I ran across this over in Buck’s blog; or rather, I ran across a reference to it. Buck helped me with translations, which I then cross-checked on a number of web sites.
I do not know the origin of this, nor do I know of it’s accuracy, nor am I certain the translations are correct. Details, these are; It spoke to me.
Samurai no Kokoroe – Precepts of the Samurai.
- Jiko o shiru koto
- Jibun no kimeta koto wa saigo made kikko suru koto
(Always follow through on commitments)
- Ikanaru hito demo sonke suru koto
- Kankyo ni sayu sarenai tsuyoi shinnen o motsu koto
(Hold strong convictions that cannot be altered by your circumstances)
- Mizu kara teki o tsukuranai koto
(Don’t make an enemy of yourself)
- Koto ni oite kokaisezu
(Live without regrets)
- Hito to no deai o taisetsu ni suru koto
(Be certain to make a good first impression)
- Miren o motanai koto
(Don’t cling to the past)
- Yakusoku o yaburanai koto
(Never break a promise)
- Hito ni tayoranai koto
(Don’t depend on other people)
- Hito o onshitsu shinai koto
(Don’t speak ill of others)
- Ikanaku koto ni oite mo osorenai koto
(Don’t be afraid of anything)
- Hito no iken o soncho suru koto
(Respect the opinions of others)
- Hito ni taishite omoiyari o motsu koto
(Have compassion and understanding for everyone)
- karuhazumi ni koto o okosanai koto
(Don’t be impetuous (rash, passionately impulsive)).
- Chiisa na koto demo taisetsu ni suru koto
(Even little things must be attended to)
- Kansha no kimochi o wasurenai koto
(Never forget to be appreciative)
- Issho kenmei monogoto o suru koto
(Make a desperate effort)
- Jinsei no mokuhyo o sadameru koto
(Have a plan for your life)
- Shoshin o wasurubekarazaru koto
(Never lose your “Beginner’s Spirit”)
I’m not a zen guy so much. Not into the eastern philosophy, the meditation. Yet, I see myself as some sort of warrior, even if I’ve not always got an enemy to face down, or if the enemy is within. The sword may be imaginary, may be made of words, but it is the fighter with whom I most identify.
And so, when I read this code, this set of rules, it seems to apply.
I do not agree with every line of it, nor do I measure up on all points. And yet as a whole, if feels right.
Certain lines of it speak to me to the extent that I began thinking of a tattoo; wondering what these look like in Kanji.
Ikanaku koto ni oite mo osorenai is one such – how can one not wish to embody it? But more, there’s another that says tattoo to me for a special reason.
Koto ni oite kokaisezu – Live without regrets. This is something for which I strive, and mostly, mostly, I’ve managed it. But it also takes me back to a memory, one of the last conversations I had with my father, or at least one of the last meaningful ones we had.
“What if you regret your tattoos?” he asked me, when I first started to get them. And it made me think. I considered this for several moments before I answered him.
“I have no choice – thus, I will not.”
It was a moment when I made a lifetime choice about regret; a choice that applied to tattoos specifically at that moment, but as time went on, a choice I’ve tried to apply to all my life.
I strive for this; yet there are regrets in my life I feel daily. And thus I strive to overcome regret.
Koto ni oite kokaisezu. I want to wear it.