SERTARUL CU GANDURI

02/04/2017

Jack Seward – „Hara-Kiri” 1


   – Highlight Loc. 112-15 :Bushido had become firmly established in Japan as the Way of the Warrior by the beginning of the long and successful reign of the Tokugawa Clan (1603-1867). Within its framework, seppuku was not only meted out as an honorable sentence of death to violators of certain of the Tokugawa laws but also was practiced to demonstrate and emphasize resistance, remonstrance, loyalty, and affirmation of the correctness of one’s position.
– Highlight Loc. 121-24 :In Japanese society today, the accepted rule is to render official terms in the on or Japanese way of pronouncing the original Chinese character, and such is the case with seppuku. The same two characters, in reverse order, can also be read hara-kiri in the kun or native Japanese style of pronunciation. The word hara-kiri is used only in conversation, and not for official purposes or in formal speech or writing.
– Highlight Loc. 243-46 :The ancients, therefore, put huge stones on the burial spot so that the spirit would not come out to haunt the living in a dream or in the shape of a ghost. The custom of immolation originated at such a stage in civilization. Beloved wives, concubines, servants, and even horses were buried with the deceased, so that he might keep on „living” peacefully and comfortably in the nether world, which was called in Shintoism, yomi.
– Highlight Loc. 317-20 :The word hara or abdomen has a common root with the word hari which means tension. Ancient Japanese associated tension in the abdomen with the soul. The abdomen is the place where the soul resides; the more vital the action, the greater the tension. At the same time, it is the physical center of the body; hence they were led to look upon the abdomen as the cradle of one’s will, thought, generosity, boldness, spirit, anger, enmity, etc.
   – Highlight Loc. 344-46 :According to Zen doctrine, Buddha-hood is achieved only after acts of austere self-mortification. It is a state that must be actively pursued and won by the individual. Thus, the ordeal of seppuku would give high merit toward the attainment of Buddha-hood.
– Highlight Loc. 348-50 :Finally, the samurai attached great importance to the manner of dying and to the moment of death. According to their code, the death sentence of simple decapitation brought eternal shame to the memory of the warrior. In seppuku, however, the samurai died of his own accord, at least in the ritual sense, and this was a fitting end to a valiant life.
– Highlight Loc. 444-49 :a moving example of junshi: On the eve of Shimizu’s seppuku, his favorite vassal Shirai sent a request that Shimizu visit his room. When Shimizu arrived, Shirai apologized for having his master visit his humble quarters and explained that he had wanted to reassure his master that seppuku was not difficult and that he, Shimizu, should not be concerned about what he would have to do on the morrow. So saying, Shirai bared his abdomen to show that he himself had completed the act of seppuku only a moment before Shimizu’s arrival. Shimizu gave Shirai his deepest thanks for his loyal devotion and assisted him in kaishaku, i.e., he beheaded him with his sword.
– Highlight Loc. 450-52 : the Buddhist custom to place a corpse with its head to the north. This ceremonial custom derives from the belief that Buddha entered Nirvana facing the west with his head to the north and his right arm underneath his head.
– Highlight Loc. 468-72 :Under the Tokugawa Shogunate, there were about 60 feudal lords, great and small, throughout the country. These lords were not permitted to live permanently in their own fiefs but had to maintain mansions and spend much of their time in Edo. They could not stay in their own fiefs longer than one year at a time and, even then, they had to leave their wives and children in Edo during their absence from the capital. This strategy on the part of the Shogun had certain controlling effects: Each lord could not stay in his own fief long enough to adequately prepare for and foment rebellion; his family were hostages in the Shogun’s capital;
   – Highlight Loc. 515-21: The kenshi’s next function was to pronounce the sentence. He began with the following announcement: „I hereby pronounce the supreme command of the Shogunate.” Thereafter, he would read the sentence: „Considering the charge that [name of the condemned] did [the offense for which he is to be punished], the subject is herewith commanded to commit seppuku.” Thereupon, the person ordered to commit seppuku bowed and uttered briefly but respectfully a few words of gratitude for having been given this honor. Then the seppuku rite itself began,
– Highlight Loc. 627-29 : The farewell greetings were all so ceremonialized and stereotyped that they served as some relief at such a doleful time. In reply to the command to commit seppuku, the condemned man would answer, „My crime should have deserved a more severe punishment, whereas I have been allowed to commit seppuku, for which my gratitude is boundless,”
– Highlight Loc. 646-47 : The seppuku knife was not long. In the first place, a long knife would be dangerous. It might happen that the condemned man would suddenly change his mind and decide not to die.
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