Friday, September 2, 2016

Respect and Polite Courtesy

Bushido Virtues carry lessons that perhaps all people can learn from and apply. This month, my coven works on the Bushido Virtue of REI (Respect & Polite Courtesy.

There is no reason to be cruel, no need to prove strength. Be courteous to even your enemies. Without the outward show of respect, we are nothing more than animals. Be respected not for your strength in battle, but in how you deal respectfully with all people in all situations. True strength becomes apparent during difficult times.


REI – Politeness or Morality
The kanji for rei is a modern abbreviated form, which does not reveal very much of the ancient character. The ancient symbol shows a sacrificing vessel that evokes the rites and ceremonies conducted for worshipping and offerings. The character actually means rite or ceremony but in a broader sense it means respect. Rei too is essential to Confucianism: In society rei governs your actions towards others, a fundamental politeness, very much related to jin. It is often translated with morality, but as morality has other connotations I suggest politeness.

Rei is politeness, respect shown in social behavior.


Discerning the difference between obsequiousness and politeness can be difficult for casual visitors to Japan, but for a true man, courtesy is rooted in benevolence: 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.