Detachment

Alma Rominger

 

Having a long and hard day at work, on top of a week full of frustrations, emotions piled up and exploded as I left to walk home on Friday evening as the blizzard started; while I was feeling miserable, it felt so relieving to let it all out.

 

A winter’s storm.

Wind howling, snow whipping.

Tears’ warmth.

I feel that the main topic of this week’s readings and lectures has been detachment. The Buddhist believes that suffering is caused by our attachment and dependence to things that will inevitably disintegrate, leaving us unfulfilled (Inyoue 1/28). And so, to find peace, one must consciously renounce his attachments. The poet, Chomei, realizes this truth and implores his readers to not cling to the world of things, of houses, and social roles and obligations. He recounts all of the catastrophes that leave these things not only destroyed and useless, but as sources of unhappiness. Since “reality depends upon your mind alone”, material and social “possessions” are superfluous in attaining true happiness (Chomei p.75). Once again the theme of detachment is paramount in that the Japanese have long valued the truth that success does not last. This is emphasized in the Taira’s rise to and fall out of power as “the prosperous must decline[,] and the proud do not endure…” [Tale of Heike p.1]. Equally as true is that failure, too, does not last [Inyoue 2/4]. Thus, it is silly to immerse ourselves in our successes and failures. Instead, we must take a detached perspective; to enjoy our successes and mourn our failures but not define ourselves by them.

 

This entry was posted in Week 3: Failure, Success, and Leaving the World. Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to Detachment

  1. I really liked how you summarized the end of your post, how we should not define ourselves by success or failure; I feel like that is the norm nowadays…I find it impressive how Chomei’s message is still very much relevant to modern society, and yet few pay heed to it. The temptation to drop everything and go live in a temple seems very real at times.

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