Can Ritual Suicide Bring Peace?

220px-Harakiri_PosterThe wound is the place where the Light enters you–Rumi

I’ve been contemplating suicide lately. Put the phones down. I’m not going to kill myself. My wife has a PhD in Clinical Psychology; she would be the first to recognize the symptoms and hospitalize me if I was suicidal.

What I mean is that I have been thinking about the idea of suicide. I was raised in a Japanese American household where samurai films were as common as Saturday morning cartoons. I’ve always been fascinated by the idea of ritual suicide—hara kiri or, more properly, seppuku.

The most famous instance in Japanese history consists of 47 samurai whose daimyo (feudal lord) was forced to commit seppuku due to a corrupt Shogun court official. The 47 ronin (leaderless samurai) revenge their master’s death by killing the corrupt official. Then all 47 ronin commit seppuku, much to the adoration of the entire country of Japan and impressionable kids like me. (A new Keanu Reeves film version is scheduled to be released in the near future.)

Miyamoto Musashi

My son practicing the Miyamoto Musashi double sword technique

Recently, I got in trouble at my son’s birthday party. We gave sets of plastic samurai swords away as party favors. One of my 5 year old son’s friends asked, “What is the small sword for?”

“The long one is to fight with and the short one is to kill yourself if you lose,” I replied.

Apparently, other parents don’t have the same adoration of seppuku that I do.

In addition to social faux pas, I have put my family through a lot in the past few years. From financial strain to what in Asian culture we call “losing face,” my wife and children have not had an easy road because of me. In some demented way, seppuku seemed like an honorable way to save face and put an end to my family’s misfortunes.

In the middle of this fantasy, one of my friends rang me. Turns out that he had been “thinking about suicide,” as well. We’ve known each other since the 5th grade, so we knew that neither of us would kill ourselves, but we felt comforted that we could talk to each other about our feelings.

He directed me to a documentary about people who jump off the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco. I’ve included it here if you are interested.

What I realized from watching this video is that people who commit suicide leave a lot of pain behind. I’m not talking about the pain in their lives that they escape when they die. I’m talking about all the pain and misery they cause others by killing themselves.

With a new perspective, I realized that seppuku is such a male thing to do–full of ego, selfishness, and bravado. I’ve never seen a depiction of women committing seppuku, although I’ve seen a lot of films where women kill themselves when they find out that their husbands or sons committed seppuku.

I’ve hurt enough people in my life because of my ego, selfishness, and lack of empathy. My goal is to try not to hurt anyone else for the rest of my life. I mistakenly thought that suicide would prevent me from hurting anyone else, but it is clear to me that this “easy way out” will leave behind more pain than I can possibly imagine.

If I really want to stop hurting people, I have to start helping people. “Love all, serve all” is one of my guru’s mottos. My new heroes are not the ronin who commit seppuku, but the mothers and wives who clean up the mess afterwards. Like my own mother and wife, they are committed to love and service. They deserve better than the patriarchal myths that end with them in tears.

By publishing this dark post, I hope to help anyone who thinks that ending it all will “save face” or stop hurting those around us. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

Thank you for reading, empathizing, and/or sharing.

P.S.

Dear Insurance Claim Adjuster,

Do your research! I am not nor have ever been suicidal. Don’t use this two page essay on Japanese American views of suicide to deny my wife and children any benefits should I happen to die in an accident. READ the rest of my blog and you will see that I love my purpose-driven life, have tons of friends, and am committed to spreading peace, not pain.

Have any dark thoughts lead you to the Light? Please share.

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87 comments on “Can Ritual Suicide Bring Peace?

  1. Jueseppi B. says:

    Reblogged this on The ObamaCrat.Com™ and commented:
    Interesting post. Thats all I can say.

    • Kozo says:

      Thanks so much for the re-blog, Jueseppi. This is a lot darker post than I usually publish, so your re-blog encourages me to continue being honest and authentic. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  2. I believe you have come to a wise conclusion about the effects of seppuku. Creating, nurturing, and sustaining are all more difficult than abandonment and suicide, but they are also the actions of the strong. It’s odd because lately I have been plotting a new post and it will be a love letter to my enemies about how much they have helped me, without knowing it, and how much bad times have taught me and helped me grow. Your post reminds me of it because of how you have examined the practice and found it wanting when viewed from the other perspective of those left behind. Be well!

    • Kozo says:

      Thank you for this heart-felt comment. (I don’t want to assume that your name is George, since you are a female.) I can’t wait to read your letter to your enemies and bad times. Can you tag it B4Peace, so other Bloggers for Peace can read it as well? I, too, am grateful to my enemies and bad times for bringing me right here, right now. I love how you say that our life is “the classroom and an arena.” I recently attended a Jeff Foster workshop where he said that “your life is not working out perfectly.” We are here to work things out. If everything was perfect–no enemies, no bad times–we would not be here or would be bored. Great to meet you. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

      • LOL! My peace post this month is going to be about how to love the loveless (i.e. people who hurt you and others). Funny how these things line up with no coordination!

      • I’m a Georgina, so I often answer to George. Nice to meet you too! I’ll tag it. Rara has turned me on to some of the groups she belongs to and you all are a real nice bunch of like-minded people. Fantastic to find all of you! I agree, we wouldn’t be here or we’d be seriously bored 🙂 Hugs to you also!

  3. Vikas Yadav says:

    Thank You for sharing this.

    • Kozo says:

      Thanks for reading and commenting, Vikas. I was really hesitant about publicly discussing these ideas, but your comment encourages me to stay true to my thoughts and feelings. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  4. jmgoyder says:

    This is a hell of a wonderful post, Kozo – thank you for waking my mind up.

    • Kozo says:

      Thank you, Julie, for reading and commenting. I think if I bookmark your “brighter side of biking” post and this post, I should be able to live a pretty long life. haha. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  5. Dieu says:

    I have watched that film. I think it’s called “the Bridge”. I found it so haunting. In the film, one young man actually survived his jump off the bridge (usually no one survives the impact). He said the moment he jumped he immediately regretted his decision. I think people who commit suicide do so not because they want to die but because they want to get rid of whatever pain and suffering they are experiencing.
    Interesting post. Different from what you normally write on but just as thought provoking.

    • Kozo says:

      Yeah, Dieu, isn’t that amazing. He miraculously survived. Life is so intelligent.
      Thank you for being a faithful reader for the entire life of my blog. I know this isn’t my usual post, but, like your poetry, I want to explore all my thoughts and feelings. I heard an interesting idea recently that we are not afraid to die, but to live. Death is easy, life is hard, yet at the same time, life is so wonderful and miraculous. That duality has to have a purpose. I tried to explore that in this post. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  6. Geo Sans says:

    true artists

    realize a vision of suicide

    is only a message

    for detachment

    letting go

    what may actually be

    slowly killing

    your soul

    ~

    • Kozo says:

      Dear Geo Sans,
      It is 4 am and I am crying. I just read your comment and watched the video. So many things came floating up–It’s a Wonderful Life, the “wise up” scene in Magnolia, Wings of Desire, Shawshank Redemption, This Mortal Coil, and the Golden Gate Jumpers video. I’ve never heard of this band or this video before, but it resonated with my soul. Your comment helps me free my soul and let it be.
      I am so grateful for your friendship and wisdom. Thank you, thank you, thank you. Love, Kozo

      • Kozo says:

        Just watched the video again and noticed the Bladerunner and Matrix. Do you know where the slow-motion rain shots come from? Anyone?

      • Kozo says:

        Sorry for the third reply to your comment, Geo Sans, but I just researched Arcade Fire. How did I miss these guys? Oh yeah, I had two babies when they were blowing up. Thank you for a new band to color my life. I promise that this will be the last reply to my original reply. 🙂

      • Geo Sans says:

        I’m glad it helped

        ~

        you’re posts have been

        excellent sources

        of contemplation

        for me

        ~

        i’ve seen arcade fire

        play this song live

        … chilling

        ~

        I think the comments/description

        section of the Youtube post

        maybe have all the references

  7. Many years ago, I was an exchange student in Ako – where the ronin’s Lord Asano was from…so I heard this story repeated reverently..I’m glad you know suicide is not the way to leave your loved ones though xx

  8. theINFP says:

    Unfortunately, I have first hand experience of an aunt who gassed herself, an uncle and the partner of a dear friend who killed themselves with hose on the car exhaust. No where near honourable by the Japanese way of thinking. Sometimes life has become so bad that people just want to go to sleep and not wake up. I agree that the pain they cause for those they leave behind is awful. Absolute desperation can only be understood by those who have experienced it………

    • Kozo says:

      Your last line really hit home, Robert. The people in the video were desperate. I think many of us “fantasize” about suicide–I know that sounds horrible, but I can’t think of a better way to express what I am thinking–but those that actually jump have pains I can’t possibly imagine. The last jumper in the Golden Gate video lets himself fall backwards with arms out-stretched. He almost looks like a Christ-figure. In a way, death by suicide makes those left behind delve deeper into love and acceptance. In a small way, just watching this video and talking to my friend makes me want to help others, serve others, and love others. Isn’t this what Jesus wanted us to do? I’m not sure what I’m trying to say, but I feel like there is a powerful lesson to be learned. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  9. merbear74 says:

    “Apparently, other parents don’t have the same adoration of seppuku that I do.”
    Apparently not, Kozo!! Seriously, from personal experience, my loved ones are the reason I have never followed through with suicidal thoughts. {{Hugs}} Merbear.

    • Kozo says:

      🙂 I know that you know the look I get when I let something slip out of my mouth that probably should have stayed in my mind.
      Thank you for sharing your dark thoughts with me, Merbear. I agree–I could never chose to leave my loved ones behind. I think that is why I put the photo of my son in this post. And let us not forget about our BBFs. How could we ever leave them behind? {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  10. fgassette says:

    There is nothing like a personal testimony that influences the decisions of others. Suicide is never the right answer to a problem. I pray those reading your post will understand the pain they would leave behind from such an act. Thank you for sharing.

    BE ENCOURAGED! BE BLESSED!

    • Kozo says:

      Thank you, Francine, for all your blessings. There is a guy in the video who actually survives the jump. He said that right when he jumped, he realized that he did not want to die. I can’t think of a worse tragedy than someone jumping then realizing that they did not want to die and not surviving. With my deluded ideas about seppuku, I could have been that poor soul. I now realize that my duty is to serve others, not add to the pain and misery in the world. Thank you again for the encouragement and blessings. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  11. SGC says:

    When I was young my mother tried to commit suicide by jumping out of a hospital window. It was a freezing winter’s day and a nurse who ran out to help her slipped on some frozen steps and broke her leg. My mother survived but she broke her arm and suffered a head injury that resulted in permanent loss of her sense of smell. A few years ago she told me that it was the nurse’s pain (not her own) that made her realise that, no matter how bad things seemed, suicide was not the answer. I’m sorry that the nurse had to suffer to bring my mother out of the fog of her own suffering but I’m glad to know that my mother will never try to take her own life again. I hope your article and this comment (which has not been easy to write) will help anyone considering suicide to think again. It makes me incredibly sad that my mother felt so unloved that she was blind to the emotional suffering that she would leave behind. If you feel this low, be brave and reach out. You might not believe me but if the people in your life really knew how you were feeling they would want to do anything they could to help. Kozo, I’m glad you and your friend were able to talk about this. You may have helped him more than you know.
    Sorry for the long comment!

    • Kozo says:

      Thank you so much for this very personal and heart-felt comment. You hit the nail right on the head when you say that your mother “felt so unloved that she was blind to the emotional suffering that she would leave behind.” These feelings cause us to lose track of others and the pain we would cause. I would love to hug the nurse who broke her leg to save your mother. She is a hero. And please don’t apologize for your long comment–you may have helped someone more than you know. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

      • SGC says:

        I wonder if the nurse even knows what she achieved? I hope so. I only found out about it a few years ago when my mother opened up to me about what she was going through in those days.
        Thank you for the Hugs. I needed them; writing that comment took quite a lot out of me. I truly hope it helps someone. Now shouldn’t you be getting some sleep?!?

      • Kozo says:

        I was just heading back to bed. Thank you so much for your love and concern. What a wonderful talk you were able to have with your mother. Again, thank you for pushing through and posting your comment. I know this can be a difficult topic for many of us, but just the hope that it can help one person makes it all worth while.{{{Hugs}}} kozo

  12. Rohan 7 Things says:

    I’ve seen the effects of suicide in my own family, and yes it sure does leave a lot of hurt behind. Of course a lot of people end their lives out of despair, believing there is no other way to end their pain and misery. But certainly ritual or “saving face” suicide does more harm than good. It’s a pity that suicide in some cultures is seen as bringing honor to themselves and their family because it also brings a lot of pain and suffering for those left behind. A very complex subject!

    I do agree that there is a romanticism to the honorable suicide, even the stories of Christ and Socrates, who willingly went to their death despite being able to escape, perpetuate this kind of fetishistic love of suffering and sacrifice.

    I love the Kurosawa films, and the other old Samurai movies like Shogun Assassin. I also watch a lot of anime where suicide and saving face is often a theme. Like many things it works great in stories and fables but the reality is much sadder and a lot less “cool” lol!

    I definitely think there is a virtue in going on until the bitter end, no matter what comes your way. Although that would ruin a lot of Samurai stories haha!

    Thanks for sharing Kozo, by the way I posted my March forgiveness post today: http://rohan7things.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/bloggers-for-peace-forgiving-our-critics-and-1-star-reviewers/

    All the best, hugs 🙂

    Rohan.

    • Kozo says:

      Rohan,
      We need to hang out. You get my “fetishistic love of suffering and sacrifice.” I love Shogun’s Assassin and Kurosawa as well. While researching this post, I watched the re-make of Hara Kiri. It is very well done with some interesting changes. I’m not sure if you have seen the Nakadai original, but if you have the time treat yourself to both.
      Here’s to going on to the “sweet” end. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

      • Rohan 7 Things says:

        I’m ashamed to say I haven’t seen the original or the remake of Harakiri! On my list though. I did enjoy Miike Takeshi’s 13 Assassins though, I though that was excellent and very different from his usual stuff.

        Love all that stuff 🙂

        Hugs back mate!

        Have a great weekend 🙂

        Rohan.

      • 1EarthUnited says:

        There is no “end”, but here’s to that sweet fragrant illusion we call life. Learn the lessons, live your life… for what else is there to do? Boys, we should definitely hang out, watch Samurai movies ̶t̶i̶l̶l̶ ̶o̶u̶r̶ ̶e̶y̶e̶s̶ ̶b̶l̶e̶e̶d̶ with a knowing smile. 😉
        Personally, I prefer Rashomon & Dreams over blood & guts, knowing it’s never only about the movie. Cheers to movie night, wherever whenever…

      • Kozo says:

        Maddy, You never cease to impress. Rashomon is amazing. I also love Kurosawa’s Dodes’kaden. Samurai movie night is on. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

      • 1EarthUnited says:

        There is no “end”, but here’s to that sweet fragrant illusion we call life. Learn the lessons, live your life… for what else is there to do? Boys, we should definitely hang out, watch Samurai movies ̶t̶i̶l̶l̶ ̶o̶u̶r̶ ̶e̶y̶e̶s̶ ̶b̶l̶e̶e̶d̶ ̶ with a knowing smile. 😉
        Personally, I prefer Rashomon & Dreams over blood & guts, knowing it’s never only about the movie. Cheers to movie night, wherever whenever…

  13. I do have those dark moments, and they do usually lead me to something insightful in the end.

    • Kozo says:

      I hope that you feel the same way that Rumi and I do, Esperanza, that the dark moments become less dark when we realize the Light that they bring in. Life is incredibly intelligent. Sometimes we just need to sit back and wonder. If you ever need a hug during a dark moment, you know where to come. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  14. Sometimes it is only through the dark night of the soul that we can find the light. Suicide I think is caused by the person perceiving a lack of love within their lives or pain they cannot get over. So many people are adrift in their lives with no one to turn to and that hurts me as a person because I know what that can feel like. It is one of the reasons that I started a counseling corner on my blog, where anyone can come and share what is on their minds.

    • Kozo says:

      I noticed the counseling corner on your blog when I first visited, Athena. That is so wonderful that you offer free counseling. I really believe that if someone who was feeling suicidal just opened up a WordPress account they would find a ton of support and love. Blogging is therapy–we all know that now. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  15. I remember one dark afternoon being around 23 years old and feeling so alone in Paris, sitting by the edge of a window sill at the top of the seventh floor of the old building where I was leaving, when I actually contemplated jumping. The thought of my friend, the building manager having to clean up the mess was what held me back first…then the thought of the pain I would inflict my family came close second. A few hours later my brother arrived outof nowhere for a totally unexpected visit (he ended up moving in with me that same evening) and I never looked back. Your post is touching a very sensitive subject and giving me lots to ponder, now that I have commented here. Thank you for being so brave and honest, Kozo Hugs to you and to your family

    • Kozo says:

      Anyes,
      Thank you for sharing this very personal, yet amazing story. Isn’t life amazing. I can’t believe that your brother arrived a few hours later. I’m so glad you never looked back. I feel the same way about my friend calling me. It seemed like the exact call I needed in the moment.
      I cherish the spirit that you are and the art you gift us with on your blog. {{{hugs}}} Kozo

  16. I was so into reading this, you painted a very precise viewpoint of your culture and traditional values and applied it to yourself and today’s age. I was left contemplative and then i read the little letter at the end to the insurance adjuster and i busted out laughing. So funny. So true. Sadly, i had to host many many insurance adjuster both for life and accidents and for the house since my mother works during business hours and they never have weekend adjusters to pay a visit and my dad isn’t competent enough to relay information to them. They do ask odd questions and come to odd conclusions.

    • Kozo says:

      Haha, Glad you got a laugh, Tasha. The whole time I was writing this, I was thinking that I would hit publish and the book shelf would come crashing down and kill me. My wife and kids would not get my life insurance because of this little post. 😦
      I recently heard that suicide is covered by life insurance after a certain waiting period, but you never know with insurance companies.
      Thanks for seeing the humor in this dark post. {{{Hugs}}}Kozo

  17. KM Huber says:

    Very moving post, Kozo, written in haunting honesty, laced with love. In my reading of Pema Chodron, I am studying the “four limitless qualities: loving-kindness, compassion, joy, and equanimity”; in practicing these qualities, one looks within first, no matter how small the quantity, each is present within. That is where one begins, with the seeds one has, and in nurturing each of the four seeds, we “become intimate with how we close down and how we open up, we awaken our unlimited potential.”

    I so admire your nurturing of the four limitless qualities, as they are always in evidence in your every post, in your thoughtful response to every comment. Yours is the warrior’s way, the warrior who is not about the taking of life but of the giving of life. You are an inspiration to us all, my friend.

    Karen

    • Kozo says:

      Karen,
      Your words brought tears to my eyes because you have read between the lines and uncovered the core intentions of this post. We are all warriors trying to nurture these four seeds. I thank you for “gardening tips” every Thursday. 🙂
      Still grateful to WANA for introducing me to you. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  18. I just about spit out my morning coffee while reading the first sentence! Thank goodness it wasn’t what I thought you meant 🙂 This is a fascinating post. I think everyone probably has the same thoughts you’ve had at one point or another. I’ve experienced the loss of friends/acquaintances by suicide, and you’re right. It leaves such a path of destruction in its wake. Such pain for the people left behind. That doesn’t mean I don’t feel pity for those who commit suicide. I just can’t fathom the depths of their pain.

    • Kozo says:

      Well-spoken, Jennifer. I, too, cannot fathom their pain, but I can fathom the pain I would cause to others if I do something rash.
      Sorry for making you spit out your coffee. 😦 I have to admit that this is the last thing someone would expect to read on my blog. I am trying to explore all the dark areas in my psyche so that I can continue to shine Light honestly for a long time. Thank you for your love and concern. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  19. […] Gurus 1 2 3 4 5 (sometimes Kozo’s writing moves me to tears, no […]

  20. Sarah says:

    Yet another beautiful post, Kozo! I appreciate the honesty behind it and your desire to turn away from such ego-fueled machismo acts, however… my favourite bit is (as ever) the funny bit about the social faux pas with the swords. I would TOTALLY do something like that. Loved every bit! Hugs to you, my BBF. xoxo

    • Kozo says:

      Must be a Fremont thing, Sarah. 🙂 The little boy who I told this to looked at me with the most confused look. Some of the parents were not too pleased. My cousin was laughing, but he already knows how flexible my boundaries are. Glad you would have been laughing with me. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  21. My own dark thoughts introduced me to my best friend & my life’s work/purpose in life. (To be a writer specializing in the horror genre. More specifically, psychological-horror.)
    My best friend, who at that time was a stranger, steered me off the path of darkness and “into the light” you could say. They sensed my pain and found a way to remove the overwhelming sadness from my life. This person remains my closest friend to this day & we share an almost telepathic bond because of it.

    Amazing, amazing, post. & You wanna hear my empathic read on you? (Well, you better because I’m gonna tell you anyway!) I think you’ve always had a great deal of empathy inside you. Your only downfall is you try to supress it.
    P.S. I’m filled with nerdish joy on your knowledge of the daimyos and such. Ancient Japanese culture has always been a favorite reading, viewing, and video gaming experience of mine. It’s cool to find someone that actually knows their sh*t and doesn’t just yapp about it to sound “mystifying and intruiging”.

    • Kozo says:

      DDiW,
      I am so glad to have BBFs like you. Whenever I feel insecure about a post, your comments always make me feel better. I love your empathic assessment of me. You are right on target. I think I was really empathic as a kid. Both my older brother and I were empathic, but it got beaten out of us through corporal punishment. I spent years learning to control my anger and forgive. Now I am working on uncovering that empathy. Thank you for your wisdom, empathy, and friendship.
      Yeah, I was a bushido nerd before it was cool. I have the first edition of Lone Wolf and Cub and a lot of samurai mongs on my clothes, blankets, and walls. Maybe we can get together one day and throw some shurikens. haha.
      {{{hugs]}} kozo

      • P.P.S. That picture of your son is SO adorable! I just wanna squeeze him! Although, I can tell he has a lil’ @$! kicker in him so I better watch out. 😛
        & You just made my day. It’s so dark & gloomy over here on the east coast & yet you managed to make me crack a smile.
        *hugs*

  22. The Hook says:

    Enlightening post, my friend.
    Thank you.

  23. You hit on a pretty interesting topic today my friend. I just had time to read this. There are dark times in everyone’s life and if a person says they never thought about suicide, even in the most distant and unrealistic manner, are most likely not telling the truth. I hope someone thinking about suicide would take a step back and realize that no matter how dark it may be now, it will get better. I also liked the letter to the claims adjuster, nice touch. You are doing a great job raising awareness the pain in the world. You are the man Kozo, I am certainly glad you are around to write and share ideas with. Thanks again for writing such an interesting post.

    • Kozo says:

      Thank you, Jonathan, for being an empathetic male friend. I feel so much more courageous knowing that I have like-minded, open-minded, and loving friends like you to give me honest feedback. You actually remind me of the friend who called me. He has the same athletic build as you–was a stud at soccer back in the day. We chose different paths, but we are still very close. Maybe we can get together at a beach someday and just kick it. {{{Hugs]}} Kozo

  24. diannegray says:

    I have a different view of suicide and see it as a selfish act for all the reasons you’ve said here, Kozo. The person is dead and the family is left to ‘clean up the mess’. If I’m sounding harsh it’s only because one of my son’s teachers hung himself in the school playground one day and it had a shocking effect on all the children (including my son). I was angry about it for a long time and thought, ‘okay if you want kill yourself, do so, but there’s no need to do it in front of the children.” Obviously the man had a mental disorder and was unaware of his actions and the consequences, so forgiveness has come…

    I had a bit of a giggle when I read about the small sword and the reactions of other parents! Oh dear! 😀

    You are wonderful, Kozo, and are doing brilliant things with B4Peace. I’ve just read Rohan’s post for peace and was blown away by his amazing attitude to a personal attack regarding a reviewer of his book. The word is certainly spreading. Keep up the great work, my friend {{{hugs}}} 😀

    • Kozo says:

      Wow, Dianne, that is a shocking story. One of my college friend’s father hung himself in the garage and my friend found him. It haunts him to this day. I can’t imagine how a whole school of children would be affected.
      I’m glad you found the comment at the party funny. I was thinking that maybe I have such an odd sense of humor is because I spent so much time with Aussies when I was younger. We would just laugh our asses off at everything. In fact I remember a time when we stumbled out of a pub near the Sydney Harbor and there were a group of Japanese businessmen. I ran up to them in the middle of the street and bowed. My Aussie friends grabbed me and pulled me away while we were all busting up. I do miss Australia/Aussies. Maybe that is why I have such a big blog crush on you and your blog. Whatever the reason, I am honored to have you as my BBF {{{Hugs}}} Kozo
      p.s.
      Yeah, I just read Rohan’s post as well. Brilliant. I love reading a post like Rohan’s everyday. I really think it is making me a better person, so I hope that it ripples out to the rest of the world.

  25. Melanie says:

    Fortunately I have read enough world literature that I would have understood your explanation of the long and short swords, but I still would have raised an eyebrow. You’ve reminded me to think today. Now I am wondering…though technically seppuku is suicide, I don’t think, from my studies and current understanding, that it carried the weight of destruction that suicide today does. During the height of the samurai movement, not completing the act would have brought destruction and consequences. Yes? I have no doubt that the family left behind didn’t feel the loss and sadness, but I wonder if it didn’t bring more relief. Wasn’t it more about returning the lost honor to the family than about ending life? I’m not questioning your explanation, I’m trying to better understand the concept.

    • Kozo says:

      You got it right, Melanie. In samurai times, bushido (samurai code of conduct) came before anything. To save face was paramount. I grew up thinking this. Problem is that we are not in samurai times anymore.I was thinking through an ancient MALE code to try to make sense of my life in America.
      One of my favorite samurai movies is called Hara Kiri. There is a re-make on Amazon Prime for free. It really critiques this view of bushido and “honor.” Give it a look if you have the time. Thank you for your very wise comment. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

      • Melanie says:

        That ancient code is leftover from your more patriarchal times. It makes sense there. It doesn’t where you are now and where you are heading. I’m glad you see that. Truly. Suicide now is much different. There is no peace in it. Not even for the commiter. They have lost out on the chance to see that life does get better.

  26. Hiya Kozo, to add to your daily happiness, I nominated you for a Liebster award! But also cause your blogs really cool (;

    http://thebutterflyhatch.wordpress.com/2013/03/07/ca-ca-ca-ca-cater-me/

  27. I think it’s impossible for the modern mind to come to grips with the idea of seppuku. I also think it is a prime example of how an ideology can be born and nurtured within a class of people.

    Whoa! Shuttin’ up now. 😉

    • Kozo says:

      I completely agree. My ideas of seppuku were nothing but schoolboy dreams. I know, I must have been some weird schoolboy to dream of seppuku. I would argue that those ideologies still affect other classes and generations. Japan has one of the highest suicide rates for first-world nations. Thanks for the insight, Tim. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  28. Wow Kozo what a powerful piece!

    Can I just add to your other thoughtful and thought provoking comments that you are most courageous to have approached this in the way you did?

    In my world suicide has been experienced a s a selfish act of someone whose pain could no longer be tolerated.

    The sad fact is that for those left behind with no answers to questions which will never be revealed also leaves behind enormous guilt for the survivors.
    I am afraid I do not find this courageous at all.

    That I say this does not mean I sit in judgment.I do not pretend to know even a family members own heart & soul’s history which creates their beliefs and thoughts, I only know that I forgive him.

    Thank you Kozo for this, It has been awhile since I have been mindful of the pain some of our brothers and sisters are in.

    • Kozo says:

      Thank you for this very wise comment, BB. Maybe those souls are hear to teach us forgiveness. “I do not pretend to know even a family members own heart & soul’s history which creates their beliefs and thoughts, I only know that I forgive him.” Imagine how much forgiveness this act of suicide created or encouraged/prodded.
      I don’t claim to know the pain that would cause anyone to commit suicide. I just know that my ponderings lead me to the mission of “love all/serve all.” Maybe by loving and serving all we can prevent others from feeling desperate or lonely enough to kill themselves. Still working things out. Thanks for walking with me on this path, BB. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

      • Happy Sunday to you Kozo where ever your day takes you!
        As I sit here listening to music I keep thinking about forgiveness,

        I believe that the act of forgiving and the emotional connecting to this are both more empowering than some realize,

        We need the element of forgiveness so that we understand what it is to be humble, It teaches me about my self and the world around me.
        I so love that!

        So my dear friend and brother Kozo, Below please find link to The very Inspiring Blogger Award because you are always an inspiring person who lifts my world when you and I connect here at WordPress.
        Please accept this award in link below with fondness – what ever fashion suits you. Link below to award ~
        http://barefootbaroness.org/2013/03/09/my-gracious

        Congrats filled with hugs, Kozo!

  29. Lada Ray says:

    Hi Kozo, I linked up to you and posted Bloggers for Peace badge on my new post about March 8th, the International Women’s Day. http://ladaray.wordpress.com/2013/03/08/march-8-happy-international-womens-day/

    Peace and life! 🙂

  30. Sunshine says:

    one can read about suicide victims from real life to fiction stories or see videos/movies on it, but the naked reality is, if someone does not actually have first hand feelings or is in touch with someone with such deep pain, it really is hard to comprehend. truly comprehend, i mean. after i read this, i thought, yes, direct suicide is very selfish but so is indirect suicide…meaning, addictions to substances that harm our bodies over time. i am just going to say this directly, i rather have someone kill themselves quickly then spend most of their life slowly killing themselves in front of their loved ones. thank the Universe, you found enlightenment but some family members/friends never get it. no matter how anyone tries to help they rather torture themselves and others by the slow kill method. okay. that’s all for dark tales.
    ♥ well done post. ♥

    • Kozo says:

      So true, Sunshine. Some choose to jump straight into the darkness, while others slowly creep into a dark corner. Our duty is to spread light, but I don’t have to tell you that, Sunshine. 🙂
      {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  31. Lady Lovely says:

    Thank you for sharing this. If anything, at least now people have opened thier eyes to the subject of many ideals and traditions, and suicide itself.

  32. […] winner of the 1st ever Community Maker award goes to Kozo over at Every day Gurus for all of his fantastic blogging community efforts for […]

  33. seeker says:

    Ritual suicide, suicide bombers, euthanasia; these are complex topic. There is no peace. Peace comes when the people left behind learned how to forgive. Or most importantly, the person who survived learned to live, forgive and be at peace.

  34. kartikasays says:

    This is a fascinating subject and everyone asks themselves questions about it – we all have times when we consider it or when someone we know is thinking about it or has actually killed themselves. I think what you say about the pain it causes others is important because we really cannot comprehend the extent of suffering we are causing others by committing suicide. The effects can leave scars that exist for generations. I understand how people who are suffering and mentally pushed to beyond their limits are driven to suicide, but I hope I never would go there.
    The saints say that to have a human body is a gift because it is a vehicle for spiritual growth – even though we cannot understand how precious it is to be human, I believe that it is true. Life is so difficult for so many that I have the greatest compassion for people who give up. The best we can do is love others and ourselves and work to create a world where people can thrive and grow and find joy in life. Then we will no longer see so many people who suffer and resort to suicide.

    • Kozo says:

      I agree with you and the saints, Kartika. Being human is a gift. We are here for spiritual growth. The pain and suffering is part of the growth process. I love your idea to have the greatest compassion for others, especially those who give up. i’m reminding myself to love others and myself today. Thank you. {{{Hugs}}} Kozo

  35. […] Can Ritual Suicide Bring Peace? (everydaygurus.com) […]

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