“To hate injustice and stand on righteousness is a difficult thing. Furthermore, to think that being righteous is the best one can do and to do one’s utmost to be righteous will, on the contrary, bring many mistakes. The Way is in a higher place than righteousness. This is very difficult to discover, but it is the highest wisdom. When seen from this standpoint, things like righteousness are rather shallow. If one does not understand this on his own, it cannot be known. There is a method of getting to this Way, however, even if one cannot discover it by himself. This is found in consultation with others. Even a person who has not attained this Way sees others from the side. It is like the saying from the game of go: “He who sees from the side has eight eyes.” The saying, “Thought by thought we see our own mistakes,” also means that the highest Way is in discussion with others.”
These are the words of Yamamoto Tsunetomo from his book ‘Hagakure’, which I read an age ago, and have been meaning to re-read for a while now. Unfortunately, I have thought to keep all the things I wish to go over again for next year, which will mean that I have to wait a bit longer.
However, I have looked at the quotes posted elsewhere from the book, and have enjoyed them thoroughly. What I enjoy about ‘Hagakure’ more than the other books (such as ‘The Book of Five Rings’) is that it is in many a way a far more general treatise on how to be a “good” person , contrary to actual teachings on the way of combat.
The quote above however seems to bring out what I believe to be the case as well: people are willing to say that they are working for the highest of principles while in reality… well, things are different. 🙂