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Excerpts from Hagakure, Chapter 1

I started reading "Hagakure," which was written by the samurai Yamamoto Tsunetomo from 1709 to 1716. I don't agree with everything in the book - some of the things Yamamoto-sama says sound crazy to my modern sensibilities, but there's some powerful quotes in here about bushido. Here's some I liked, with some thoughts of my own -

We all want to live. And in large part we make our logic according to what we like. But not having attained our aim and continuing to live is cowardice. This is a thin dangerous line. To die without gaming one's aim is a dog's death and fanaticism. But there is no shame in this. This is the substance of the Way of the Samurai. If by setting one's heart right every morning and evening, one is able to live as though his body were already dead, he pains freedom in the Way. His whole life will be without blame, and he will succeed in his calling.

The first book of philosophy on bushido I read was the Budoshoshinshu. It had a significant impact on my thinking. One of the largest tenets of bushido is keeping awareness of your death in mind when you live. I try to do this, because it gives you a sense of urgency and importance.

A lot of times the principle is misunderstood - the principle is actually make preparations as if you'll live forever, but live this day that you'd be proud if it was your last. Bushido is not about being reckless. It's about keeping awareness of the end with you, and in doing so, living much more.

It's almost paradoxical - the man who is aware of his death, who relinquishes his claim on life, he lives much more fully. The man who is ignorant of his death does not live as much. Death is not something to be afraid of - it's something to be aware of. Being aware of it makes you more alive, and more effective, and more purposeful.

Belief in the Day of Judgment

On TheWayToDestiny.Com

This world will come to an end one day and all of humanity will be resurrected for trial on the Day ofJudgment and made to assemble together. Man is accountable to Allâh for the manner in which he conducted his life in this world. Everything we do here, every intention we have, every thought we entertain, and every word we say, are recorded by the angels of Allâh. On the Day of Judgment, each and every individual will be recompensed justly as per these records. They will stand before the Creator and be questioned about his or her deeds. When the Day of Judgment is going to be is known only to Allâh. On that momentous day, each one of us will see in detail the results of even the smallest good and the smallest evil we have done in this life. At that time, lying and deception will no longer be possible. If some of our good deeds did not receive full credit and appreciation during the life in this world, they will receive full compensation and be widely acknowledged on the Day of Judgment. Likewise, if some people who committed sins, neglecting the commandments and warnings of Allâh, though they might have appeared to be superficially successful and prosperous in this life, they will be brought to book on the Day of Judgment. The ultimate reward for the righteous will be that they shall enter the eternal gardens of Paradise and the penalty for the sinners will be that they shall be thrown into the Hellfire. Paradise and Hell do actually exist; they are real places, not symbols or metaphors.

"I do swear by the Resurrection Day; and I do swear by the self-reproaching soul. Does man think that We cannot assemble his bones? Nay, We are able to put together in perfect order the very tips of his fingers. " [The Qurân Ch: 75 Al-Qiyaamah, V: 1-4]

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