„Who kindly sets a wand'rer on his way
Does e'en as if he lit another's lamp by his:
No less shines his, when he his friend's hath lit.“

As quoted by Cicero in De Officiis, Book I, Chapter XVI - translation by Walter Miller
Originale: (la) Homo qui erranti comiter monstrat viam,
Quasi lumen de suo lumine accendat facit;
Nihilo minus ipsi lucet, cum illi accenderit.

Quinto Ennio photo
Quinto Ennio26
poeta, drammaturgo e scrittore romano -239 - -169 a.C.

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The Tragic Sense of Life (1913), XI : The Practical Problem
Contesto: He who bases or thinks he bases his conduct — his inward or his outward conduct, his feeling or his action — upon a dogma or a principle which he deems incontrovertible, runs the risk of becoming a fanatic, and moreover, the moment that this dogma is weakened or shattered, the morality based upon it gives way. If the earth that he thought firm begins to rock, he himself trembles at the earthquake, for we do not all come up to the standard of the ideal Stoic who remains undaunted among the ruins of a world shattered into atoms. Happily the stuff that is underneath a man's ideas will save him. For if a man should tell you that he does not defraud or cuckold his best friend only because he is afraid of hell, you may depend upon it that neither would he do so even if he were to cease to believe in hell, but that he would invent some other excuse instead. And this is all to the honor of the human race.

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—  Tsunetomo Yamamoto, libro Hagakure

As translated by William Scott Wilson. This first sentence of this passage was used as a military slogan during the early 20th century to encourage soldiers to throw themselves into battle. Variant translations:
Bushido is realised in the presence of death. In the case of having to choose between life and death you should choose death. There is no other reasoning. Move on with determination. To say dying without attaining ones aim is a foolish sacrifice of life is the flippant attitude of the sophisticates in the Kamigata area. In such a case it is difficult to make the right judgement. No one longs for death. We can speculate on whatever we like. But if we live without having attaining that aim, we are cowards. This is an important point and the correct path of the Samurai. When we calmly think of death morning and evening and are in despair, We are able to gain freedom in the way of the Samurai. Only then can we fulfil our duty without making mistakes in life.
By the Way of the warrior is meant death. The Way of the warrior is death. This means choosing death whenever there is a choice between life and death. It means nothing more than this. It means to see things through, being resolved.
I have found that the Way of the samurai is death. This means that when you are compelled to choose between life and death, you must quickly choose death.
The way of the Samurai is in death.
I have found the essence of Bushido: to die!
Hagakure (c. 1716)
Origine: Hagakure: The Book of the Samurai
Contesto: The Way of the Samurai is found in death. When it comes to either/or, there is only the quick choice of death. It is not particularly difficult. Be determined and advance. To say that dying without reaching one's aim is to die a dog's death is the frivolous way of sophisticates. When pressed with the choice of life or death, it is not necessary to gain one's aim.
We all want to live. And in large part we make our logic according to what we like. But not having attained our aim and continuing to live is cowardice. This is a thin dangerous line. To die without gaining one's aim is a dog's death and fanaticism. But there is no shame in this. This is the substance of the Way of the Samurai. If by setting one's heart right every morning and evening, one is able to live as though his body were already dead, he gains freedom in the Way. His whole life will be without blame, and he will succeed in his calling.

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