To Be A Samurai


The Samurai:

The Samurai was a real-life ‘Jedi’ who was calm, centred and ready. The Samurai (侍) were the military nobility and officer class of medieval to early-modern Japan. In Japanese, they are usually referred to as bushi (武士, [bɯ.ɕi]) or buke (武家). Samurai teachings today are found in modern Japanese martial arts as well as every day life with the Japanese nation. And the spirit of the Samurai is alive within us all.

The Samurai was ready for action should it be required. Swords and fighting is what made the Samurai and what made us human beings what we are today. Borders, nations, tribes are there because of war and violence – we need to be honest about our history as barbarians, as thugs and a primitive war-like mindset which we still carry. By accepting this side which then leads us towards being grounded, centered and able to understand the Samurai or Jedi mindset as it were – if we are to make a more calmer and focused society.

The history of our planet is made up of war and warriors – these warriors are not limited to ones own race, belief system, tribe or geographical boundary – but what invariably made most of these warriors successful was their ‘calmness’ and ‘composure’ in the heat of battle.

The Samurai were one of the best examples of this warrior spirit.

Master Samurai Miyamoto Musashi author of The Book of Five Rings spoke of this and said: “Both in fighting and in everyday life, you should be determined yet calm. Meet any situation without tenseness yet not recklessly. Your spirit settled yet unbiased. Even when your spirit is calm, do not let your body relax. And when your body is relaxed, do not let your spirit slacken. Do not let your body be influenced by your spirit. Nor your spirit influenced by your body. Be neither insufficiently spirited. Nor excessively over-spirited.

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Drugs and drinks do not make us calm:

Rumi called for the warrior within in to awaken from his slumber: “Ignore those that make you fearful and sad, that degrade you back towards disease and death.

Society cannot make you calm, you make yourself calm. People around us may tell us what calmness is and how we should do ‘calmness’ this way society pressures us towards what it considers an easy route through drugs, alcohol, sex, etc – in turn these become a crutch and overtime this becomes an extremism and fanaticism against the self.

Look at people with set views on a topic, political or religious, even science or money – its not that they actually believe in those regardless how ‘extreme’ they are in weighing them down its simply a crutch for them, they feel comfortable with that ‘drug’, within that group, within a box – they are medicated to the hilt and they think of themselves as happy and free.

That box is a cage that protects them from what is around them and shuts them off from what is outside so they feel calm and protected. Like a bird that feels comfortable within a cage. But birds were not meant for cages. Chickens are kept in cages and fed so people can slaughter them and consume them.

No one can sell you the benefit of being calm. We are warriors asleep caged within our own artificial wants. The true warrior is not an egotistical needy ass but a humble, centred, balanced individual who fights against the enemy – that is within him or herself.

Jesus said in the Bible (Matthew 5:5), “Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth” When talking of the word ‘meek’ we have been made to think weak – the correct word in the original teachings was – humble – humility. “Blessed are the humble for they will inherit the earth.”  Our religious teachings (all major religions) never asked us to remain downtrodden and as slaves to others. We should cease being victims and cease making others victims of our own thinking of what we think is correct and look beyond the words of those great men and women who have come before us and who called for a higher understanding of who we are as humans – look at imperfections within and deal with them before looking outwards.

We must think clearly, face our fears, understand our limits and use this knowledge of ourselves to tackle our enemies with boldness – this inner composure of the samurai is what made the warrior successful and feared to others and the Samurai attacked his own enemy with ruthlessless – his own self. This is not to say the Samurai was perfect – he was imperfect and he knew that – that is what made him humble and also considered ruthless by others.

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Imam Ali & The Enemy Soldier ‘Battle of the Ditch’ :

At the Battle of the Ditch, Imam Ali had knocked an enemy soldier to the ground and was raising his sword to kill him, when the soldier spat on Ali. Imam Ali at once stood still and refrained from killing him. The soldier asked: “Why have you spared me, O Gracious one?

Imam Ali replied: “Your property and your life have become sacrosanct to me. I am not authorised to slay you. I can receive permission to kill only in holy combat, in fighting commanded by Allah. Just a few moments ago, I had overcome you in battle, knocked you to the ground and was on the point of slaying you. But when you spat in my face, my selfish anger was aroused against you. If I had killed you, I would have slain you not for Allah’s sake but for my own selfish reason; they would then have called me not a champion warrior, but a murderer. When you spat in my face, my selfish passion threatened to overwhelm me, so instead of striking you with the sword for my own sake I struck my passion for the sake of Allah, Exalted is He. There you have the reason for your escape.

The soldier was left in awe and amazement at this noble warrior in front of him and he became a Muslim at the hand of Imam Ali.

 

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Those That Are Born Will Also Die:

Those who are born will die – simple – our life is limited and regardless of our race, tribe, nationality, belief or wealth – we will die and we will take nothing with us. How we live our lives and who and how we come into contact with is what will live on in others minds.

Buddha said “Even death is not to be feared by one who has lived wisely.” The Samurai had few possessions, the Samurai thought of death as something that can come at any time, the Samurai trained and lived deeply.

Ibn Al-Jawazi said “The world is a bridge and a bridge should not be taken as a home.” We are in this world, the Warrior lives with the knowledge that death can come at any time.

Vedic philosophy teaches “You came here empty handed, and you will leave empty handed.” Think what are we really going to take with us?

The warrior keeps death in mind at all times, day and night, for it can come at any time and live nobly the warrior must – Marcus Aurelius said: ‘It is not death that a man should fear, but he should fear never beginning to live.’ We need to live fully, walk gently – and remain vigilant of what is happening within us and all around us.

The warrior trains hard and imagines the worst that could happen  and this in turn is a powerful techniques for promoting calm within the warriors mind. C. JoyBell C. said ” The dance between darkness and light will always remain— the stars and the moon will always need the darkness to be seen, the darkness will just not be worth having without the moon and the stars. ” Understand that we exist in a balance within nature, we are part of nature within a Universe that exists in balance. We are on a path of learning and self-discovery, a path which has both pain and pleasure, a path of good and evil – we exist beyond these mere words. We are nobility, as a species we have the blood of warriors and emperors within us – but those warriors and emperors are dead now and we live. What have we learned from our ancestors? How do we become better that those who came before us?

We need to look at things from different points of view and then centre ourselves. We must be mindful of our mind – how it can be manipulated this way and that. Preparation and training reduces this brainwashing of the fear of the other or oneself because when things get tense, we don’t have to think – we act. Be the warrior, understand the balance that is within, refuse to give in to others hatreds, fears and wanting to control you.

Robert H. Schuller said: “ Never cut a tree down in the wintertime. Never make a negative decision in the low time. Never make your most important decisions when you are in your worst moods. Wait. Be patient. The storm will pass. The spring will come. ” Understand that each thought and each action has a consequence however small. The greatest war remains against oneself and we should not betray ourselves to our greatest enemy – our uncontrolled ego. We should not destroy the ego – but discipline it. And make it work for ourself.

 

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Negative Visualisation:

“Negative Visualization” was a tool of Stoics – it basically means to centre yourself and think about just how awful things can be, how bad they are and how worst they may become and in turn this helps us realise things are not really that bad.

Thinking carefully with as much detail as possible and consciously about how badly things could go helps us discover that our fears about situations are exaggerated. We need to actively think ‘negatively’ for a set period of about 5 to 10 mins a day – of those who pray or meditate do so before this prayer or meditation. This is a powerful technique that helps the warrior to stay calm. This is part of the training of the mind of the warrior tirelessly and visualising the worst that could happen gives a feeling of control when the warrior is in battle.

The Samurai were great warriors. They fought against enemies in epic battles. Miyamoto Musashi and the others make clear in their writings about calmness, and that the most important battle is to overcome oneself.

Musashi said “Today is victory over yourself of yesterday; tomorrow is your victory over lesser men.” To fight others fight yourself first with calmness, discipline yourself with ruthlessless, and look within the your own eyes by standing in front of a mirror with composure and see whether the enemy within is still putting up a battle.

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SOME QUOTES ABOUT CALMNESS AND COMPOSURE:

1. “The strongest among you is the one who controls his anger.” Prophet Muhammad (peace be upon him)
2. Therefore, my beloved brothers, let every man be swift to hear, slow to speak, slow to wrath. – Jesus
3. Don’t let the rain drive you to the wrong shelter; the shade can turn out to be your protector and also your destroyer, and sometimes the rain is the perfect protector from the rain.”― Michael Bassey Johnson
4. For warriors in particular, if you calm your own mind and discern the inner minds of others, that may be called the foremost art of war. – Shiba Yoshimasa
5. Calmness is the cradle of power.”― J.G. Holland
6. When you manage to overcome your own mind, you overcome myriad concerns, rise above all things, and are free. When you are overcome by your own mind, you are burdened by myriad concerns, subordinate to things, unable to rise above. “Mind your mind; guard it resolutely. Since it is the mind that confuses the mind, don’t let your mind give in to your mind.” – Suzuki Shosan
7. When the odds are hopeless, when all seems to be lost, then is the time to be calm, to make a show of authority – at least of indifference”― Ian Fleming
8. In the worst scenario, sit down, close your eyes and talk to your own soul, spirit. The moment that becomes your attitude, all things you need in life shall come to you. –Yogi Bhajan
9. A noble man controls frivolity with gravity, awaits action in a state of calm. It is important for the spirit to be whole, the mood steady, and the mind unmoving. – Kaibara Ekken
10. The imperturbable mind is the secret of warfare.- Adachi Masahiro
11. The more you sweat in training, the less you bleed in combat” – Richard Marcinko
12. I fear not the man who has practiced 10,000 kicks once, but I fear the man who has practiced one kick 10,000 times” – Bruce Lee
13. Learning defense improves the attack. If the lion knows how the prey can escape, it’ll capture it in a much more precise way” – Rillion Gracie
14. “Difficulties strengthen the mind, as labor does the body” – Seneca
15.You have power over your mind, not outside events. Realize this, and you will find strength. – Marcus Aurelias
16. Do not show pleasure in somebody’s downfall, for you have no knowledge of what the future holds in store for you. – Imam Ali
17. Fear leads to anger, anger leads to hate, hatred leads to suffering…but what the Jedi failed to teach you, what I have learned, is how to persevere, to pass through the suffering, and achieve ultimate power! – Count Dooku
18. Both in fighting and in everyday life you should be determined though calm. Meet the situation without tenseness yet not recklessly, your spirit settled yet unbiased. – Miyamoto Musashi

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