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  Bushido’s Eight Virtues of a Samurai

Unlike the term “Samurai” which has been around since the 11th century (depicted military nobility in pre-industrial Japan and numbered less than 10% of Japan's population) the term “Scrum Master” has only been around since the early 90’s (when Ken Schwaber and Jeff Southerland introduced the Scrum Framework at OOPSLA) but found profound momentum and is a well-known management position in Software Development companies world-wide.

The main influences of the Samurai culture were Buddhism, Zen and Confucianism. While Zen meditation became popular as a way of calming one's mind, it’s Confucianism that believes we (as human beings) are teachable, improvable, and perfectible through self-cultivation and self-creation.

Image courteous of  Wikipedia

The 8 Bushido virtues explained:

I. Morality:  ‘Rectitude is one’s power to decide upon a course of conduct in accordance with reason, without wavering. Without Rectitude neither talent nor learning can make the human frame into a samurai.’

II. Courage: ‘Courage is doing what is right.’

III. Compassion: Love, magnanimity, affection for others, sympathy and pity, are traits of Benevolence, the highest attribute of the human soul.

IV. Politeness (graciousness): Courtesy and good manners have been noticed by every foreign tourist as distinctive Japanese traits. But Politeness should be the expression of a benevolent regard for the feelings of others; it’s a poor virtue if it’s motivated only by a fear of offending good taste. In its highest form Politeness approaches love.

V. Honesty and Sincerity: Bushido encouraged thrift, not for economic reasons so much as for the exercise of abstinence. Luxury was thought the greatest menace to manhood, and severe simplicity was required of the warrior class … the counting machine and abacuses were abhorred.

VI. Respect: The sense of Honour, a vivid consciousness of personal dignity and worth, characterized the samurai.

As the popular adage put it: ‘True patience means bearing the unbearable.’

VII. Loyalty: Loyalty to a superior was the most distinctive virtue of the feudal era. Personal fidelity exists among all sorts of men: a gang of pickpockets swears allegiance to its leader. But only in the code of chivalrous Honour does Loyalty assume paramount importance.

VIII. Character and Self-Control: It’s a man’s obligation to teach his children moral standards through the model of his own behaviour. Like many great men, deep faults paralleled his towering gifts. Yet by choosing compassion over confrontation and benevolence over belligerence, he demonstrated ageless qualities of manliness. Today his lessons could not be timelier.

16 April 2014 by Mandy Schoeman of Scrum Solutions.