According to Confucius, a lack of courage is “Perceiving what is right, but doing it not.” A more positive way to view it is “Courage is doing what is right”, meaning to be caught in all kinds of hazard and dangers.However, these qualities will be useless if there is no clause (“Giri”). People often view death to a meaningless clause as a “dog’s death”.  One of the famous quotes about courage is from the prince of mito “It is true courage to live when it is right to live, and to die only when it is right to die.In the old days Japanese tend to train their children in courage using a “drilling the nerves” approach. Examples of such methods are


1. Depriving them of food or exposure to cold
2. Sending them to strangers with messages to deliver
3. Witnessing public execution etc.

One could easily recall how the Spartan children are trained in the movie 300 upon hearing this.

Another aspect of courage is drawn towards composure, which is a calm presence of mind.  Such tranquility is courage in repose. A warriors mind should be ever serene, even in the heat of the battle. Nothing will actually surprise him, and he is able to keep his mind in the midst of danger.Here are some of the examples quoted in the book


a. Ota Dokan, the builder of the castle of Tokyo, manage to complete a couplet with his assassin before he died.

b. Kenshin, who fought Shingen (These are from the Sengoku or “warring states” period 1521-1573) for 14 years, did a very surprising act to his enemy. When the Hojo prince tried to weaken Shingen (whose provinces are on the mountainous region where salt is scarce) by cutting him from his supply of salt. Kenshin, upon hearing his enemy’s dilemma, and being able to get a supply of salt from his own provinces, wrote a letter to Shingen stating that in his opinion, the prince of Hojo had committed a very mean act. Although they are at war with each other, Kenshin ordered his subjects to furnish Shingen with plenty of salt, saying “I do not fight with salt, but with a sword” 

When such valor reaches its height, it becomes akin to Benevolence, which I would cover in the next entry 

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