Walking along the Capen St. parking lot when it was snowing; saw footsteps etched in the snow that went in almost every direction.
Snow falling –
On the blanketed path,
Footsteps of unnamed travelers.
This week’s lectures talked a great deal about some Buddhist notions, like the lack of a ‘self’, as well as the world of dreams, two topics which really interest me. I feel as if the character in “As I crossed a Bridge of Dreams” is having experiences that show the reader she is not limited to her “self”, or “body”. By dreaming that she at a shrine, she experiences the pilgrimage she longs to make; her mother decries this idea as being “ terrifying…very dangerous” (As I crossed a bridge of Dreams, 69). I particularly enjoy the “difficult[y] to choose between a dreamlike reality and a dream” (Inouye, 29). This idea that reality may be a dream, or that a dream is another reality, is very provocative, and evokes a sense of adventure. Its as if there are parallel/other realities to explore apart from the one we take for granted. Further, the idea of “we want that which does not exist” (Inouye, 32) as being the source of suffering, is extremely relevant to those who perceive “success” as obtaining financial assets, as having a fake sense of permanence. Taking for granted what we do have “reject what we do know” (Inouye, 32) to run after what we think we need “purse what we do not (and cannot) [have]” (Inouye, 32) is a chief cause of modern ills, like the damage we are inflicting on our surroundings. Regardless of Buddhist messages, it seems Buddhism’s most profound impact on Japan was tying it to the culturally to the continent, with monks serving as “carriers of superior Chinese culture” (Tsunoda, Theodore de Bary, Keene, 92).
Carlos Eduardo Hespanha Madeira