Samurai and death

The way of the samurai

by A. R. Basov

  • samurai oda nobunaga death art

    Fate knocks on everyone’s door, but why does only the Warrior hear it? Why does he find strength and determination to fight, even though it is much easier to sleep in a warm bed? There is no rational explanation. When a Warrior faces the stone, he chooses his path intuitively. Death and truth go hand in hand. A person is constantly in a state of total uncertainty. Life is filled with doubts, worries, and the subconscious fear of death. This encounter with the stone compels one to make a choice that determines his mindset, and therefore his way of life. While most create an illusion of security, trying to forget about the inevitable, the Warrior does not lie to himself. He keeps his eyes wide open, sees death in front of him, and faces it.

    The Warrior tells himself, “I will not live like a rabbit dully chewing grass. Let others do that if they want. Power boils in my veins. Even if the battle is hopeless, I will set out anyway! Even if I face unsolvable questions, I will try anyway. There is nothing else for me to do!” The Warrior is constantly battling hopelessness. Victorious, he begins practicing the philosophy of Faith and Risk which states that all choices must have resolutions and involve risk. Indeed, any uncertainty can be overcome with determination alone. Risk is the basis of life and averts us from a primitive existence. When facing challenges, a person grows. Should he avoid them, he withers with uncertainty and faint-heartedness.

    By deliberately choosing risk, the Warrior enters a new dimension, no longer wallowing in the sorrow and boredom experienced by the ordinary. The Warrior becomes cheerful and energetic. He is the master of himself and his life. What a proud, beautiful and heroic philosophy of the elect.

    Daily contemplation of death helpsone live. If we live every day with thethought that it could be the last dayof our lives, we notice that our actionsbecome filled with joy and meaning.
    Mishima Yukio

    He who understands death overcomes it by realizing there is something beyond. He knows there is something inside him, even though he does not know what it is. The main principle the warrior should follow every day is that you must live and die according to the Way of the Samurai.

    The Way of the Samurai is in understanding that death is freedom. Death is the highest principle for a samurai; it is the source of spiritual power, the citadel of his unwavering Spirit. Death helps a samurai follow the Way. It will never fail him.
    However, for a samurai death is irrelevant, because he knows that all of us will die at some point, and that time is just an illusion. A samurai will live as if he is immortal, so it is irrelevant when death comes. capable at confronting anything, a samurai can even create footholds in the emptiness to help him on his Way to heaven.

    The fear of death is the basis of fear.The Way of the Warrior is based ondeliverance from the fear of death.
    Yagyū Munenori

    Every moment and every act become significant. A samurai marches on until he takes his last breath. Exhaling, he lifts his head and smiles at the sun. More than anyone else, he must not only be ready to die, but also be in love with dying.
    Everything in this world is under the samurai’s control including his life and death, because he is a real, free man. Practicing fearlessness is how a warrior comprehends Reality and attains spiritual freedom and personal sovereignty. for him, fearlessness means being deliberate, calm, strong-willed, and free of illusions.

    It is impossible to live or die for another. We live individually and make decisions about our lives alone. Endeavors are necessary because they are life of all other things and transform our lives into what they should be, heroic sagas. Humans are part of the eternal world. No one created it and it is indestructible.
    Remember: you are everlasting, immortal, infinite Spirit.

    One must not fear the death ofthe body, but the death of the heart(Spirit). If you realize that the heartdoes not die, there is nothing in thisworld left to fear. Determinationbecomes unwavering. At this momentwe hear the orders of Heaven.
    Ōshio Heihachirō

    Only in the face of death can one become a real man.

    samurai skeleton kuniyoshi utagawa ukiyoe
    Fragment of a famous ukiyo-e work by Utagawa Kuniyoshi ("Takiyasha Summons a Skeleton to confront Mitsukuni in the Sōma Castle")

    No matter where you hide, death will find you when your time has come. While cowardice attracts misfortune, courage despises danger, thus shieling the brave. The lives of legendary warriors prove this for they rarely died in battle. Always remember that your spirit is your most powerful and reliable protection. Dive into battle convinced of victory, and you will come out unscathed. This unyielding readiness to die will keep you alive.

    Death is lighter than fluff; duty (giri) is heavier than a mountain. The idea for which you are ready to die must be worth it. If the idea is not worth sacrificing a life, it is either false or insignificant.
    The way you are going to behave in a situation must be clearly understood before the situation occurs, then you are fully prepared and can meet the challenge.

    The Way of the Samurai is foundin death. When it comes to either/or, there is only the quick choice of death. It is not particularly difficult. Bedetermined and advance.
    Yamamoto Tsunetomo

    It appears useless to think of the perishable when you are conscious of infinity, but appearance is important to the Way of the Samurai also. The external and internal are inseparable. In the Way of the Samurai, aesthetics are inextricably linked with ethics and a samurai is expected to maintain inner and outer purity. His appearance and habits should be the embodiment of orderliness and perfection. Every morning, a samurai bathes, gets dressed, and prepares to die.

    A samurai should be like a sakura in bloom. Sakura trees blossom profusely and briefly but do not bear fruit. Samurai’s life is of similar nature.

    If you think that today is the only day of your life, you will not waste it on trifles.

    Death is not a sunset but a sunrise! A samurai walks towards the dazzling sun of death…

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    This article contains quotes from the Samurai Series by A. R. Basov