I was walking toward the Memorial Steps on my way to class one morning after it had snowed while puddles were newly forming on the black street.
Puddles reflecting images
Of students hurrying to class.
This week in class, we started discussing Buddhism, which is a religion mostly understood on a visual level (Lecture 2). One of the fundamental notions of Buddhism is “Anitya,” meaning nothing is permanent (Lecture 2). Ok, so this idea is nothing too complex to understand after we spent the first week of class talking about evanescence. In As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams, Lady Sarashina writes, “As I long for her cherry trees to bloom and grieve when her blossoms start to fall,” which illustrates the lack of permanence in this world, but goes back to what we learned last week in that everything is changing in the same way (p. 49). Lady Sarashina seems to take a passive role in her life, living in a dream-like state. At first this seemed to me like she was just giving up and being lazy by not wanting to take an active role in her own life. However, I now think that her dreams were not an escape from reality as much as they were a response or even parallel to reality (Inouye 30). Dreams do not last, sometimes they are promising and other times disappointing, just like the world in which we live (Inouye 30). The second Buddhist notion is that life is suffering (Lecture 2). I believe Anitya causes this suffering because people tend to suffer due to their failure to accept that nothing is permanent. The final Buddhist notion of “Anatman” means there is no such thing as self. Everyone and everything in this world depends on each other (Lecture 2). Everyone is constantly changing; people come into this world and leave it every day. Lady Sarashina writes of someone deceased, “Though now I dwell among the clouds, that Heavenly Door seems far away, and like the moon I fondly think upon the vanished past,” (p. 81). The world will still go on after you die, and who you “were” is irrelevant because the world is constantly changing.