Righteousness and rectitude was one of the virtues that informed the moral conduct. The moral conduct was also seen as the foundation of good virtues such as honesty and right actions. Respect was another virtue carried by the samurai as an attitude of admiration and honor. This made the warriors courteous even to their enemies. Heroic Courage is a virtue required in a warrior to remain cautious and precise. However, courage is not blind but rather strong and intelligent. Honor is another virtue that made the samurai make decisions with accountability. The warriors were their own judges. You cannot hide run or hide from personal actions.
Another virtue practiced by the warriors was compassion. Despite intense training to become strong and quick, these skills were to be used for good and helping mankind. The Virtue of Honesty and Sincerity were guiding principles in their action. You could only speak and do things from a point of truth. The virtue of Duty and Loyalty is the final principle that guided the warriors. As a warrior, you were to practice unconditional trust and loyalty towards your others.
What was the origin of the Seven Virtues of Bushido?
In the medieval times in Japan, samurai warriors protected the lands of the wealthy with nobility. During the Heian period, the samurai became the Emperor’s tools of shutting down rebellion. As several clans struggled for power of the centuries, the conduct of the samurai gained influence from the Zen Buddhism. Mediation became a means of calming the mind that provided them with a mental edge over their enemies.
The place of combat did not have room for fear and this mediation gave the warriors the necessary philosophical strength to deal with death. Over time, the samurai continued to follow a set of documented rules that was later referred as Bushido (the way of the warrior). In essence, they became the guiding principles as well as the philosophical samurai codes.
How can we apply the Seven Virtues of Bushido in the Society today?
Initially, these virtues were practiced to achieve the highest level possible of performance and self discipline. In the process, they evolved into codes that guided the actions and practices of the samurai. In the modern day, the virtues have maintained a strong place in the Japanese culture and philosophy. For us, attaining the optimal capacity of one of these codes can be a major challenge. Preserved through time and ingrained in history, we, as the spiritual warriors of the modern day can use these virtues and principles as a daily mantra or as our guiding light for our daily moral conduct. We can challenge ourselves to try and acquire the same discipline and attitude used by the samurai in their pursuit for achieving these virtues.
In the process, we will be better citizens and individuals with the ability to change the world. The development of the seven Bushido virtues translates into focused vitality and clarity that we can carry into all aspects of our lives. We can then set into a path of pure mental fortitude and strength in the face of modern challenge.