The Warrior Code of The Samurai
Is everyone in Japan a warrior?
In feudal Japan, “Samurai” referred to a “retainer;” that is, someone who accompanied a Lord, had pledged fealty to that Lord, and served that Lord in close attendance.
It means, essentially, “to wait upon the Lord.”
The Hagakure is a Japanese book that captures this warrior code of the samurai. It is a practical and spiritual guide for the warrior. It has been said of the Hagakure that it is Japan; that it captures the heart of all that truly matters to their culture.
So ... is everyone in Japan a warrior?
Well, no. But everyone is, in their world view, either a Lord or a Retainer. There are few Lords and many Retainers. A book delving into what makes one the ideal retainer could easily be the heart of the culture. It’s enough to make me wonder what it is about this book —on the surface about warriors— that makes it the cultural guide for almost everyone in the country.
What, then, is this warrior code of the Samurai?
As with many things in life, it’s simple: everyone, from the most skilled to the least, can hold a place of honor in the culture. To quote the Hagakure: "...even a person who is good for nothing and exceedingly clumsy will be a reliable retainer if only he has the determination to think earnestly of his master."
If only the slothful (frightened?) servant in this week's Matthew 25 selection had been able to access the Hagakure. Perhaps if he had been keeping his mind fixed on what was best for his master, he would have made a better choice concerning the talent he had.
The lesson for us?
When we stop focusing on what could go wrong, and instead focus on what God intended for us to do with our talents, we should be able to make the wise choice.
We need only think earnestly of our master.