To understand truly what bushido and its education, the seven virtues of bushido, meant for a samurai of the feudal Japan one needs some help. Written in Inazo Nitobe’s book Bushido, The Soul of Japan. In feudal Japan bushido was the code of moral principles followed by the samurai, an ethical code of conduct that permeated life, from childhood to elder hood, often not even written, but carved in the heart of the samurai.
Bushido Code Japanese Calligraphy In Semi cursive Script As Inazo Nitobe defines it: Bushido means literally the military-knight ways – the ways which fighting nobles should observe in their daily life as well as in their vocation; in a word, the precepts of knighthood.
What characterized these samurai and supported their action and knowledge of right and wrong is what we now popularly call the “Bushido Code” or “The Seven Virtues of Bushido”. Some of the virtues such as benevolence, politeness and truthfulness are inspired by the teachings of Confucius and Mencius. That “The Seven Virtues of Bushido”:
- GI – 義 – Integrity; is to do the right thing. Right Action, Duty.
Gi has two parts: the upper part represents a sheep, which was the symbol of beauty in ancient China and the lower part is the character for I, with a strong slanting stroke on the left which represents a halberd. The character could be explained as understanding (sheep) after conflict (halberd).
Be acutely honest throughout your dealings with all people. Believe in justice, not from other people, but from your-self. To the true warrior, all points of view are deeply considered regarding honesty, justice and Integrity.
“Warrior make a full commitment to their decisions.”
- REI – 礼- Respect; is Politeness or Morality, respect shown in social behavior.
Rei too is essential to Confucianism: The character actually means rite or ceremony but in a broader sense it means respect. In society rei governs your actions towards others, a fundamental politeness, very much related to jin. It is often translated with morality, but as morality has other connotations I suggest politeness.
True warrior have no reason to be cruel. They do not need to prove their strength. Warriors are courteous even to their enemies. Warriors are not only respected for their strength in battle, but also by their dealings with others.
“The true strength of a warrior becomes apparent during difficult times.”
- YUUKI – 勇 – Heroic Courage. Means brave, courageous energy.
Yuuki has two kanji. The first is yuu, which means courageous, with the important component of chikara, the symbol for strength. The second kanji is ki or energy.
Hiding like a turtle in a shell is not living at all. A true warrior must have heroic courage. It is absolutely risky. It is living life completely, fully, and wonderfully.
“Heroic courage is not blind. It is Intelligence and Strong.”
- MEIYO – 名誉 – Honor. Is to enjoy a good reputation, honor.
Meiyo has two kanji. The first is mei, which means reputation, with the symbol of mouth below. The second kanji is yo, which means to praise or to admire, which has the component of to say.
Warriors have only one judge of honor and character, and this is themselves. Decisions they and how these decisions are carried out is a reflection of whom they truly are.
“You cannot hide from yourself.”
- JIN – 仁 – Compassion. Is the benevolence that unites each human being to the other.
“Jin” has two parts: on the left side stands the character for human, and on the right there are two horizontal strokes which represent the number two. Jin is one of the most fundamental virtues of Confucianism, which could be defined as to treat each other with tenderness, to love each other.
Through incense training and liard work the true warrior becomes quick and strong. They are not as most people. They develop a power that must be used for good. They have compassion. They help their fellow man at every opportunity.
“If an opportunity does not arise, they go out their way to find one.”
- MAKOTO – 誠 – Truthfulness, Honesty and Sincerity. Means truth in word and action, to follow truly the Law of the Universe.
The kanji for “makoto” is composed of two parts: at the left stands the character for to speak, a mouth that produces words. At the right stands the character sei, which means to accomplish, to succeed.
When warriors say that they will perform an action, it is as good as done. Nothing will stop them from completing what they say they will do. They do not have to “give their word”. They do not have to “promise”.
“Speaking and doing are the same action.”
- CHU GI – 忠義 – Duty and Loyalty. is to act faithfully, to be loyal.
Chuugi has two characters. The first one is chuu which means to be sincere or loyal. This character expresses very well the true meaning of loyalty. We see a heart and on top of it the symbol for middle. Chuu could be understood as no conflict in the heart, faithful to what is felt in the heart. The second kanji is gi, which means right action or duty.
Warriors are responsible for everything that they have done and everything that they have said, and all of the consequences that follow. They are immensely loyal to all of those in their care.
“To everyone that they are responsible for, they remain fiercely true.”
I guess in previous life i ever be a Samurai, some part of my idealism as a man, before i know it is the BUSHIDO “The way of Warrior”. And i learn the calligraphy after long time, so sorry for my bad hand write or if there is any not pleasing in this article. May all beings be happy and be free. Oyasuminasai..^^
by: Michael (Kuroi Senko 黒い閃光)