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Khalsa and Samurai

Discussion in 'Sikh Sikhi Sikhism' started by warriors_of_truth, Jun 8, 2005.

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  1. warriors_of_truth

    warriors_of_truth
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    Both must be admired for there way of life, there mentality in battle and the respect they show for their sword. Does anyone no a bit more about the Samurai? Like when it was created and by whom? Believe Samurai means to Serve and Khalsa means Pure.
     
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  3. S|kH

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    Sometime back, I read an article on how a few descendents in Japan from one of the last Samurai had converted to Sikhism because it so closely resembled the original Samurai.
     
  4. Neutral Singh

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  5. warriors_of_truth

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    SIKH where did you hear this story? do you have the source? I would like to read it.
    Fateh
     
  6. Amerikaur

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    I lived with a Japanese family during part of my college. There are similarities, but there are differences too. The Samurai have become part of the most deeply revered parts of Japanese history. Unfortunately, they also permeated one of the darkest aspects to Japanese culture.

    Respect for the sword, certainly. Warrior skills, braveness in battle, and a very strict code of conduct that included swearing one's life to the pursuit of honor.

    The samurai would always carry a short sword on their person at all times, much like the Khalsa carry a kirpan. When going out of doors, the samurai would also carry a long sword. They were adept at martial arts, and were skilled at using all weapons available to them, including guns, explosives, archery, etc.

    Samurai believed in mental and physical prowess, and like the Khalsa, would spend many hours in meditation. Unlike the Khalsa, the samurai did not believe in God or followed any kind of religion, the focus was strictly on the battle.

    Like the Khalsa, the samurai wore long hair in a top knot. The hair had to be a certain length. I'm not sure if it was permissible for them to trim their hair or not. Shaving facial hair was permitted.

    Some stark differences...

    Samurai were esentially a caste. Japan had a strict vertical class system that was secular in nature. At the top were the samurai families, the warrior class. (At the very bottom - were the "untouchables")

    Samurai were only born, never made. The samurai consisted only of the male children of specific tribal families.

    The samurai's goal was to die in battle. Samurai that don't die in battle commit a ritual suicide of disemboweling themselves. It was believed by the samurai and by the villiagers to be an honorable death. Occasionally, it would become a public spectacle.

    The permeation of suicide as an honorable death spread througout the social classes. The villagers believed that suicide would wash away the sins that would posess the family. Unfortunately, in earlier days, suicide typically claimed the healthy father of the family, leaving the family with little or no means of support. Older or infirm family members sought to take their own life because it was the honorable thing to be less of a burden on the family.

    Today, in modern Japan, traditional families still revere the descendants of the samurai class, and shun the descnedants of the untouchables class.

    Today in modern Japan, committing suicide upon doing something that could dishonor the family is still widely practiced. It is not unusual for a student to kill herself after not achieving a proper grade on an exam. Or for an entrepreneur to kill himself after failing in business. Two Japanese students at my school took their own life during the time I was studying there.


    In terms of some of the last samurai converting to Sikhism, that would surprise me.

    Japan followed a strict isolationist policy since about 1600, and maintained no outside contact with other nations until Cmdr. Perry in the 1850's with a request from President Fillmore to establish trade relations and to seek better treatment for sailors that lost their ships in the Sea of Japan. The Comodore approached the figurehead emporer, not the shogonate, with the request. The emporer considered the request.

    This consideration brought about a civil war between the people and the samurai that wanted to stay isolated, and to keep their traditional ways, and those that wanted to learn from the Americans, who were more advanced in technology and academics.

    When Emporer Meiji agreed to establish trade with America, this was the first outside contact that Japan had recognized in over 250 years. Emperor Meiji established relationships with European countries next. It wasn't until some decades in to his rule that he opened up Japan to contact with his Asian neighbors.

    From visiting the country, it seemed that the Japanese are very traditional, very spiritual, and in some cases even very superstitious...but not necessarily religious. The Japanese language is full of many different cultural references...historical references, class-system references, honorific references...but not many religious references.

    It's a very fascinating, but very different culture.

    EDIT: I misread S|kh's post...he said decendants of some of the last samurai converting to Sikhism, not the last samurai themselves.

    That is certainly possible, especially as traditional Japanese still today keep track of what families were samurai (and which families were untouchable). If that is the case and there are descendants that have found Sikhi, that must be one heck of a fascinating story.
     
  7. S|kH

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    AmeriKaur, your mostly right on everything you said on the Samurai, and educated on the subject :)

    Only thing I disagree with is the Samurai having no "religion". They didn't have a religion in the sense that we do today, but they certainly had a method of attaining peace of mind. Each individual warrior concentrated on only his one particular aspect of war (bow and arrow, the sword, etc.). In order to complete concentration, the Samurai would meditate and attain complete calmness before war, to gain no fear. The aspect thats different than Sikhi, is that we use meditation and paht to attain peace of mind and complete calmness everywhere in our life, not just at war.

    And secondly, the Samurai were not really a caste, but from an onlooker it can be seen that way. Remember when your looking its different than how it actually is...many people think Sikhs are the warrior caste of Hindus, and that we are born not raised..even "Sikhs" believe this. There's numerous stories on how the Samurai took in orphan boys and raised them up to be warriors, even ones that grew up and were labelled as Samurai. But, it can be seen as a caste, just as it can be seen as not...its all how you intrepret what a "caste" actually is, and how to go on maintaing it.

    The biggest difference I'd say is that the Samurai's complete philosophy, whether it be "religion or caste", is completely tied around the battlefield, whereas Sikhi is for everyday life.

    Wow, as for visiting Japan, thats awesome. I wish I could do it, especially at the time where the original culture was still around. Seems like now, everyone wants to become "American", so when you go to different places...feels like your at home, just with a dirtier atmosphere :\

    Oh yeah, I will look for that article if I can find it. I remember reading it a long time ago...I'll see if I can dig it up.
     
  8. warriors_of_truth

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    Cool stuff peeps thanks! CHeers sikh and ameri
     
  9. Arvind

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    Thansk Amerikaur ji for educating us about Samurai. I read this post with great interest. s|kh, as usual, has brought up an interesting topic
     
  10. warriors_of_truth

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    I thought that I was the one who bought the topic up! ;)
     
  11. Arvind

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    Lol... o yea... ::cool:: sorry abt that. :shifty:
     
  12. Amerikaur

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    You all inspired me to do some surfing. I found this attributed to a Samurai...

    I have no parents: I make the heavens and earth my parents.

    I have no home: I make awareness my home.

    I have no life or death: I make the tides of breathing my life and death.

    I have no divine power: I make honesty my divine power.

    I have no means: I make understanding my means.

    I have no magic secrets: I make character my magic secret.

    I have no body: I make endurance my body.

    I have no eyes: I make the flash of lightening my eyes.

    I have no ears: I make sensibility my ears.

    I have no limbs: I make promptness my limbs.

    I have no strategy: I make "unshadowed by thought" my strategy.

    I have no designs. I make "seizing opportunity by the forelock" my design.

    I have no miracles: I make right action my miracle.

    I have no principals: I make adaptability to all circumstances my principals.

    I have no tactics: I make emptiness and fullness my tactics.

    I have no talents: I make appropriateness my talents.

    I have no friends: I make my mind my friend.

    I have no enemy: I make carelessness my enemy.

    I have no armor: I make benevolence and righteousness my armor.

    I have no castle: I make immovable mind my castle.

    I have no sword: I make absence of self my sword.
     

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