Late on Thursday night I was hurrying back from the SMFA shuttle after class and it was unbelievably cold and windy. On my street everything was blowing wildly and the light from the streetlamps was very foreboding in general.
Though not yet frozen
The night chills my bones
And shadows churn on Teele Avenue
This week’s continuation of evanescence and form brought in more elements of Buddhism and the absence of self. We read that certain aspects of Buddhism naturally stuck well with early Japanese people, such as the ideals laid forth in the Vimalakirti sutra (Nara Buddhism 99). Three important Buddhist notions stood out: anitya, the notion of impermanence; anatman, lack of self; and duhka, suffering (Inouye 31). The importance of nonsymbolic readings of symbols came up several times again, which I think I understand but have a feeling will be difficult to enforce because searching for symbolism is so ingrained in most other areas of study. I also thought it was interesting to talk about how religion or spirituality is manifested and recognized in Japan, with most people not necessarily identifying themselves as religious even though they follow many religion-based practices (Lecture 1/28). I’m still thinking about the overlap of religion and tradition and whether or not those are necessarily different things. We also talked about where dreaming fits in, with a lot of connections to Lady Sarashina, a constant dreamer and romantic (Lecture 1/30). I’m not sure how I feel about living life in a dream state and whether or not that can be seen as passivity. On one hand it sounds appealing in an enlightened (or escapist) sense but it also seems like a somewhat sad way to go through life.