The Code of Bushido

Bushido: The Way of the Spiritual Warrior  

The Code of Bushido1) Gi: Honesty, high moral character, and true justice = integrity.

2) Rei: Polite, courteous, and respectful toward others.

3) Yu: Heroic courage is very intelligent and strong, and not blind. You do the right thing simply because you recognize it is the right thing to do.

4) Meiyo: Only one judge of honor – yourself. You may run, but you cannot hide from yourself.

5) Jin: Action through compassion and for the good of all.

6) Makoto: Sincerity – you mean what you say. You do not have to promise; your word is greater than gold.

7) Chu: Loyal and responsible to those who you choose to protect; you accept accountability for all consequences that follow your actions. You make and accept no excuses or rationalizations. Like the West Point Honor Code: You do not intentionally lie, cheat, steal, or tolerate those who do.

People may practice bushidoin different ways. Some are very rigid, strict, and overly judgmental, while others are very lax and under-judgmental. I prefer moderation; yes, I hold myself accountable to the code of bushido, a dedication I made since a child, but I realize and practice the fact that there are almost always acceptable and reasonable exceptions to any rule.

For example, let’s analyze makoto – sincerity. I may make an appointment for a meeting, dinner, or other engagement, and at the time I made the commitment, I truly meant to follow through on it, but in the complexity of life, events take place that one cannot always control, and thus I may have unknowingly or unintentionally lied. One may inadvertently end up with two competing commitments, or unanticipated events may violate another code, e.g. jin, if one were to follow up with the prior commitment.

A person may be late or fail to show up 2 or even 3 consecutive times, but coincidences do happen (much more often than many people may realize) and the other person may have legitimate reasons (and not mere excuses or rationalizations). Unless we truly practice the loving art of kindness, compassion, patience, and understanding, we may mislabel a sincere spiritual warrior as an insincere flake. We ought to be open-minded enough to at least provide the other person the opportunity to explain himself before making an assumption or coming to a conclusion whether the person has a reasonable and legitimate reason for the apparent insincerity or is truly an insincere and unreliable person, with a character flaw.

Unfortunately, insincere people do exist, and an individual who has repeated experiences with insincere people may become overly sensitive to acts of apparent insincerity and thus tend to be overly rigid and get offended. In addition, the unconscious ego is omnipresent and in play in virtually everyone, and thus we may take someone’s tardiness or ‘no show’ personally as a sign of disrespect or affront to our self-righteous integrity. Please try to practice moderation and loving-kindness in the passing of judgments on other people’s behavior.
– Tobey Leung

Written about 4 months ago · ·
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