The Bushido Code is an old list of Japanese principles. Originally, this set of guidelines for life was strictly followed by the samurai. The word “bushido” means “the way of the warrior.”
For the Japanese samurai , however , the Bushido Code was not just a list of regulations they had to follow. The previous translation already suggests it.
Actually, it was more like a road, a path. To put it simpler, it was a process. They saw it as a guide that helped them “become” better people. So it was not a set of indisputable laws.
The main purpose of the Bushido Code was to develop warriors who could fight for what they believed in without losing their humanity.
The code also involved knowing how to lead other people. In some cases, the values themselves were more important than the struggle itself. So read on and discover the seven virtues of this ancient code.
The Seven Virtues of the Bushido Code
1. Righteousness and Justice
The Bushido Code links the fact that one makes fair agreements with people, with the fulfillment of those agreements. That means you are true to your word and keep your promises. In a sense, all human relationships are like this: an ongoing covenant.
The samurai also linked the concept of justice to their own self-awareness. There was no law that determined what was right or wrong. The idea was that people should stick to their own meaning of what was righteous. However, that didn’t mean everything was in a gray zone. There was still black and white.
2. Courage, one of the virtues in the Bushido Code
Courage actually means that you are willing to take risks to get what you want. The warrior’s way says not to hide in your shell like a turtle.
So the samurai were supposed to take risks and endanger themselves. Yet they did not do it blindly, they were always careful and respectful. That helped them to live a full and amazing life.
Unlike the warriors of modern times, the samurai tried to be good and compassionate . They considered it an expression of their inner and outer strength. They also did not believe that fighting would make them stop feeling compassion. Nor did it stop them from being able to put themselves in other people’s situations.
Compassion only made their efforts and achievements all the more justified. Enjoying other people’s pain was disgusting and immoral to them.
Courtesy is closely related to compassion. Basically it means avoiding unnecessary displays of force and never being cruel. To a true warrior, being courteous and correct in battle does not mean being an animal.
The Bushido Code says that courtesy doesn’t just come from bravery in battle. It also comes from the respect to feel empathy for the enemy, even after you’ve defeated him.
5. Honor, a fundamental part of the Bushido Code
Almost everything in this philosophy has to do with honor. Both the samurai and the Japanese consider honor to be a fundamental value. To be honorable means to act in a right way, following good ethical principles and fulfilling your duties.
Again, the samurai emphasized self-awareness here too. They believed that everyone should take responsibility for their own decisions and actions. It doesn’t matter what other people think or what is written elsewhere. Ultimately, we all have to be accountable to ourselves.
6. Absolute sincerity
This virtue concerns the enormous value the samurai gave to their word. They literally have a proverb “Speaking and acting are one and the same.”
This virtue means being totally consistent. Giving your word, speaking and making promises are all but subordinate acts. A true warrior knows that his word is also a weapon. They use it to convey respect.
7. Duty and Loyalty
Duty is not something that someone imposes on you. It’s something you choose. That’s why it’s so important that you keep your word. If you don’t fulfill your promises, you dishonor yourself. You inflict shame on everyone above and below you.
According to this code, a true warrior must be completely loyal to the people who follow him. Their words and actions are the blueprint for other people to follow them. That means that they have a great responsibility towards other people. They should always take it up and try to act in an honorable manner.
As you can see, we can easily apply the Bushido Code to the modern world. In our daily lives we experience many things that require us to bring out our inner warrior. As the ancient warriors taught us, that warrior must be brave, compassionate, and honorable.