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Death and a Pure Mind in Bushido

A mind free of material desires, an absolutely tranquil mind can foresee
the movements of an opponent and reach the state of being acutely alert
and acting on intuition.
Ueshiba Morihei

In a common state of mind, a person is distracted by hundreds of conscious and subconscious impulses making him involuntarily waste bits of time contemplating his actions. A warrior in the state of “empty consciousness” reacts instantly and without any doubts. Thus a warrior with empty consciousness is not only fearless, he is also swifter and he wins.

Renouncing everything that clouds the purity of thoughts and mind is the most essential and simple rule that must be followed by a true Warrior. Impatience, disappointments, anxiety, doubts, anger, the fear of loss, and hundreds of other desires and passions possess the thoughts of ordinary people tenaciously, and rule their behavior.

A Warrior, seasoned by Bushido, reaches the state of pure and cold consciousness that can be compared to ice illuminated by the winter sunlight.
As if he is standing on the top of a soaring metaphysical cliff, at the bottom of which the impotent waves of human desires and ignorance rage.

Mental hygiene. A warrior must contemplate his great predestination every day, keep his samurai pride pure, and not let unworthy thoughts enter his mind.
A warrior must have a firm and profound system of views, relying on which he would always meet the challenges.

Most people do not have settled convictions and a clear concept of what is good and bad, right and wrong. He who does not have a clear-cut understanding of goodness and evil cannot be called a samurai. A warrior must possess a profound comprehension of right and wrong. 
He must distance himself from the wrong by way of discipline and focus his efforts on the right things. 
A Warrior must be clear about what he needs or casts off and… just live…

From the time one is young, he should associate with companions who are upright and not even temporarily be taken in by friends of low character. 
Just as water will conform to the shape of the vessel that contains it, so will a man follow the good and evil of his companions. That is so true.
Imagawa Sadayo

Faith, Will, and absolute Purity create the Way of the Warrior that is like a beam of light on the steel of a sword. If you look at the blade of the sword directed to the Sun, the Sun will seem very close… It will burn on the sword point, filling everything around…

sen no rikyu quote

A warrior without the virtue of valor is not a warrior.
A warrior who has not comprehended wisdom and mercy is a murderer and barbarian. A true knight would not step on a flower or shed innocent blood.

Be pure as a prayer. Warrior’s aspirations shall be pure and free from egotism. His thoughts shall be pure as a prayer. By purifying his mind a warrior acquires freedom from meanness in him. Purity is a Spiritual practice. A Warrior follows it all his life.

He is the warrior who practices bravery, having eliminated fear in himself. 
The Warrior has broken free from the desire to live and the fear of death. The Warrior does not want to live, he just lives.

A samurai is born to bring welfare. He must use his force for the wellbeing of other people.
A warrior must clearly understand what complies with moral principles. All problems should be solved according to these principles based on giri – the feeling of moral duty and honor.


The man who would be a warrior considers it his most basic intention to keep death always in mind, day and night, from the time he first picks up his chopsticks in celebrating his morning meal on New Year’s Day to the evening of the last day of the year. When one constantly keeps death in mind, both loyalty and filial piety are realized, myriad evils and disasters are avoided, one is without illness and mishap, and lives out a long life. In addition, even his character is improved. Such are the many benifits of this act.
Daidoji Yuzan, Budoshoshinshu: The Warrior’s Primer

The Warrior feels the appeal of risk and intuitively starts understanding that the spirit calls him to death.
The spirit calls to death!
Death becomes desirable, because the Way of Risk leads to it, because death is the Gate…
A paradoxical and sublime yearning for death grows in the soul of the Warrior. All samurai refer to this fact. Few people understand the source of this hidden irrational yearning. It is that same “hidden by leaves,” the secret love of Yamamoto Tsunetomo…

A samurai should not lie neither in action nor in the heart. A real samurai should meet death in a more tranquil state of mind than he usually is. This is where the difference between samurai and common people lies.
Mito Mitsukuni

Death comes to all – the great and the small.
Death reaches you without taking into account if you are prepared to meet it or not. But not all people are prepared for the fact of death. However you are inclined to think that you will outlive everybody. It deceives both you and others. Death stalks you before you know it. Facing death be sure that you meet it fully prepared.
Yamamoto Tsunetomo

laozi lao tzu quote


To die properly a man must at first understand deeply what for and how he should die.

Enjoy life, but be capable of leaving it at any moment.
You cannot calculate your life any further than the time needed to take one breath. 
Not the death itself is important for a warrior, but determination to die any moment at his own will.

warrior death quote

It is hard for anybody to break free from the idea of death. It’s a professional duty for a warrior. The idea of death is an obstacle. Overcome it!

At the end of a person’s life, the world he leaves behind must not be worse than it had been initially and, if possible, it should be better.


Quotes are taken from
the book "Samurai. Spirit of the Warrior" by A. R. Basov

avaliable as an eBook (for Windows, Android, iOS) and a hardcover book (pre-order only).


I will not get lost...
The North Star is shining in the darkness...
The road to Valhalla, straight like a sword, is always in front of me!

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