From Hakanasa to Mujo – Michael Charewycz

This past weekend I visited my girlfriend in New York City, and on the way back in the evening I noticed the reflections of passing towns and cars and lights through and on the large window I sat next to.

 

Gliding over glass

Fireflies in night

Lives wandering on

 

This past week we discussed the transition from traditional animistic beliefs to Buddhism within the scope of Japanese culture, with special focus on the concepts of anitya, dukha, and anatman, which translate to impermanence, suffering, and lack of self respectively (Inouye 31). We framed these values within a cultural context by examining works including As I Crossed the Bridge of Dreams and the Nara Buddhism reading. Through this we realized anitya as the connecting principle between dukha and anatman central to Japanese Buddhism. For there can be no sense of self, anatman, when all is changing both within and externally; this lack of self and control over one’s surroundings leads to a sort of existential suffering, dukha (Lecture 1/30). I find these concepts easy to relate to, as I identify as a stoic. Having recognized myself as unimportant with the vast scope of an ever changing reality contrasted against any sense of self, and being largely out of control of my surroundings, I try and control and shape myself in response to the universe, thus trying to achieve contentment.

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