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Meditation of the week : Bushido

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Meditation of the week from cybermonks








" We must look after each other without regard for our own welfare, kill selfish

desires, bravely face all enemies, and keep a stainless mind --

this is Bushido. "

Yamaoka Tesshu




" True victory is not defeating an enemy. True victory gives love and

changes the enemy's heart. "

Morihei Ueshiba, developer of Aikido




As the knights of Europe looked to the Code of Chivalry, with its

emphasis on valour, wisdom, virtue and service, to guide their lives, the

Japanese swordsmen of about the same time followed the code known as Bushido.

The Samurai, the traditional warrior class in Japan, embraced Bushido beginning

in the medieval period, a time when Zen Buddhism was growing more influential in

the country. While Buddhism is

inherently a peaceful religion, there is much in Zen to appeal to the

Samurai. As Rick Fields says in The Code of The Warrior, " Zen

meditation helps to develop discipline, stoicism, concentration,

wakefulness, awareness, calm, and imperturbability, as well as other

qualities useful to warriors. "


So Zen was useful to the Samurai, and Bushido was useful, not just to

the Samurai, but also to the ruling class, because it instilled strong

virtues in a dangerous group of people. The ideals of conduct in

Bushido include:


moral uprightness







self control

appreciation of beauty


Good virtues for a bunch of guys with very sharp swords. Wouldn't we

all find comfort in knowing that the armed among us were benevolent,

sincere and in control of themselves?


By embracing the values of Bushido, samurai men and women could attain

a solid footing in the world. They knew who they were and what they

stood for. Their social behavior was generally predictable to

themselves and others. At the same time, their meditation practice gave

them the ability to focus their minds, see clearly, and act selflessly.





Living in this confusing world of uncertain morals aren't we better

people when we adhere to a personal code of honor that is grounded in

deep inner knowledge?


This week we invite you to contemplate the meaning of Bushido and make

its virtues your own. Take some time to quiet your mind. Sit quietly

for several minutes. Be aware of your breathing. Attend to your

posture. Perhaps let your gaze rest on a thing of beauty such as a

flower blossom, a piece of pottery, a painting. Appreciate the beauty.

Let it speak to your heart. Let it help quiet your mind.


Once you have settled down for a few minutes bring to mind one of the

virtues of Bushido and hold it in your mind.


moral uprightness







self control

appreciation of beauty


See the written form of the word in your mind's eye. Hear it in your

mind's ear. Feel it in your body. Repeat the word like a mantra. With

each breath, think the word. After awhile, contemplate the role this

value plays in your life. How could it play a greater role? Sit with

the meaning of the word. Be patient. Don't rush. Utlimately, ask

yourself if you are willing to dedicate yourself to this virtue. If you

are, then say to yourself, " I dedicate myself to . . . (whichever

virtue you are focussing on). I live in the spirit of . . . (the

Virtue). "


Repeat this process for each of the virtues listed above or any others

you would like to incorporate more fully in your life.





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