Sakura and Bushido

The following piece offers a brief interpretation into the spirit of Sakura and its parallel with Bushido.

Sakura is the Japanese word for the revered cherry blossom tree. This sacred tree has a special symbolic meaning to the Samurai & Bushido. Bu-shi-do or Military-Knight- Way is the moral and ethical code the famed Japanese Samurai lived their life by.

The Sakura tree may be seen as an important symbolic metaphor for life and the seasons.

Throughout Spring, Summer and Autumn the Sakura tree grows with little noticeable change above ground. Indeed for 49 weeks of the year its energy is purposefully channelled into its roots, forcing these deeper and thus ensuring a stronger, more resilient tree. Throughout winter the Sakura weathers the often unforgiving elements.

For just three weeks of the year, as the seasons shift from winter to spring the Sakura blossoms. This is where the fruits of the growth during the year are shown. The tree gives its all in putting its energy into a flourish of delicate blossoms; modest but beautiful flowers with a barely detectible fragrance.

Spring winds may blow the blooms away- but the Sakura tree still gives its all. The short life and beauty of the blossom it has been used as a metaphor for mortality and is an important symbol in Japanese culture.

It is interesting to note the Japanese symbol for a tree shows not only the trunk and branches, as is often the case in European representations, but also the roots, thus acknowledging their heady significance in Asian culture.

Ancient Samurai spent their lives cultivating their spirit, seeking knowledge and refining their martial techniques. Samurai pledged their life to the service of their Lord (Daimyo). In battle they thought nothing of dying for their cause, and yet did not carelessly give their lives away. They fought with the spirit of the Sakura.

The challenge is to emulate the spirit of Sakura in all aspects of our own lives. To do this we need to grow ourselves physically, mentally and spiritually. Through this we too can yield the fruits of our growth.

This is the spirit of the Sakura…. The spirit of Bushido.

– William Pepper

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