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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.

The Boy

On Rafael Guerra

This was a short story I wrote a few years back but I’m thinking of writing book out of it.

Psychedelic music played in the background. The boy found that it helped him go to bed. It just put him in a deep state of thoughtlessness, which was a blessing for him as he could lose himself in the music. His lip's barley able to spill the words Fly,Fly as the smoke rose fading away in the dark, take this pain away. He laid back and drifted in a trance with each note. It had been years now, and still he could not ride himself of the memory of her lose but this, this helped. Oh did it help. At least for that time he was at peace. The world was just a dream that faded away with each note and puff the troubles were gone.

It became a ritual or an addiction maybe, but it didn’t matter. He needed the rest now more than ever. His dad had pointed out that this test was of great importance, and if he did not pass it would be the death of him. The weight upon his shoulders drained him for the past month. He prepared for it. He would not fail his dad and prove to him that he could do it, that he was a man even though he was just sixteen.

The new day’s rays graced the picture frames of his mom and dad who adorned the wall of his room. Dust particle danced around happier days, which were long gone. He took a deep breath as he opened his eyes, for a moment thinking he was late, but as he looked to the clock on the night stand, he had woken 10 minutes early.

The room felt a bit colder this day he touched the window with the back of his hand. It felt cool to the touch. As he opened it, the cool 60 degree breeze graced his face perfect for his favorite hooded sweatshirt, he thought. The white raised panel door to his closet screeched as he slowly opened it, he grabbed it along with his backpack that he had prepared the day before.

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