The Samurai Codex
1. Justice or Rectitude
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. It is about making sure that we do not become indecisive and that our decisions are made and based on the right reasons.
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 belief in. this is about making sure we do what we believe in and have the courage to do so.
3. Benevolence or Mercy
As a warrior, the Samurai have 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.
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, and beliefs of others.
Honesty was very important, as they believe that being honest in everything you do gives you respect and means you can be trusted.
To live and die with honor was very important to the Samurai. Everything they did was honorable which meant they did everything in what they believed with honor.
Loyalty was probably one of the most 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 loosing their respect.
Samurai Philosophy: The Influence of Zen Buddhism
Warriors , swordsmen , and militants are some of the most common words used to describe the samurai . In actuality, samurais were noblemen, highly educated and dedicated to certain philosophies and belief codes. While most people have heard the term bushido , not many realize what a huge influence Zen Buddhism was to the samurai way of life.
The samurai class existed until the mid-1800s, with militaristic roots all the way back to the late 700’s. These clan warriors originally served to protect the emperor as well as the lands of the nobility, but they eventually began warring amongst themselves and took control of the government. To learn more about their weaponry, explore Swords of The East.
The samurai were upper class nobility members, well educated and literate at a time when very few Europeans knew how to read. In an effort to be well-rounded, the Samurai also participated in artistic and cultural activities. These endeavors included ink painting, calligraphy, and poetry.
The Samurai Code: Bushido
Zen Buddhism also influenced the idea of bushido , but a refresher of this moral code might help set the stage for understanding the art of Zen. Bushido refers to the set of beliefs samurai followed, which include honor, loyalty, courage, and self-sacrifice. The samurai could strike down anyone who offended their honor, and shamed warriors would embrace the ceremonial suicide practice known as seppuku. The samurai had high ethical standards and met all expectations of becoming highly trained in martial arts and tactical skills.
Defining Zen, Which Has No Meaning
The art of Zen is taught by observing and learning from a master, who may confuse you by saying that Zen is both everything and nothing. Zen is a personal journey and discovery of one’s self, perhaps meant to culminate in a lifestyle of discipline and self-enlightenment. To be more specific, this may include mediation and mental focus. Although Zen Buddhism is a non-violent practice, many aspects influenced the lives of samurai warriors.
Like the Bushido code, Zen teaches self-reliance, courage, and loyalty. It also develops flexibility, oneness with all tools, and strength of both mind and body. A motivating tool, the art of Zen pushes its students toward progress, while discouraging a student from focusing and fixating on his or her own strengths and weakness.
One of the most valuable of a samurai’s Zen tools was the ability to de-clutter his mind. Thoughts such as fear of death served only to distract, while focusing on strategy and changes in an opponent’s behavior could mean victory. All physical combat includes mental combat, and so warriors worked to develop powerful concentration in any circumstance. Although martial arts and swords training means years of learning specific movements and motions, samurai warriors knew not to rely on these in the battlefield. Anticipating an enemy’s moves was just as dangerous as utilizing a specific attack plan that could easily be thwarted or exploited by the enemy. By being in the moment, an important Zen practice, warriors could focus on the battle at hand.