What is a vegan samurai and why should you consider becoming a vegan samurai?
Let’s start by defining what a vegan samurai is.
I first envisioned the Vegan Samurai code when I was transitioning from raw food and vegetarian diets to veganism while also studying religion, spirituality, philosophy, ethics, animal sentience, and related topics.
As I considered my life and the tenets of general society, it seemed we lack a crucial organizing principle or code of behavior that would create inner peace, physical health, social harmony, and justice.
For example, when I talked to people about the terrible harm human society does to non-human animals and the earth, I sadly learned that many people have no internal moral code and conscience when it comes to such harms.
This lack of internal moral code and ethical conscience starts with individuals and then permeates society as a whole, especially capitalist consumerist societies.
Our world is threatened by amoral hedonism, mindless entertainment, selfishness, greed, narcissism,violence, and relentless consumption of the planet and non-human animals.
Look around all people rushing to and fro in airplanes and cars, in a frenzy of compulsively traveling, buying, talking on or looking at handheld electronic devices.
They’re stressfully busy doing things that almost always involve consuming fossil fuels and other energy sources, eating animals, and harming the planet.
Our technoindustrial grid is founded on systemic, societally-approved brutality: the way humans use animals for food is a perfect example.
In my studies, I noticed earlier cultures had “codes of honor” that organized personal and group relationships around morals, civic duties, and spiritual centeredness.
Confucianism, Taoism, and Buddhism had aspects of honor codes that greatly impressed me.
But when I discovered Bushido, which is the code of virtues commonly associated with samurai warriors, I felt an immediate clarity, practicality, and attraction.
Samurai warriors have been popularized (in a distorted, sensationalized way) in movies, books, anime, and hentai.
In modern lore, such as the Quentin Tarantino movies Kill Bill: Volumes One and Two, samurai are portrayed primarily as unhinged sword-fighting warriors who possess almost-supernatural fighting skills combined with iron will and a lust for blood, revenge, and victory.
The actual samurai were martial artists and military warriors in Japan hundreds of years ago.
They fought bloody battles using body skills and various weapons including samurai swords.
But fighting and blood aren’t the whole samurai story– true samurai were also trained in the liberal arts, and had a rigid personal honor code that governed the way they managed their thoughts, ethics, actions, and interactions with others.
This code and the samurai lifestyle are sometimes known as “Bushido.”
I don’t follow all aspects of Bushido, of course, because I’m not a sword-wielding warrior serving an emperor.
But I was particularly impressed that Bushido required frugality, self-control, benevolence, sincerity, loyalty, respectfulness, and right behavior towards others.
I also like the fact that Zen Buddhism influenced samurai and Bushido.
Buddhism, of all major “religions,” has by far the most explicit teachings forbidding the killing of animals.
Buddhism also acknowledges more than any other religion that all animals are sentient, not just human animals.
A further benefit for those of us walking the vegan path is Buddhism includes the practices and teachings of “emptiness,” and meditation—two inward-looking concepts that clear the mind to provide an accurate, calm, and health-enhancing view of “self” and life.
As I started the vegan life exposed to the enormous societal and interpersonal pressures from those who create or eat animal-derived food products, I felt a need to be a “warrior” for veganism, the earth, and animals harmed by humans.
I also noticed that being vegan in a non-vegan society, where I too had been raised to love eating flesh, eggs, and dairy, is a spiritual warrior path requiring us to always strengthen our resolve by remembering the moral reasons we adopted veganism.
To put it simply, I learned to resist external and internal negatives by following a form of vegan Bushido code, so I could stay on the vegan path as an empathic being in a world full of needless suffering.
My commitment to non-killing, to not being a customer of those who exploit animals, involves honor, frugality, benevolence, sincerity, loyalty, self-control and other Bushido values.
Of course, I’m not into sword fighting or ritual suicide as the ancient samurai warriors were.
While the original samurai had no qualms about shedding blood, the vegan samurai is dedicated to preventing the shedding of blood, especially the blood of animals tortured and slaughtered for food.
So there you have it… the birth of the vegan samurai.
To my knowledge, I’m the only one so far.
I’ll be writing more articles that explain and amplify what a vegan samurai is and does, and I hope you too will become a vegan samurai.
For now, I suggest reading this book on the Bushido code, and also engaging the YouTube videos I’ve embedded herein.
The bottom line is that being vegan is a form of being a warrior… a wholly honorable warrior on behalf of innocent animals, mother earth, a just society, and your own physical and spiritual health!