Thursday, December 23, 2010

Code of the Samurai

Dear friends,

It's finally christmas time^^, Merry Xmas btw :).
So what's up with my life? -Well I haven't been doing much... After my trip to germany I haven't really studied Go nor done nearly anything at school....

I've been going through a mental process with thinking about my life and my doings. It all started about a week ago, a sempai from my karate club borrowed me two books, because I had asked her to borrow me some english language literature. The other book was "cry, the beloved country" (which I still haven't read) and another book called "Code of the Samurai". The latter book was written by a japanese confucian scholar and a military scientist, Taira Shigesuke, who lived (1639-1730).

"Code of the Samurai" was originally written for novice knights of the new era ("Pax Tokugawa", (1600-1950)). It provides practical and moral instructions for warriors. The introduction of the book also says that the things and principles in this book are essential in understanding the modern-day Japanese civilization realistically.

To be honest... I didn't have much expectacions about this book since it's 300 years old :), but suprisingly I found it intriguing. As I was reading through the book, somehow I could relate to the moral lessons given by this book. Especially I loved the "voice" of this book, it seemed kind but also strong in opinion. It had "strong mind", in it.


Before going any further, let me give you my opinion about the modern society. I think nowadays people's mind's are weaker than they were before. I mean, I see a lot of people being depressed and mentally unstable. Well, at least in finland the depression ratings are quite high. I know many people with mental problems and depression. I've heard about suicides, cutting wrists and that kinda stuff in my own life^^

Could the reason be that nowadays we are becoming more individuals, than a part of a group? We are raised more freely ,than let's say 50 years ago and taught to think by ourselves and do whatever we like. I feel however that without principles and guidance this sandbox game is chaotic. I kind of found myself looking for a direction from bushido ( ="Way of the Warrior"), which is applied all japanese martial arts. By the way I have a brown belt in karate.

So back to this book now. Let me share with you, a sample from the book Code of the Samurai:

As mentioned in the first chapter, for a knight who has an overlord, life is here today, uncertain tomorrow. Therefore he realizes every day that he has this one day to serve, so he does not become bored and does not neglet any of his duties. Because he does every task that very day, it stands to reason that he does not overlook anything or forget anything.
In contrast to this, when you think you will be on the job forever, then trouble starts. You get bored, so you become inattentive and lazy. You begin neglecting even urgent matters, to say nothing of less pressing affairs, putting them off to the next day or claiming that they've already been arranged, or fobbing them off on colleagues or flunkies. Since no one takes personal responsibility for taking care of them, tasks pile up and there is nothing but snafus. These are all mistakes that come from counting on having time in the future. You should be most wary of this.--"

After reading this chapter I realized that this is what I've been doing all along!!!
I have been neglecting my school work because it's "easy" and "boring" and I feel like I'm too old for high-school, so now I actually have 9 courses to do during my christmas holidays, because I've been thinking that I will have time later and then things just never get done. The sample text I gave u there continued with an example and after that he called me a moron >:), and I liked that.
Oh btw if you got disturbed by that word "overlord", just think he's ur boss, mom,dad or god :) (god here o/, though I don't really think too much about religion...). I liked this book because it used strong words such as "moron", "foolishness" and "stupidity". Somehow it made me realize that guy is pretty smart =), and that was 300 years ago!

This book gave me also some material for dealing in a real life situation I got into yesterday. I was at the go-club and there was some really bizarre person... Well this guy was 1 dan and he was talking like he was a 9 dan professional... and around the board some 4d, 2d, 1d and 3k players were listening when he was just talking about how the board position was. He somehow refused to consider other people's opinions and just laughed at them... How terrible is that! I guess he must be really stronger than 1d, since most of the stuff he said were correct too, but I don't think it's fair to laugh at other people's judgement just because they are weaker. I actually didn't follow "the code of the samurai", but I really should have -.-' As the long debate we had afterwards was meaningless... He was just talking himself in the bag all the time without believing that and I couldn't really express myself well. I tried to induce him with even a slight bit of modesty but it was useless, though he said that I'm good at rapping :). So lesson learned just leave people like that be and walk away^^.
One sempai who was listening as well actually handled that situation pretty well. He just said "Is this candid camera?" with a funny facial expression which made us all laugh :).

I definitely still have to think more about this bushido stuff...

Drop me some comments please. What do you think about this kind of stuff? do you have your own philosophies you've applied in your own lives? please share :). I'll be posting next post hopefully soon with a similar subject. Till' then C'ya!

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