Tsunetomo Yamamoto’s Bushido edited by Justin F. Stone is an excellent book. In eighteenth-century Japan, Tsunetomo Yamamoto created the Hagakure, a document that served as the basis for samurai warrior behavior. Its guiding principles greatly influenced the Japanese ruling class and shaped the underlying character of the Japanese psyche, from businessmen to soldiers. Bushido is the first English translation of this work. It provides a powerful message aimed at the mind and spirit of the samurai warrior. With Bushido, one can better put into perspective Japan’s historical path. Below are a few paragraphs which will give you a brief insight into what the book is about. There is so much beneficial information in this book, it will transform your life by teaching you the way of the samurai so that you can be the best that you can possibly be.
“Once you have mastered the practices and habits of our own clan, you may learn other ways as a pastime, for your own amusement. But, when you come to think of it, there is not a problem that cannot be solved with the help of this knowledge (of our own clan).”
“Our unique vows are: Never lag behind in the practice of Bushido. Always be loyal and devoted in the service to your Lord. Do your duty to your parents. Stir up your compassion for all sentient beings in order to devote yourself to the service of others. These are the keys.”
“This is the essence of Bushido. In order to master this essence, you must die anew, every morning and every night. If you continually preserve the state of death in everyday life, you will understand the essence of Bushido, and you will gain freedom in Bushido. Then you will be able to fulfill your duty to the offices of the household of the Lord without a mistake and for the rest of your life.”
“It is of utmost importance to admonish others with the intention of helping them overcome their faults. It is an act of compassion and the first requirement of your service. The way of advising others must be carried out with the utmost care and caution. How can you reform others of you disgrace them?”
“Looking at today’s samurais, they are all keeping their eyes on lower objectives. Their eyes are like the eyes of pickpockets. For the most part, they strive for their own mercenary aims or they merely display their cunning shrewdness; or, when it comes to those apparently self-composed samurais, they are just posers. You must try to reject every way as unsatisfactory. You must go on with your mastery; you must seek, as long as you live, to attain the right way.”
“After all, there is nothing else than concentrated thought for each moment. One serious thought piled upon another leads to a whole life. If you become aware only of this, there is nothing more to seek after. You have to keep to this single, concentrated thought alone. But everyone, losing hold of this point, seeks another place – only to fail to discover this truth.”
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Check out the beautiful Bushido scene from The Last Samurai: