Warlock Asylum’s Review of Code of the Samurai: A Modern Translation of the Bushido Shoshinshu of Taira Shigesuke

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I’ve finally gotten the chance to read Code of the Samurai: A Modern Translation of the Bushido Shoshinshu of Taira Shigesuke, translated by Thomas Clearly, with illustrations Oscar Ratti. This book came to me in the most peculiar manner. My wife and I went out shopping one Saturday afternoon. I was looking for some material on the samurai and was fortunate enough to meet a street vendor selling books on all different types of subjects.

Immediately, I was drawn to  Thomas Clearly’s translation of Code of the Samurai. The book was in excellent condition. It was a deal! I put the book on my shelf when my wife and I returned home and made plans to read it in the  weeks that follow. There was another book of deep esoteric Shinto knowledge that I was reading at the time.

When I opened the book that I was presently reading at the time, it made reference to the Bushido Shoshinshu. There must be some information of value useful for my spiritual growth and development. A year later, I’m reading my copy on the train with a different perspective than before, due to a deeper understanding of the Art of Ninzuwu.

Code of the Samurai: A Modern Translation of the Bushido Shoshinshu of Taira Shigesuke is a book that is useful for those practicing martial arts and Eastern mysticism. There are a lot of valuable lessons that can be gained from the text in its simple presentation.

The book embodies the essential principles of Bushido. Its depth can be acquired by those who reflect and put into practice the concepts presented. One of my favorite passages of the text reads as follows:

“If you are going to study military science, you should not stop halfway. You should practice until you reach the inner secrets, finally to return to original simplicity and live in peace. If, however, you spend your days in half-backed practice of military science, unable to reach the inner principles, thereby losing the way to return to original simplicity, thus remaining frustrated and demoralized, that is most regrettable.”

While this passage speaks of being thorough in the study and application of military science, the same wisdom can be applied to the pursuit of esoteric knowledge and other virtuous aims in life. Many of the text’s passages can be applied, like the one cited above, to numerous sectors of day-to-day living.

Thomas Clearly, one of the foremost translators of Asian texts, does a fine job with the Bushido Shoshinshu of Taira Shigesuke, along with the illustrations provided by Oscar Ratti. The following is the book’s description as it appears on Amazon:

“Code of the Samurai is a four-hundred-year-old explication of the rules and expectations embodied in Bushido, the Japanese way of the warrior. Bushido has played a major role in shaping the behavior of modern Japanese government, corporations, society, and individuals, as well as in shaping the modern martial arts within Japan and internationally. The Japanese original of this book, Bushido Shoshinshu, has been one of the primary sources on the tenets of Bushido, a way of thought that remains fascinating and relevant to the modern world, East and West. With a clear, conversational narrative by Thomas Cleary, one of the foremost translators of the wisdom of Asia, and powerfully evocative line drawings by master illustrator Oscar Ratti, this book is indispensable to the corporate executive, student of the Asian Culture, and martial artist.”

I am sure you will enjoy this flawless classic!

Warlock Asylum

Categories: ancient Japanese culture, books, Bushido, Bushido Shoshinshu, Code of the Samura: A Modern Translation of the Bushido Shoshinshu of Taira Shigesuke, Japan, Japanese history, martial art books, martial arts, military science, Oscar Ratti, samurai, Shinto, Thomas Clearly

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