Giri And The Heart Of Samurai

Lord Naoshige once said,‘‘ There is nothing felt quite so deeply as Giri. There are times when someone like a cousin dies and it is not a matter of shedding tears. But we may hear of someone who lived fifty or one hundred years ago , of whom we know nothing, and has no family ties with us whatsoever, and yet from a sense of Giri shed tears.’’ A Certain warrior noted, ‘‘ It seems strange that with the deaths of members of my family, at no occasion did feelings arouse in me tears, but when viewing the image of a great mystic master I would without fail shed tears. many times upon seeing special children of vulnerability and innocence I am overtaken by a sense of Giri and shed tears. It’s as if something has pierced the heart.

When a Samurai is asked ‘‘ As a human being , what is essential in terms of purpose and discipline , it is to become of the mind that is right now, pure and lacking in complication. Everywhere today people seem dejected. A Samurai’s mind is pure and uncomplicated, his expression is lively. When dealing in matters of human relationships a Samurai’s heart is at the fore. Loyalty, filial piety, dedication to family, bravery, and something that can be used by the whole world. This is difficult to discover, and once discovered is difficult to keep in constant effect. Truly no thing is outside of the immediate moment.

In the Hagakure exists this passage ‘‘ If everyone were in accord and left things to providence their hearts would be at ease. If they are not in accord, though they would do acts of righteousness they lack loyalty. To be at odds with ones companions , to be prone to speak only cantankerous words—- all come from a shallow foolishness of mind. One should always greet people cordially at all times and without distraction, and in a way where one will not seem bored, lies and insincerity are unbecoming. This is because they are for self profit. If one will do things for the benefit of others , and meet even those he has met often before on a first time manner he will have no bad relationships. Manners between husband and wife are no different. If one is as discreet in the end as he is in the beginning there should be no discord.’’ A certain priest once said; ‘‘ Meeting with people should be a matter of quickly grasping their temperament and reacting appropriately to this person or that. Especially to an extremely argumentative person, after yielding considerably one should argue him down with superior logic, but without sounding harsh, and in a fashion that will allow no resentment to be left afterward.’’ This is a function of both Heart and words. The Heart of a virtuasperson has settled down and he does not rush about at things. A person of little merit is not at peace but walks about making trouble and is in conflict with all. ‘‘ Feeling deeply the difference between oneself and others, bearing ill will and falling out with people—— these things come from a heart that lacks compassion. If one wraps up everything with a heart of compassion, there will be no coming into conflict with people. If your strength is only that of virility, your words and personal conduct may appear to be in accord with the way, and you may be praised by others, but when questioning oneself about this, there will be no answer. The last line of the poem that goes; ‘‘ When your own Heart asks’’ , Is appropriate and said to be a good sensor .

When Lord Katsushige was young he was instructed by his father Lord Naoshige for practice in cutting, executing some men who had been condemned to death. Thus in the place of execution Ten men were lined up, and Katsushige continued to decapitate one after another until he had executed nine of them. When he came to the tenth he found that the man was young and healthy and said, I’m tired of cutting now, I’l spare this mans life. And the man’s life was saved . In regard to executions some may say that they have no merit, or that it is a crime, or that it is defiling ,these are only excuses coupled with extreme negligence. If one investigates into the spirit of a man who finds these things disagreeable , one sees that this person gives himself over to cleverness and excuse making not to kill because he feels unnerved . Lord Naoshige made it his orders because this is something that must be done. This reluctance to except executions has nothing to do with the Heart, it has to do with cowardice .

‘‘ Once when the priest Ungo of Shushima was passing through the mountains at night, he was set upon by bandits , Ungo said;‘‘ I am a man of this area, not a pilgrim , I have no money at all, but you can have these clothes if you like, please spare my life.’’ Well our efforts have been in vain, we don’t need anything like clothes, and passed on. They had gone about two hundred yards when Ungo turned back and called to them; ‘‘ I have broken the commandment against lying. In my confusion I forgot that I had one piece of silver in my moneybag, I am truly regretful , I said that I had nothing at all, I have it here now, so please take it.’’ The mountain bandits were deeply impressed, cut off their hair right there and became his disciples . At the time of a deliberation concerning criminals, Nakano Kazuma proposed making the punishment one degree lighter than what would be appropriate . This was a treasury of wisdom that only he was the possessor of. At that time, though there were several men in attendance , if it had not been for Kazuma alone, no one would have opened his mouth. For this reason he is called Master Commencement and Master Twenty five Days. True wisdom is always connected to the Heart.

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