The measure of a person


samurai

I mentioned the Bushidoshoshinshu in a previous post. I am going to revisit that post for a moment with this passage;

“When speaking of Bushido, the three qualities considered essential are loyalty, integrity and courage. When these three virtues are perfectly combined in one man, he is called a samurai of the highest quality…The reason is that the courage of a warrior is not exhibited for the first time when he dons his armor, takes up spear and halberd, faces the field, and is locked in battle. A man’s ordinary life at peace reflects his courage or cowardice just like a mirror…Having the least bit of spare time, he will put his mind to Learning, and not be negligent in his practice of the martial arts…He will protect his health fully and will keep in mind the desire to perform at least once in his life a great meritorious deed. Having such a disposition, he will be deeply mindful of his own constitution and be moderate in his desires for food and drink. He will give wide berth to and be very prudent in matters of sex, that primary deluder of men, and, other than that, will endure anything. All these evidence a man’s courage.”

-bushidoshoshinshu

I find the concept that a persons everyday life and actions are the TRUE measure of a person very interesting. Everybody thinks “when the shit hits the fan I will stand up and act” but when the neighbor kid is out blasting his car stero at 2 am he is afraid to open his window and say anything. People talk about ethics and warriorship and “doing the right thing”, but what do they do in their everyday life? Really look at yourself and the people around you. If you dont like what you see in yourself and your actions either change yourself or accept your reality.

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5 thoughts on “The measure of a person”

  1. Brings to mind the scene in the Magnificent Seven when one of the farmers’ kids tells Charles Bronson that they admire him and revile their fathers because their fathers are all cowards. After paddling the kid, Bronson explains the courage that their fathers display every day without ever committing an act of violence.
    Interestingly, if I remember correctly there is no corresponding scene in The Seven Samurai.

  2. I think that there is a reverse correlation too. I believe that if a person makes small efforts to be “courageous” in their everyday lives that they improve their odds of “being there when the chips are down”. The problem is that some people think that this means being an aggressive dick with everybody they meet or looking at all of lifes situations as confrontations. IMO these “small steps” are simply doing something that is “right” even though it may be uncomfortable, embarrassing or dangerous.

  3. Courage, according to some, takes on two aspects: Moral and Physical. They both require nurturing and practice in order to become part of someone’s ‘character.’

    Notice how most physically ‘brave’ people who are asked what they were thinking of while they ran into the burning building or whatever say “I don’t know, I just did it.”

    In contrast, consider the average response of people who have taken a moral stance. They usually respond with something like “I just couldn’t stand there and leave the abandoned baby in the car, it’s wrong, so I called the police…”

    People can be physically brave for stupid reasons and people can be morally brave but lack the ability to face physical danger.

    People can learn the physical courage side from a lot of places other than martial arts such as contact sports, but moral courage is a day to day practice….

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