or hypocrisy. “The sincerity of his beliefs is unquestionable” One must reflect that this was a time when old age was rare and a mans life was restricted to horseback miles. Your life was real only if your word was real.
The hard and stiff will be broken. The soft and supple will prevail.
Polite Courtesy (Rei)
You are a guest in the world. Streams flow to the sea because they are lower. Humility gives its power to the oceans.
Keep your heart as open as the sky. Enter a battle gravely, with sorrow and with great compassion for many will die.
Heroic Courage (Yu)
All things change. Hold on to nothing.
I am a Zen Buddhist. I live a moral, happy, reflexive, meditative life. I use the ancient Samurai Bushido credos as my guidelines. But of late I am having some difficulty dovetailing its principle’s into the standards of today’s world. Your serious site is always evocative and informing. Can you give me some insights into this problem?
I like to keep my blogs short and succinct. I do this because it allows the readers time to think about a specific idea. If the idea is valid and adaptable, a person can use it to change their life for the better. However, since I have been asked numerous times about this problem, and to aid in your inquiry, I will devote the next several blogs to elucidate this difficulty. I will start the next blog with an edited review of the principles of Bushido.
A student asks, “Can Zen and Bushido, the code of the Samurai, be adopted to daily living, and especially to relationships?
The philosophies of Zen, and the code of Bushido, have both evolved in order to be significant to modern individuals. The first path toward enlightenment in Zen is Proper views. The first principle in Bushido is Honor. Since both are moral compasses, they just needed to use more contemporary language.
Proper views. For a successful relationship love it for what it is, not for what you want. Take into account that great love and great achievements require great risks.
Bushido. In serving serve, in fighting kill, in loving give all and keep your heart as open as the sky.
Memorial Day is a day of remembrance and honoring those who lost their lives in the service of their country. Buddhism is a teaching of the universality of death and peace. Zen Buddhism is also a philosophy of peace and honor but has a history based on the bushido code of the samurai who believed we must, “Pray for peace but prepare for war.” So if we follow a Zen Buddhists philosophy we must also remember those who were murdered in the 911 catastrophe as if they to were soldiers. Never forget that we are in a war against terrorist for their archaic radicalism, their murder of innocence, and their repression of women.
I am meditating on a deck above the beach looking east into the vastness of the Atlantic Ocean. My beach shack is on a tiny island a few hundred miles from the mainland. The wind off the sea is a strong twenty knots and the salt spray floats across the waters and settles on everything a salty mist. The churning waters are a milky blue opaque and the whitecaps run clear to the horizon. Swimming in the chop with only a mask and snorkel is like a sensory deprivation tank. You cannot see anything but the milky water, which acts as a mirror reflecting your thoughts, and there is nothing but the vast sea surrounding you with neutral buoyancy. Breathe deeply and inhale fresh clean air. There is life in every breath. This is the life of a Zen Buddhist. This is bushido the life of the warrior. So breathe deep and be grateful for the gift of life and all it entails as the sunset turns blood red.