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Saturday, September 4, 2010

The Way of the Samurai

During the 9th and 12th centuries in Japan the warrior class were known as samurai, also called bushi (knights/warriors - bushi hence bushido). They emerged from the provinces of Japan to become the ruling class until their decline and later total abolition in 1876 during the Meiji Era.

These warriors were men who lived by Bushido; it was their way of life. The samurai's loyalty to the emperor and his overlord or daimyo were unsurpassed. They were trustworthy and honest. They lived frugal lives with no interest in riches and material things, but rather in honor and pride. They were men of true valor. Samurai had no fear of death. They would enter any battle no matter the odds. To die in battle would only bring honor to one's family and one's lord.

Bushido, the way of the samurai, grew out of the fusion of Buddhism and Shintoism. This way can be summarized in seven essential principles:

Gi: the right decision, taken with equanimity,

the right attitude, the truth. When we must die, we must die. Rectitude.

Yu: bravery tinged with heroism.

Jin: universal love, benevolence toward mankind; compassion.

Rei: right action--a most essential quality, courtesy.

Makoto: utter sincerity; truthfulness.

Melyo: honor and glory.

Chugo: devotion, loyalty.

- Makoto
Note: In some context, this character can mean letter; news or envoy. However, alone, it will generally be read with the honesty-meaning.

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