The samurai lived by 4 vows. These are translated into how the urban samurai should and will live.
1. Never lag behind in the pursuit of Bushido. The Bushido is the code the samurai lived by, covering every aspect of their lives. The Urban Samurai lives in a new time. A new place. There are striking similarities and obviously some large differences in the way we are able to practice bushido. And those will be highlighted throughout my time. But the endless pursuit of perfection in the way I am going to live my life is the same as samurai in the past.
2. Always be loyal and devoted in the service to your Lord. The Samurai, as I covered a few days ago, are all about service…service of nobility. Service of their ‘lord’. The lord I am going to serve is myself. Every time I engage in destructive or wasteful behavior…I am not serving myself. Every time I eat food that is not healthy and isn’t satisfying, I’m going against myself. Every time I get way too drunk. Every time I fight with my wife over something stupid. Every time I don’t give 100% effort and ability to my work.
I know what’s good for me. I don’t understand why I continue to make decisions that are not beneficial to my life or someone’s life around me. Why would I make a decision that’s not in my best interest? That’s all going to change this year.
3. Do your duty to your parents. This is not Japan. This is not the 12th to the 19th century. This is not even US in the 1950’s. Family dynamics have changed. It’s not that we don’t love our parents, but they oftentimes drive us crazy. I feel like there is too much emphasis (read: blame) put on our parents with respect to our own faults and personalities. See any shrink and they’ll tell you how bad your parents were. It’s amazing, because the offspring of shrinks don’t appear anymore well adjusted or any less screwed up. Maybe there is something fulfilling about getting back to serving your parents. Making sure they are OK. Serving them. It’s something I’ll explore throughout this year.
The Urban Samurai is geared to take care of his immediate family. If you’re not married, it’s your siblings, or close friends. You have a set of people that you are in love with. Do your duty to them. Service those relationships. Do what you can to help improve their lives. That will improve yours too.
4. Stir up your compassion for all sentient beings in order to devote yourself to the service of others. Yes I had to look up what ‘sentient beings’ means as I tend to stay away from larger words. It only means, anyone with a conscience. There are some teachings that suggest that ‘sentient beings’ were those that were not enlightened. This is a tricky one, as I don’t think there are many urban samurai running around out there living by the bushido and learning sword-fighting skills. So everyone isn’t ‘enlightened’ to the kind of life I’m preparing to live. So serve others. Maybe this is volunteering somewhere. Maybe this is just helping people in need. It’s not something I do enough of, but will start to do more.
I think I’m going to have to sleep less. There is a lot to do.