Where There Is Will, There Is the Way.
The Philosophy of Will

SAmurai Books: spirit of the warrior

  • samurai jisei death poemWill is the arche of everything.
    F. W. J. Schelling

    Is everything predestined? Maybe.
    But might it be that Predestination poises at the sword point?
    Buddhas know everything, but they keep silent…
    A. B.

    My initial plan was to title this book The Soul of the Warrior. But a conversation with a Master who had dedicated his life to the Way of the Samurai, Kendo, and Karate-Do changed that. He pointed out one important nuance: all living creatures have a soul. Human beings are unique in that they are capable of having spirit. It is, however, a privilege that only few enjoy because spirit must be forged, earned through hard work. Spirit is the prerogative of the Man with a capital M.

    Will rules karma. Every creature has its own karma: a butterfly has the karma of a butterfly, a fish has the karma of a fish, and so on. With the exclusion of humans, all living things are passive about their karma. In other words, they are dragged along by their karma the way a piece of straw floats over a tumultuous river. Humans are fortunate in that they are granted some control over their karma should they choose to exercise their willpower.

    It naturally follows then that the degree of a person’s freedom is based on how much they have developed their willpower.

    Bushi-Do is a method of accomplishing self-awareness and Enlightenment unique from all other Ways. It emphasizes the cultivation of willpower, a special method and philosophy whereby one’s will is energized, becoming indomitable.

    samurai (woodblock print)

    Will is the issue over which orthodox followers of Bushi-Do opposed classic Buddhism. They considered it a harmful religion and doctrine that nurtured cowardice and lack of will. Zen, however, was appealing to the samurai, because this school of Buddhism specifically focuses on will.

    The Way of the Japanese knight spanned many centuries, which is unprecedented. Interestingly enough, even though it has become a cultural phenomenon it is not completely understood yet. In this endeavor, it is important to note that Bushi-Do grew on fertile soil infused with mystical ideas from different teachings, each one forming an integral part of the philosophy. Shinto, Taoism, Buddhism, Zen-Buddhism, and Confucianism, all added their special aesthetic to the Way of Beauty. Ancient soil richly soaked with the blood of wise heroes gave birth to a magnificent flower. One hidden from filthy souls. Its name? Bushi-Do.

    Flowers grow from the ground up. But their immortal beauty comes from Heaven. The one who sees magnificent flowers hidden by the leaves finds his secret love.
    Bushi-Do is the Way for few, the Way for the strong and the brave. It is the teaching of Warriors, but there is no idea of aggression in it.
    Bushi-Do is at once the teaching for fulfilling one’s individual needs as well as those of society.
    Read further in Samurai: Spirit of the Warrior

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    This an abstract from the chapter "Where There Is Will, There Is the Way. The Philosophy of Will" from Spirit of the Warrior by A. R. Berg

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