The Eight Virtues of Bushido


Bushido is a Japanese term that means ‘the way of the warrior’. It outlines the code or moral principles by which a Samurai were required to live.


Originally, the eight virtues were an informal code that evolved over many centuries. Between 1600 and 1868, various parts of Bushido were formalized into Japanese feudal law and the rules became the code that needed to be mastered before one could become a Samurai.

If a Samurai failed to uphold his honor according to these rules, he could only regain it by committing suicide.

The Eight Virtues of Bushido


1 Righteousness

Be acutely honest throughout your dealings with all people. Believe in justice, not from other people, but from yourself. To the true warrior, all points of view are deeply considered regarding honesty, justice and integrity. Warriors make a full commitment to their decisions.

2 Heroic Courage

Hiding like a turtle in a shell is not living at all. A true warrior must have heroic courage. It is absolutely risky. It is living life completely, fully and wonderfully. Heroic courage is not blind. It is intelligent and strong.

3 Benevolence, Compassion

Through intense training and hard work the true warrior becomes quick and strong. They are not as most people. They develop a power that must be used for good. They have compassion. They help their fellow men at every opportunity. If an opportunity does not arise, they go out of their way to find one.

4 Respect

True warriors have no reason to be cruel. They do not need to prove their strength. Warriors are not only respected for their strength in battle, but also by their dealings with others. The true strength of a warrior becomes apparent during difficult times.

5 Honesty

When warriors say that they will perform an action, it is as good as done. Nothing will stop them from completing what they say they will do. They do not have to ‘give their word’. They do not have to ‘promise’. Speaking and doing are the same action.

6 Honour

Warriors have only one judge of honor and character, and this is themselves. Decisions they make and how these decisions are carried out are a reflection of who they truly are. You cannot hide from yourself.

7 Duty and Loyalty

Warriors are responsible for everything that they have done and everything that they have said and all of the consequences that follow. They are immensely loyal to all of those in their care. To everyone that they are responsible for, they remain fiercely true.

8 Self-Control

The first seven virtues show what is required to become a Samurai. This final one is the pathway to pursuing and ultimately exemplifying the way of the Samurai. (Goalcast)



While the Bushido manifesto is presented as simple set of rules, it represents a deep philosophy and way of living collected and curated over many centuries from various sources, including Neo-Confucianism, Shinto and Zen Buddhism.

Also, I think it’s worth highlighting that while the Samurai are renowned for their fighting capability and Bushido is the ‘way of the warrior’, the descriptions here point to a much broader lifestyle that includes compassion and respect.


Miyamoto Musahi – 21 Rules to Live Your Life

The Bible: Ten Commandments

Miyamoto Musahi : 21 Rules To Live Your Life

Miyamoto Musahi: 21 Rules For Life

Creator: Miyamoto Musahi is widely regarded as one of the greatest warriors of all time. He lived from 1584 to 1645 and is the author of The Book of Five Rings.

Purpose: Musahi’s rules for life as he prepared for his own death.

Manifesto: 21 Rules to Live Your Life

1. Accept everything just the way it is

2. Do not seek pleasure for its own sake

3. Do not, under any circumstances, depend on a partial feeling

4. Think lightly of yourself and deeply of the world

5. Be detached from desire your whole life long

6. Do not regret what you have done

7. Never be jealous

8. Never let yourself be saddened by a separation

9. Resentment and complaint are appropriate neither for oneself or others

10. Do not let yourself be guided by the feeling of lust or love

11. In all things have no preferences

12. Be indifferent to where you live

13. Do not pursue the taste of good food

14. Do not hold on to possessions you no longer need

15. Do not act following customary beliefs

16. Do not collect weapons or practice with weapons beyond what is useful

17. Do not fear death

18. Do not seek to possess either goods or fiefs for your old age

19. Respect Buddha and the gods without counting on their help

20. You may abandon your own body but you must preserve your honour

21. Never stray from the Way



The Full 21 Rules with commentary by blogger Brett Hagberg

Miyamoto Musashi on Wikipedia

Image from Wikipedia