At the core of the oral tradition of at least ten centuries, seven virtues emerged as the indispensable to practice to become a true samurai.
1. Rectitude - Justice. A power of resolve to decide on the correct path of conduct. Doing the right thing or making the right decision, not because it's easy, but because it's ethically and morally correct.
2. Courage - Bravery. The Spirit of Daring and Bearing. Doing what is right, without hesitation.
Basic virtue to pursue Mastery of Martial Arts.
3. Benevolence - The Feeling of Distress as its root, to have the disposition to do good and be kind, for the sake of it. Selflessness, love for humanity, humaneness, goodness, good will.
4. Respect - For others' feelings. Courtesy, Politness and Compassion, Mercy
5. Honesty - Veracity - Truthfulness - Faithfullness, Sincerity
6. Honor - Honor worthy, unto dead
7. Loyalty - Faithful - Devoted
Wisdom - Includes resourcefulness and wit
Care for the elderly
Frugality - The self-restrained avoidance of waste, lavishness or extravagance, was stressed throughout the Code
A practical way to teach The Code was through Kendo (the way of the sword) at times made compulsory in schools throughout the land.
The Code became deeply ingrained into the culture and surely explains the fortitude of the Japanese people and the display of the seven virtues, even today, especially in the face of adversity and terrible catastrophes.
And what all of this has to do with photography? You may ask. Well, think of it and you'll see it has more to do than it first meets the eye. After all, "chivalry is itself the poetry of life" * and photography is nothing but our attempts to capture the poetry of life.
Have a great time!
* Friedrich Schlegel (1772-1829), The Philosophy of History, as quoted by General Inazo Nitobe, A.M., Ph.D. in the preface of Bushido - The Soul of Japan, 13th Edition.
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