Monday, August 11, 2008

Samurai Spirit

In 1853, Naval commander, Matthew Perry arrived to Japan on a black warship. He was the man who reopened Japan to the West. I was deeply moved by the words he had spoken of his impression about the Samurais in those days.

He commented as, “Japanese people are sophisticated and knows the way of things. I have never seen such people with dignity and grace, yet unpretentious.”

In this modern world, even the Japanese people have images of samurai as “warriors with sword, Hara-kiri (self-disembowelment), taking one’s own life, and chonmage (the funny hair-style), etc..” It sounds like a ludicrous clown. Is this really the truth of a Samurai? These qualities would not have given the foreign man the impression of “dignity and grace”.

Today, I sometimes happen to see the Samurai Spirit in some Japanese people. Those are the patients who are in treatment for their terminal stage of illness, and had been notified their death by their doctor. When they were notified about their death, in the beginning, they were shocked, having a sense of despair. But as the time goes by, despair turns into acceptance, and they start to feel the preciousness of the “now.” Finally they come to a point of realization that they were “led to live” which makes them pure and peaceful.

When we are alive, most of the time, we don’t think about death. One might have an illusion that he/she is going to live forever. They become obsessed with things and relationships. They start to buy and collect things. Some people might not even care about other people to get what they want. But suddenly, if you were to find out that you only have a month to live, would you still continue to buy more things? Would you fight with others to get what you want? When you forget about death, one tends to get obsessed with things and becomes delusional, forgetting that one is “led to live”.

In my opinion, Samurai Spirit is about “living the moment with no regret.” It’s about living moment to moment, having no sense of attachment, being pure and clean, and realizing that one is “led to live.” Thus having the sense of gratitude and the sense of eternity.

Ikashite-itadaite Arigato-gozaimasu

Thank you for letting us live

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