The Samurai were the warriors of the medieval and early-modern Japan. Still, in Japanese popular culture, their memory remains prominent. In countless films and novels, the Samurai is depicted as the fearless warriors with lethal skills in sword fighting and hand-to-hand combat.
I happened to watch the 2003 epic movie “The Last Samurai” and was fascinated to know how much the legend of samurai could be related to what we discuss here.
What makes the Samurai different when compared with the military nobility of other cultures is their unbending adherence to their moral code of conduct in their livelihood and the battlefield. In Japanese, they call that moral code as “Bushido” which translates to “the way of the warrior”. The Bushido principles weren’t just some combat strategies. They were a way of life filled with personal integrity, courage, compassion, truthfulness and honour.
Beyond their moral fibre, it is not a surprise to know that they had to embrace a life of depth to become an elite group of warriors.
From the moment they wake they devote themselves to the perfection of whatever they pursued. They knew they have to embrace the philosophy of “deep work” – to training their skills every morning for a fixed number of hours. Then they return to the castle to patrol or guard the castle walls. They perfected their skills by establishing it as a ritual.
The Samurai training also involved Zen Buddism to help them maintain the “no-mind”. The “no mind” stands for isolating their minds through Zen meditations to focus only on the enemy rather than than the environment.
May this could be the oldest examples of man producing an elite level of output by harnessing the deep life ritual.
I have to say, the Samurai is an icon for anyone who wants to dwell in a life of depth and acquire the hardest skills by embracing the deep life. Beyond the walled gardens of the silicon valley conglomerates, the ancient Samurai shows us, it is the daily ritual of deliberate training done in a distraction-free mind and environment that could make the man legendary.