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Samurai and Death

Fate knocks on everybody’s door, but why does only the warrior hear it? Why does he find strength and determination to set out, while it is much easier to sleep in a warm bed? Why does he need it? 
A person is always in the state of total uncertainty: this is the condition we all live in constantly; human life is filled with uncertainty, worry and the subconscious fear of death. People are trying to create the illusion of security, to forget about the inevitable end. 
But the Warrior does not lie to himself.

The majority try to shut their eyes, retrieve from reality, and avoid the questions that a human being is incapable of solving. 
The warrior does not shut his eyes; he sees death in front of him and deliberately decides to face it.
The warrior tells himself:
“I will not live like a rabbit that dully chews grass. Let others do it, whoever wants it. But Force is boiling in my veins. Even if the battle is hopeless, I will set out anyway! Even if I face insoluble questions, I will try anyway.
There is nothing else for me to do in this world!!!‚ÄĚ

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.

A warrior is an individual who is not attached to his life. 
A warrior nurtures this realization in his heart for many years until it becomes his deep belief, until it enters his flesh and blood, until the very question of the dualism of life and death secedes by itself.
Such a person becomes free.


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!

He who understands death overcomes death. He begins to realize that there is something beyond death.
A man has something in him of which he is unaware…
The main principle that the warrior should follow day after day states: you must live and die according to the Way of the Samurai.

The mental state at the moment of death defines the subsequent rebirth. The spirit chooses the material shell that it enters. This is why it is said that the spirit sets up the form.

A samurai welcomes death and is joyous that he is given a chance to die…
Death is not a sunset but a sunrise! A samurai walks towards the dazzling sun of death…

Risk becomes a method of cognizing Reality. 
Risk becomes a criterion of Faith. Faith does not exist without associated risk. The more you risk, the stronger your Faith is.
Risk is a battle with death, closeness to death. 
The Spirit of the Warrior endeavors to fight this battle, and death becomes an invaluable mentor of the Warrior.

By becoming fearless, the Warrior crosses the Rubicon of life and death, acquiring the fullness of existence unavailable before. 
Without fearlessness, integrity of life is inaccessible. 
This idea seems incredible, but it is really so… The objective is to conceive the essence of the fundamental concept of fearlessness, an absolute fearlessness of existence…
The higher the risk and the closer death is, the more potent is the thrill a man has. Rummaging in personal experience, anyone would recall the moments of utter bliss, an astounding invigorative pureness that taking risk offers.

If a warrior is not unattached to life and death, he will be of no use whatsoever… With such non-attachment one can accomplish any feat. Martial arts and the like are related to this insofar as they can lead to the Way. 
‚Äď Yamamoto Tsunetomo

A real warrior must always be ready to meet his death. He must always be prepared to lose his life without hesitation at any moment.
Fear blinds the mind and paralyzes willpower. A warrior needs deliberate and calm determination, a mind free of illusions, and will harder than metal.
Do not mind pain; meet your death as if you do it every day, samurai!
This is the true Way of the Warrior.

‚Äď Daidoji Yuzan

A real warrior must always be ready to meet his death. He must always be prepared to lose his life without hesitation at any moment.
Fear blinds the mind and paralyzes willpower. A warrior needs deliberate and calm determination, a mind free of illusions, and will harder than metal.
Do not mind pain; meet your death as if you do it every day, samurai!
This is the true Way of the Warrior.

‚Äď Daidoji Yuzan

Isao was always thinking of death, and this had so refined him that the physical seemed to fall away, freeing him from the pull of earth and enabling him to walk about some distance above its surface. Indeed he felt that even his distaste and hatred for the affairs of the world no longer stirred him deeply.

‚Äď Mishima Yukio

One must not fear the death of the body, but the death of the heart (Spirit). If you realize that the heart does not die, there is nothing in this world left to fear. Determination becomes unwavering. At this moment we hear the orders of Heaven.

‚Äď Oshio Heihachiro

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.

‚Äď Mito Mitsukuni

samurai quote

samurai quote kato kiyomasa

harakiri art

Lord Naoshige said, ‚ÄúThe Way of the Samurai is in desperateness. Ten men or more cannot kill such a man. Common sense will not accomplish great things. Simply become insane and desperate‚ÄĚ.¬†
‚Äď Yamamoto Tsunetomo

The Way to find courage is to seek it on the field of conflict. And the sure way to victory is willingness to risk one's own life.

‚Äď Masutatsu Oyama

A person who does not want to be struck by the enemy's arrows will have no divine protection.
‚Äď Yamamoto Tsunetomo

Go to the battlefield firmly confident of victory and you will come home with no wounds whatsoever.
‚Äď Samurai general Uesugi Kenshin

Compare:

You are well aware that it is not numbers or strength that bring the victories in war. No, it is when one side goes against the enemy with the gods' gift of a stronger morale that their adversaries, as a rule, cannot withstand them. I have noticed this point too, my friends, that in soldiering the people whose one aim is to keep alive usually find a wretched and dishonorable death, while the people who, realizing that death is the common lot of all men, make it their endeavour to die with honour, somehow seem more often to reach old age and to have a happier life when they are alive. These are facts which you too should realize (our situation demands it) and should show that you yourselves are brave men and should call on the rest to do likewise.
‚Äď Xenophon of Athens

Engage in battle being absolutely sure in victory ‚Äď and you will go through dangers unwounded.
Have a firm readiness to die and you will stay alive. If you try to survive in battle, you will definitely be killed.

The life of the Warrior is based on understanding death. Death is the corner stone, the initial and the final point of the Warrior’s philosophy; alpha and omega, the beginning and the end that form a circle. Warriors of the past meditated on death for a long time until the piercing lucidity of consciousness appeared that led a warrior out of the state of inertness.
The consciousness of the Warrior is always awake and in a spiritual quest.

Even if you hide underground a thousand steps deep, death will find you if your time has come. 
Cowardice attracts misfortune. The brave despise danger, and it avoids them. 
Accordingly, legendary warriors rarely died in battle. The power of spirit is the most reliable protection and one should always remember it.

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 ‚Äúhidden by leaves,‚ÄĚ the secret love of Yamamoto Tsunetomo‚Ķ

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.

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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