In the last week, we talked about Benevolence as a method of dealing with the warlike and blood thirsty nature of a warrior. The this virtue that i would be describing,  serves a similar purpose to it.

 Politeness is link to courtesy most of the time, and everyone knows the typical Japanese courtesy, and its marked as a trait of the Japanese.  From what i am reading, politeness slowly evolves from a simple set of manners to a elaborate set of ceremonies and actions.
Any respectable man in society has to learn and be accustomed to this.

This is the reason sometimes Asian politeness is viewed as being passed as hypocrisy, or places over emphasis on how one should sit or bow, and how he must walk behaves.

The purpose for such etiquette all voices down to 1 objectives, “The end of all etiquette is to so cultivate your mind that even when you are quietly seated, not the roughest ruffian can dare make onset on your person.” with this,  we can term such politeness into the term “Well seated”. which can be achieve by constant exercise in correct manners, one brings all the parts and faculties of his body into perfect order and into such harmony with itself and its environment as to express the mastery of spirit over the flesh.

But what does “Well seated” has to do with a warrior? Take the traditional tea ceremony as an example (Cha-no-yu).  The calmness of mind, serenity of temper, composure and quietness of demeanour are the first essentials of Cha-no-yu. These are without doubt the first conditions of right thinking and right feeling. The scrupulous cleanliness of the little room, shut off from sight and sound of the madding crowd, is in itself conducive to direct one’s thoughts from the world. The bare interior does not engross one’s attention like the innumerable pictures and bric-a-brac of a Western parlour; the presence of kakémono calls our attention more to grace of design than to beauty of colour. The utmost refinement of taste is the object aimed at; whereas anything like display is banished with religious horror. The very fact that it was invented by a contemplative recluse, in a time when wars and the rumours of wars were incessant, is well calculated to show that this institution was more than a pastime. Before entering the quiet precincts of the tea-room, the company assembling to partake of the ceremony laid aside, together with their swords, the ferocity of battle-field or the cares of government, there to find peace and friendship.

Other then that, the book also talks a bit about Japanese polities and the rational behind their actions which are interesting to note. The following extracts of the books

You are out in the hot, glaring sun with no shade over you; a Japanese acquaintance passes by; you accost him, and instantly his hat is off–well, that is perfectly natural, but the “awfully funny” performance is, that all the while he talks with you his parasol is down and he stands in the glaring sun also. How foolish!–Yes, exactly so, provided the motive were less than this: “You are in the sun; I sympathise with you; I would willingly take you under my parasol if it were large enough, or if we were familiarly acquainted; as I cannot shade you, I will share your discomforts.” Little acts of this kind, equally or more amusing, are not mere gestures or conventionalities. They are the “bodying forth” of thoughtful feelings for the comfort of others.

In America, when you make a gift, you sing its praises to the recipient; in Japan we depreciate or slander it. The underlying idea with you is, “This is a nice: gift if it were not nice I would not dare give it to you; for it will be an insult to give you anything but what is nice.” In contrast to this, our logic runs: “You are a nice person, and no gift is nice enough for you. You will not accept anything I can lay at your feet except as a token of my good will; so accept this, not for its intrinsic value, but as a token. It will be an insult to your worth to call the best gift good enough for you.” Place the two ideas side by side, and we see that the ultimate idea is one and the same. Neither is “awfully funny.” The American speaks of the material which makes the gift; the Japanese speaks of the spirit which prompts the gift

I will be covering Honesty on my next blog post

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