21 Precepts of the Samurai – something to live by.


I came across the Budo Sai (21 Precepts of a Samurai) a few months back and I find them somewhat enlightening.

The 21 Precepts of the Samurai are:

  1. Know Yourself (Jikoo o shiru koto),
  2. Always follow through on commitments (Jibun no kimeta koto wa saigo made kikko suru koto),
  3. Respect everyone (Ikanaru hito demo sonke suru koto),
  4. Hold strong convictions that cannot be altered by your circumstances (Kankyo ni sayu sarenai tsuyoi shinnen o motsu koto),
  5. Don’t make an enemy of yourself (Mizu kara teki o tsukuranai koto),
  6. Live without regrets (Koto ni oite kokaisezu),
  7. Be certain to make a good first impression (Hito to no deai o taisetsu ni suru koto),
  8. Don’t cling to the past (Miren o motanai koto),
  9. Never break a promise (Yakusoku o yaburanai koto),
  10. Don’t depend on other people (Hito no tayoranai koto),
  11. Don’t speak ill of others (Hito o onshitsu shinai koto),
  12. Don’t be afraid of anything (Ikanaku koto ni oite mo osorenai koto),
  13. Respect the opinions of others (Hito no iken o soncho suru koto),
  14. Have compassion and understanding for everyone (Hito ni taishite omoiyari o motsu koto),
  15. Don’t be impetous (Karuhazumi ni koto o okosanai koto),
  16. Even little things must be attended to (Chiisa na koto demo taisetsu ni suru koto),
  17. Never forget to be appreciative (Kansha no kimochi o wasurenai koto),
  18. Be first to seize opportunity (Hito yori sossenshi kodo suru koto),
  19. Make a desperate effort (Issho kenmai monogoto o suru koto),
  20. Have a plan for your life (Jinsei no mokuhyo o sadameru koto),
  21. Never lose your “Beginner Spirit” (Shoshin o wasurubekarazaru koto)

I some-what am embarass that I fail in some of the obvious things for living life and I can hear the doom-sayers saying, “Easy said but you fall short.”

But, as Precept 1 ask of us to Know Yourself, the process of knowing oneself is always a walk into the valley of darkness. For one may learn more by standing in the dark then when in the light.

Can I ever live up to the ideals stated in these 21 precepts? Some I can and some I may never attain. But a start is a start and better than those that do not start at all.

Others may ask me, does this compromise your religious stands? These are precepts, as much as the Chinese are called to be filial and respect their parents, which is one of the central teachings of Confucius in The Analects of Confucius or Lun Yu (Chapter 1 verse 2,6,7 & Chapter 2); yet readily accepted by the Chinese regardless of religion. Precepts are sayings or guides for living life, often times universal ideals that transcend religion.

What other precepts that you know of that form universal ideals every man/woman can live by?

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One Response to 21 Precepts of the Samurai – something to live by.

  1. mel says:

    thanks mac!! this is gonna help me a lot in my event. hehe 😀

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