Although seemingly going against almost everything I believe in, I thought that I’d share this story with you.
It seems that, over 400 years ago, a retainer of Matsudaira Sagami no kami had taken a trip to Kyoto. Whilst there he’d heard that some of his lord’s men where involved in a fight, and ran to the location of the fight as fast as he could. When he got there, completely out of breath, he found that his compatriots were on the verge of being killed. He let out a yell and cut down the adversaries down; after which he returned to his lodgings in Kyoto, completed his business and returned to his Lord.
This fight was seen as ‘unlawful’ in the eyes of the shogunate. As most fights between Samurai had to be prearranged with the Shogunate before hand, to avoid the peasantry from seeing the rash behaviour of Samurai, the retainer was called by the Shogunate to answer for his actions (I.E killing two men in an unlawful fight). He was asked why he had broken the law. To which he replied:
Although you say that I have broken the law and disregarded the government’s ordinance, I have by no means done so. The reason for this is that all living things value their lives, and this goes without saying for human beings. I, especially, value my life. However, I thought that to hear a rumour that one’s friends are involved in a fight and to pretend not to hear of this is not to preserve the Way [of the Samurai], so I ran to the place of action. To shamelessly return home after seeing my friends struck down would surely have lengthened my life, but this too would be disregarding the Way. In preserving the Way, one will throw away his own precious life. Thus in order to preserve the Way and not to disregard the Samurai Ordinances, I quickly threw away my life at that place. I beg that you execute me immediately.
Kinda makes you think, doesn’t it?