Hagakure is a book based on the teachings of a famous Samurai named Yamamoto Tsunetomo, a man with many opinions on how a good and honourable Samurai should conduct himself.
At a library in Japan I discovered that these interesting bits of 18th century wisdom have been translated into English. I spent some time reading and made two lists:
Samurai Advice With Which I Agree
- Be humble and look for good role models.
- Don't yawn or sneeze in front of people and always keep a clean appearance.
- Don't treat people coldly or harshly even if you're busy.
- Don't rely too much on others.
- Encourage bravery in kids; they should fear neither darkness nor lightening.
- Write letters thoughtfully, as though the recipient will make them into a hanging scroll.
- Quickly correct your mistakes and don't talk behind the backs of others.
- Always help the ill.
- Reprimand privately and gently; praise publicly.
- Everyone should have the chance to practice beheading criminals.
Samurai Advice With Which I Disagree
- A real man does not think of victory or defeat; he plunges recklessly towards an irrational death.
- After reading books, it is best to burn them or throw them away.
- On being asked to do something, don't show pride or happiness; it's unbecoming.
- Loyalty trumps righteousness.
- Whatever one prays for will be granted.
- To accomplish great things, simply become insane and desperate.
- Make decisions within 7 breaths.
- Suicide for the death of one's master is honourable and often expected.
- Live doing the things you like, but don't tell this to young people.
- Bleeding from falling off a horse can be stopped by drinking its feces.