Friday, October 11, 2013



Bushido literally means "the way of the warrior", a Japanese word for the way of the samurai life.

The Bushido originates from the samurai moral code stressing frugality, loyalty, martial arts mastery, and honor unto death. Born from Neo-Confucianism during times of peace in Tokugawa Japan and following Confucian texts, Bushido was also influenced by Shinto and Zen Buddhism, allowing the violent existence of the samurai to be tempered by wisdom and serenity. Bushido developed between the 9th and 20th centuries and influenced highly Japan.
Under the Tokugawa Shogunate, many aspects of bushido were formalized into Japanese feudal law. 

Bushido is the code of moral principles which the samurai were required or instructed to observe. It is an unwritten code.

Bushido tenets expanded and formalized the earlier code of the samurai, and stressed frugality, loyalty, mastery of martial arts, and honor to the death. Under the bushido ideal, if a samurai failed to uphold his honor he could only regain it by performing seppuku (ritual suicide).

Other parts of the bushido philosophy cover methods of raising children, appearance, and grooming, but all of this may be seen as part of one's constant preparation for death — to die a good death with one's honor intact, the ultimate aim in a life lived according to bushido. Indeed, a "good death" is its own reward, and by no means assurance of "future rewards" in the afterlife. Seven principles of Bushido:

1.       Courage; Courage is the ability and willingness to confront fear, pain, danger, uncertainty, or intimidation. Physical courage is courage in the face of physical pain, hardship, death, or threat of death, while moral courage is the ability to act rightly in the face of popular opposition, shame, scandal, or discouragement.

2.      Rectitude: Righteousness implies that a person's actions are justified, and can have the connotation that the person has been "judged" or "reckoned" as leading a life that is pleasing to God.

3.      Benevolence: An act of kindness; good done; charity given.

4.      Respect: Respect is a positive feeling of esteem or deference for a person or other entity (such as a nation or a religion), and also specific actions and conduct representative of that esteem.

5.      Honesty: Honesty refers to a facet of moral character and connotes positive and virtuous attributes such as integrity, truthfulness, and straightforwardness, including straightforwardness of conduct, along with the absence of lying, cheating, theft, etc. Furthermore, honesty means being trustworthy, loyal, fair, and sincere.

6.      Honour: Honor is an abstract concept entailing a perceived quality of worthiness and respectability that affects both the social standing and the self-evaluation of an.  Accordingly, individuals are assigned worth and stature based on the harmony of their actions with a specific code of honor, and the moral code of the society at large.

7.      Loyalty: Loyalty is faithfulness or a devotion to a person, country, group, or cause.

Associated virtues:

1.       Filial piety: Filial piety means to be good to one's parents; to take care of one's parents; to engage in good conduct not just towards parents but also outside the home so as to bring a good name to one's parents and ancestors; to perform the duties of one's job well so as to obtain the material means to support parents as well as carry out sacrifices to the ancestors; not be rebellious; show love, respect and support; display courtesy; ensure male heirs, uphold fraternity among brothers; wisely advise one's parents, including dissuading them from moral unrighteousness; display sorrow for their sickness and death; and carry out sacrifices after their death.

2.      Wisdom: Wisdom is a habit or disposition to perform the action with the highest degree of adequacy under any given circumstance. This implies a possession or seeking of knowledge of the given circumstances. This involves an understanding of people, things, events and situations, and the willingness and the ability to apply perceptions, judgments and actions in keeping with an understanding of what is the right course of actions. It often requires control of one's emotional reactions so that universal principles, values, reason and knowledge prevail to determine one's actions. In short, wisdom is a disposition to find the truth coupled with an optimum judgment as to right actions with prudence, sagacity, discernment, or insight.

3.      Care for the aged.

By Sensei Gualdo Hidalgo
USA National School of Karate

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