The Code of the Samurai (Bushido)
The Code of the Samurai (Bushido) for the modern peaceful warrior
The Code of the Samurai also known as Bushido is a Japanese collective term for the many codes of honour and ideals that dictated the samurai way of life.
Bushi (Warrior) + Do (The way or code) is not a rule but a code that all humans that want live a better life can follow. It is a five-hundred-year-old self-help guide.
In modern times these codes are considered as virtues. Yes, even the most ruthless warrior can have virtues that take their humanity to the next level.
Code of the Samurai No 1: Righteousness and Justice (義 gi)
This is all about making sure that we have the right way when we make a decision. That we have the power to make a decision quickly and do the right thing.
Be acutely honest throughout your dealings with all people. Believe in justice, not from other people, but from yourself. To the true warrior, all points of view are deeply considered regarding honesty, justice, and integrity. Warriors make a full commitment to their decisions.
It is about making sure that we do not become indecisive and that our decisions are made and based on the right reasons.
Code of the Samurai No 2: Courage (勇 yū)
This is about making sure that what we do is right and that we have the courage to do the right thing and not just what people think we should do. If we are raised in a particular way, we think in a way that we believe in. this is about making sure we do what we believe in and have the courage to do so.
Code of the Samurai No 3: Benevolence or Mercy (仁 jin)
As a warrior, the Samurai has the power to kill. However, benevolence is about making sure that you are balanced in how you think. It is about making sure that you also have sympathy and mercy at the right time. For the Samurai it was about making sure you fought for the right reason and that if you had to kill someone, you did it for the right reason and your belief but that you also make sure that if there was no need to kill you would have mercy and be sympathetic.
Code of the Samurai No 4: Respect (禮 rei)
It is important that in everything they believe, they must have respect and be polite in everything. The way they live their life meant they must be respectful of their elders, they must respect life, respect others beliefs.
Code of the Samurai No 5: Honesty (誠 makoto)
Honesty was very important, as they believe that being honest in everything you do gives you respect and means you can be trusted.
Code of the Samurai No 6: Honour (名誉 meiyo)
To live and die with honour was very important to the Samurai. Everything they did was honourable which meant they did everything in what they believed with honour.
Code of the Samurai No 7: Loyalty (忠義 chūgi)
Loyalty was probably one of the very important parts of what they did. They treated each other like family and would do everything within their power to protect and help their samurai warriors. Loyalty was important because this means they can trust their warriors and know they would be loyal to whatever they needed to do and not worry about losing their respect.
Code of the Samurai No 8: Self-Control (自制 jisei)
Read this book to learn more about the Code of the Samurai
Why did the Samurai need such code?
Well, basically the samurai were initially a bunch of thugs that ruled the land. They were ruthless, they lived by the sword and died by the sword.
A brief history of the Samurai
The word samurai originally meant “one who serves,” and referred to men of noble birth assigned to guard members of the Imperial Court. This service ethic spawned the roots of samurai nobility, both social and spiritual. Over time, the nobility had trouble maintaining centralized control of the nation and began “outsourcing” military, administrative, and tax collecting duties to former rivals who acted like regional governors. As the Imperial Court grew weaker, local governors grew more powerful. Eventually, some evolved into daimyo or feudal lords who ruled specific territories independently of the central government.
The Samurai that served – ruled instead
In 1185 Minamoto no Yoritomo, a warlord of the eastern provinces who traced his lineage back to the imperial family, established the nation’s first military government and Japan entered its feudal period (1185-1867). The country was essentially under military rule for nearly 700 years. But the initial stability Minamoto achieved failed to bring lasting peace. Other regimes came and went, and in 1467 the national military government collapsed, plunging Japan into turmoil. Thus began the infamous Age of Wars, a bloody century of strife when local warlords fought to protect their domains and schemed to conquer rivals. By the time Japan plunged into the turbulent Age of Wars, the term samurai had come to signify armed government officials, peacekeeping officers, and professional soldiers: in short, almost anyone who carried a sword and was ready and able to exercise deadly force.
With peace came the peaceful warrior
The worst of these medieval Japanese warriors were little better than street thugs; the best were fiercely loyal to their masters and true to the unwritten code of chivalrous behaviour known today as Bushido (usually translated as “Precepts of Knighthood” or “Way of the Warrior”). Virtuous or villainous, the samurai emerged as the colourful central figures of Japanese history: a romantic archetype akin to Europe’s medieval knights or the American cowboy of the Wild West. But the samurai changed dramatically after Hideyoshi pacified Japan. With civil society at peace, their role as professional fighters disappeared, and they became less preoccupied with martial training and more concerned with spiritual development, teaching, and the arts. By 1867, when the public wearing of swords was outlawed and the warrior class was abolished, they had evolved into what Hideyoshi had envisioned nearly three centuries earlier: swordless samurai.
Written by Cromwell Salvatera