Gi: Honesty & Justice
Be acutely honest throughout your dealings with all people. Believe in Justice, not from other people, but from yourself. To the true Samurai, there are no shades of gray in the question of Honesty and Justice.
There is only right and wrong.
Rei: Polite Courtesy
Samurai have no reason to be cruel. They do not need to prove their strength. A Samurai is courteous even to his enemies. Without this outward show of respect, we are nothing more than animals.
A Samurai is not only respected for his strength in battle, but also by his dealing with other men.
The true strength of a Samurai becomes apparent during difficult times.
Yuu: Heroic Courage
Rise above the masses of people who are afraid to act. Hiding like a turtle in a shell is not living at all. A Samurai must have heroic courage. It is absolutely risky. It is dangerous. It is living life completely, fully, wonderfully.
Heroic courage is not blind! It is intelligent and strong.
A true Samurai has only one judge of honor, and this is himself. Decisions you make and how these decisions are carried out are a reflection of whom you really are.
You cannot hide from yourself.
Through intense training the Samurai becomes quick and strong. He is not as other men. He develops a power that must be used for the good of all. He has compassion.
He helps his fellow man at every opportunity. If an opportunity does not arise, he goes out of his way to find one.
Makoto: Complete Sincerity
When a Samurai has said he will perform an action, it is as good as done. Nothing will stop him from completing what he has said he will do. He does not have to “give his word.” He does not have to “promise.”
Speaking and doing are the same action.
Chuugi: Duty and Loyalty
For the Samurai, having done some “thing” or said some “thing,” he knows he owns that “thing.” He is responsible for it and all the consequences that follow.
A Samurai is immensely loyal to those in this care. To those he is responsible for, he remains fiercely true.
I find that the Bushido Code has a lot in common with detective novelist Robert Parker‘s character, the Boston detective Spenser. In particular the idea of keeping your word. There is so much in life we cannot control, but one of the rare things we do fully control is our word. Spend it honorably and wisely.
And, in general, the Bushido Code is something we all would do well to consider and follow in these troubled times. The Code, after all, comes from a troubled, if ancient, time.