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A definitive treatise on the code of the samurai--revised and with a new introduction
Upholding the samurai code both on and off the battlefield is one of the essential tenets of bushidō, the Way of the Warrior—and Budōshoshinshu is a definitive treatise on living in accordance with the samurai code. When it comes to books on samurai philosophy, the Edo-period classic Hagakure is iconic to contemporary readers, but Budōshoshinshu, which was written during same period, was equally influential at the time. Many scholars consider Hagakure, which was influenced by Zen, to be the most radical and romantic of samurai texts, while Budōshoshinshu is more measured and practical, owing to its heavy Confucian influence. Taken in tandem, they provide a range of insights on the role of the individual within the samurai order—both addressing the warrior’s role in times of peace and emphasizing the importance of living selflessly.
Written by Daidoji Yūzan, a Confucian scholar who descended from a long line of prominent warriors, Budōshoshinshu comprises 56 pithy instructive essays for young samurai on how to live morally, with professional integrity and a higher purpose, and to carry on the true chivalrous tradition of bushidō. Budōshoshinshu is imbued with classic Confucian philosophy, centered on living one’s life with sincerity and loyalty.
About the Author
Daidoji Yūzan (1639–1730) was a samurai and military strategist during the Edo period in Japan. He was descended from a long line of prominent warriors, and was a well-known and sought-after teacher.
William Scott Wilson is the foremost translator into English of traditional Japanese texts on samurai culture. He received BA degrees from Dartmouth College and the Monterey Institute of Foreign Studies, and an MA in Japanese literary studies from the University of Washington. His best-selling translations include Hagakure, The Book of Five Rings, and Taiko. He is also the author of The Lone Samurai, a biography of the legendary samurai Miyamoto Musashi.
“When it comes to books on samurai philosophy, Hagakure is iconic. But Budōshoshinshu, which was also written by a respected samurai during the Edo period, was equally influential at the time. It emphasizes the importance of living selflessly and morally.”—Spirituality & Health