Busihido is "the way of the gentleman warrior."  

Budō is a compound of the root bu, meaning war or martial; and dō, meaning path or way. Specifically, dō is derived from the Buddhist Sanskrit mārga (meaning the "path" to enlightenment). The term refers to the idea of formulating propositions, subjecting them to philosophical critique and then following a 'path' to realize them.

Dō signifies a "way of life,” cultivated through a given art form. Modern budō has only the internal enemy, one’s ego, that must be fought. 

Budo gives attention to the mind and how one should develop oneself. Modern budo uses aspects of the lifestyle of the samurai of feudal Japan and translates them to self-development in modern life.

The Bushidō code is typified by seven virtues:

  • Rectitude (gi)
  • Courage ()
  • Benevolence (jin)
  • Respect (rei)
  • Honest (makoto)
  • Honor (meiyo)
  • Loyalty (chūgi)

Bushidō expanded and formalized the earlier code of the samurai, and stressed frugality, loyalty, mastery of martial arts, and honor. Bushidō was widely practiced, varying little over time, and across the geographic and socio-economic backgrounds of the samurai, who at one time represented up to 10% of the Japanese population. 

Bushidō includes compassion for those of lower station, and for the preservation of one's name. Early bushidō literature further enforces the requirement to conduct oneself with calmness, fairness, justice, and propriety. The relationship between learning and the way of the warrior is clearly articulated, one being a natural partner to the other.

© Dr. chris g. dalrymple 2017, 2018