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Samurai Code

Be devoted to the lord.
Be respectful towards your parents.
Be brave in battle.
Be scrupulous when killing living beings.
Do not be afraid to die.
These are the main principles of Bushi-Do.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"



A man whose profession is the use of arms should think and then act upon not only his fame, but also that of his descendants. He should not scandalise his name forever by holding his one and only life too dear.
– Shiba Yoshimasa

In Japanese gishi literally means "a decent person" – the highest title indicating the proficiency in an art or skill. This is said of a warrior that follows the Law of Giri.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

If you are able to see the good and bad sides of people, you will always hold true to your high principles.
–  Yamamoto Tsunetomo

A true moral is the ray of Enlightenment.
The samurai are the rulers, the enlightened warriors.
The doctrine of their life is directly connected to their predestination. Rulers of all ages can learn a lot from the samurai. The samurai doctrine is simple: every member of the society must fulfill honestly their predetermined duty. If you are a ruler, be an honest ruler. If you are a bodyguard, protect your master to the last drop of blood. If you are a merchant, be decent. If you are an ordinary person, do what you are supposed to do in your position.
Put lies aside, and the truth will triumph.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

Precious metals and jewels are not necessarily treasures. Rather, one should consider his samurai and the common people as his wealth and bring them up with gentleness and benevolence.
– Kuroda Nagamasa

The samurai are obliged to make the lives of their subjects better and protect them, even at the expense of their own lives.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

The samurai were established with the function to protect the three classes from disasters caused by the robbers and thieves, and were placed above the other members of society. There is no doubt that the function of the warrior is to bring peace of mind to the other members of society. Thus, it is unreasonable for men called warriors to act in unjust and excessive ways towards the other three classes. This goes without saying for those of high rank, but also concerns men of lower status.
– Daidōji Yūzan

The samurai are entrusted with the duty of ruling society, and there is no excuse for ignorance.
A samurai should learn constantly and train himself to be able to fulfill any duty.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

A person with a bit of wisdom is one who will criticize the times.
– Yamamoto Tsunetomo

A samurai is born to bring welfare. He must use his power for the well-being 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 sense of moral duty and honor.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

It is difficult to call a man who does not understand duty a warrior.
– Daidōji Yūzan

If a warrior cannot serve with true dedication, he should not do it. If a goal is not worth sacrificing one's life, it is a false goal.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

Lord Ieyasu said, “The foundation for ruling the country in peace is compassion, for when one thinks of the people as being his children, the people will think of him as their parent.” Moreover, can’t it be thought that the names "group parent" and "group child" [i.e., group leader and member] are so called because they are attached to each other by the harmonious hearts of a parent-child relationship?
– Yamamoto Tsunetomo

Honor cannot be measured with arithmetic!
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

Money is money and loyalty is loyalty. These are completely different things.
Money is for financial matters, and loyalty can be preserved only by seppuku. That is all.
– Mishima Yukio

A samurai ideal is a man who has never touched money because he considers it to be dirty.
Understandably, such an ideal is difficult to achieve, but you should constantly keep it in mind.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

I do not need gold and silver. One cup of rice a day is quite enough for life.
– Sōhō Takuan

If you derived benefit from an evil deed, you should know that you have laid a foundation for your future misfortunes.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

Reward without merit is an unfair gift that inflicts misery.
– Zhuo Zhuan

A warrior should always adhere to the principle of austere simplicity. He must not be enslaved by worldly goods or acquire material excess that waste one's time and energy. Even his own body, he must not overburden with muscles; otherwise he would serve the body and not the other way around.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

Whether a man becomes good or bad, clever or thick-witted, is simply a matter of the way he uses his mind.
In this uncertain world, ours should be the path of discipline.
– Shiba Yoshimasa

Power entails responsibility. Serving society is the most difficult duty, and the ruler who honestly fulfills his duty performs a remarkable feat.
But even the perfect becomes imperfect when it gets in touch with the imperfect. This is why the idea of self-isolation, microcosm and self-concentration was very popular in the East.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

The purpose of coming into the world is to accomplish one's duties.
– Sakamoto Ryōma

Serving society is a crucial idea in the Way of the Samurai. At the same time, a lot of great Masters lived in solitude, sometimes in a complete isolation, absorbed in selfdevelopment and self-perfection. A wise man avoids any confrontation and seeks to be in a harmonious relationship with the world. A vital role in that pursuit is the ability to be an independent, sovereign, self-sufficient person.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

One should always be genteel in his speaking. A man shows his inmost self by a single word.
– Hōjō Nagauji

Bushi-Do incorporates the harmony of individualism and service to society, but serving society, though of exceptional importance, was not the primary purpose for a samurai.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

The most significant life is the one lived on the basis of a personal sense of justice and the desire to see justice realized everywhere.
– Ōyama Masutatsu

Rulers and their earthly concerns quite often run counter to the Laws of Heaven and may induce a warrior to do unacceptable things. A samurai must not act against his conscience or he would turn from a warrior into a murderer and become a tool in the hands of others.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

One must never be perfidious to his master. In the Lun Yu it says: “One should act according to the way even in times of haste. One should act according to the way even in times of danger. It says further: 'When one is serving his master, he should exert himself.”
– Takeda Nobushige

The samurai serve only one Shogun, the Shogun to whom they are absolutely loyal – the one who lives in Heaven.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

If you will take it into your mind to be sincere in throwing away your life for your master, you will not have the slightest fear or trembling even with the advent of innumerable impending calamities.
– Torii Mototada

A wise man lives according to supreme laws and looks indifferently at the laws created by human beings.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

Although the words "parent" and "lord", "filial piety" and "loyalty", are different, in the sincerity of the mind they are one.
– Daidōji Yūzan

A samurai serves his principles. One of the core principles is loyalty. This is why if a samurai is in somebody's service, he remains loyal under all circumstances.
Remaining loyal to his lord, a samurai first remains loyal to his principles. It is undignified to betray one’s principles.
A samurai is a proud man. There is only one indisputable law for him – the law of honor. Honor comes before everything. Since being loyal is a matter of honor for a samurai, he considers everything before swearing allegiance.
Loyalty is the key notion in the code of a knight's honor.
A samurai's self-respect makes nonfeasance impossible.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

If a loyal samurai sees that his lord has fallen under the influence of a bad man – a flatterer and a hypocrite – and nothing can change his lord's opinion, the samurai must report this to higher ranking retainers and kill such a man, while being ready to accept the responsibility and commit seppuku.
– Daidōji Yūzan

First of all, a samurai serves his principles, not persons. Serving the ideal is the core of Bushi-Do.
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

No matter whether a person belongs to the upper or lower ranks, if he has not put his life on the line at least once he has cause for shame.
– Nabeshima Naoshige



Live judiciously, for you are born to be a human being!
A. R. Basov, "Spirit of the Warrior"

 

 

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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