The Code of Bushido
The Seven Principles of Bushido
Gi – Justice / Rectitude
Right decision based on truth.
Moral virtue strength. Rectitude is the power of deciding upon a certain course of conduct in accordance with reason and what is right and wrong. This is done without wavering: to die when it is right to die, to strike when it is right to strike.
Yuu – Courage / Bravery
Cowardice is never an option.
Courage is to live when it is right to live and to die when it is right to die. To rush into battle half heartedly, not making the full effort because you "know" you won’t live anyway, lacks real courage. To engage in a seemingly hopeless battle and not give up till your time is up, is courageous. It is also courage to do what you know is morally right, when it is right to do it. It is also courage to bear life’s hardships without complaining and maintain composure under adverse circumstances, approaching good and bad times in life with equal composure, dignity and patience.
Jin – Benevolence / Compassion
A benevolent man is ever mindful of those who are suffering and in distress. Beginning with empathy for others in distress, benevolence can be described as the correct usage of your power to act for the good of the recipient.
Rei – Right Action Courtesy / Politeness
Graciousness Civility in word and in deed.
Politeness should be as a result of your consideration for the feelings of others. It should not be a result of fear of offending good taste or convention. The more it is practiced, the greater becomes your consideration for others and your understanding of other peoples points of view. As a typical example, you don’t mar the pleasure or serenity of others with expressions of your own pain or sorrow.
Makoto – Veracity / Sincerity
Truth of heart.
While lying was not condemned as a sin, it was viewed as a weakness. While westerners may tell "little white lies", the samurai, (who believed that their high social position required high moral standards), would regard these lies as "deception by sweet words." Like the phrase, "the word of a gentleman", the word of the samurai was always accepted because everyone knew that the Samurai would not dishonor himself by lying.
Meiyo – Honor / Humility
Glory without ego.
To the Samurai, honor was:
• The understanding of their own worth and dignity and
• The understanding of their station in life, his responsibilities and duties and how continued correct practice of their code ensured the continuance of their good reputation.
From early in life, shame was used to educate children in what was correct behavior and what was not. Honor was not vain, but an understanding and discharging of their moral responsibilities.
Chuugi – Loyalty / Devotion
To one who will teach you.
Loyalty was one of the main foundations of the Bushido system. Loyalty to family, samurai and lords was given freely and the entire Bushido system is built around it. One must NEVER forget our first teachers, were our parents.