The book and soul of the Samurai

You cannot tell whether a person is good or bad by his vicissitudes in life. Good and bad fortune are matters of fate. Good and bad actions are Man’s Way. Retribution of good and evil is taught simply as a moral lesson.
The Art of the Samurai: Yamamoto Tsunetomo’s Hagakure

The saying of Shida Kichinosuke, “When there is a choice of either living or dying, as long as there remains nothing behind to blemish one’s reputation, it is better to live,” is a paradox. He also said, “When there is a choice of either going or not going, it is better not to go.” A corollary to this would he, “When there is a choice of either eating or not
eating, it is better not to eat. When there is a choice of either dying or not dying, it is better to die.”
The Art of the Samurai: Yamamoto Tsunetomo’s Hagakure

It is as though a man were in the midst of ten thousand allies but not a one were following him. If one hasn’t previously mastered his mind and body, he will not defeat the enemy.
The Art of the Samurai: Yamamoto Tsunetomo’s Hagakure

Although it stands to reason that a samurai should be mindful of the Way of the Samurai, it would seem that we are all negligent. Consequently, if someone were to ask, “What is the true meaning of the Way of the Samurai?” the person who would be able to answer promptly is rare. This is because it has not been established in one’s mind
beforehand. From this, one’s unmindfulness of the Way can be known. Negligence is an extreme thing.
The Way of the Samurai is found in death. When it comes to either/or, there is only the quick choice of death. It is not particularly difficult. Be determined and advance. To say that dying without reaching one’s aim is to die a dog’s death is the frivolous way of sophisticates. When pressed with the choice of life or death, it is not necessary to gain one’s aim. We all want to live. And in large part we make our logic according to what we like. But not having attained our aim and continuing to live is cowardice. This is a thin dangerous line. To die without gaining one’s aim is a dog’s death and fanaticism. But there is no shame in this. This is the substance of the Way of the Samurai. If by setting one’s heart right every morning and evening, one is able to live as though his body were already dead, he pains freedom in the Way. His whole life will be without blame, and he will succeed in his calling.
The Art of the Samurai: Yamamoto Tsunetomo’s Hagakure

Above all, the Way of the Samurai should be in being aware that you do not know what is going to happen next, and in querying every item day and night. Victory and defeat are matters of the temporary force of circumstances. The way of avoiding shame is different. It is simply in death. Even if it seems certain that you will lose, retaliate. Neither wisdom nor technique has a place in this. A real man does not think of victory or defeat. He plunges recklessly towards an irrational death. By doing this, you will awaken from your dreams.
The Art of the Samurai: Yamamoto Tsunetomo’s Hagakure

When meeting calamities or difficult situations, it is not enough to simply say that one is not at all flustered. When meeting difficult situations, one should dash forward bravely and with joy. It is the crossing of a single barrier and is like the saying, “The more the water, the higher the boat.” It is spiritless to think that you cannot attain to that which you have seen and heard the masters attain. The masters are men. You are also a man. If you think that you will be inferior in doing something, you will be on that road very soon. . Master lttei said , “Confucius was a sage because he had the will to become a scholar when he was fifteen years old. He was not a sage because he studied later on.” This is the same as the Buddhist maxim, “First intention, then enlightenment.”
The Art of the Samurai: Yamamoto Tsunetomo’s Hagakure

In the Kiyogunkan one person said, “When facing the enemy, I feel as if I have just entered darkness. Because of this I get heavily wounded. Although you have fought with many famous men, you have never been wounded. Why is that?” The other man answered, “When I have faced the enemy, of course it is like being in the dark. But if at that time I
tranquilize my mind, it becomes like a night lit by a pale moon. If I begin my attack from that point, I feel as though I will not be wounded. ” This is the situation at the moment of truth.
The Art of the Samurai: Yamamoto Tsunetomo’s Hagakure

In the “Notes on Martial Laws” it is written that: The phrase, ”Win first, fight later, ” can be summed up in the two words, “Win beforehand.” The resourcefulness of times of peace is the military preparation for times of war. With five hundred allies one can defeat an enemy force of ten thousand. When advancing on the enemy’s castle and then pulling back, do not retreat by the main road, but rather by the side roads. One should lay one’s dead and wounded allies face down in the direction of the enemy.
It is a matter of course that a warrior’s attitude should be to be in the vanguard during an attack and in the rear during a retreat. In approaching for the attack he does not forget to wait for the right moment. In waiting for the right moment he never forgets the attack.
The Art of the Samurai: Yamamoto Tsunetomo’s Hagakure

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About Carl William Brown

I'm Carl William Brown a holistic teacher, webmaster, trader, and a writer of aphorisms and essays. I have written more than 9,000 original quotations and at present I'm working at my only novel, Fort Attack, which is also a wide and open blog project. I have done a lot of other things as well, both in business, educational, sport and social fields and in 1997 I founded the Daimon Club Organization to promote literature, culture and creativity.
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