I went outside after the snow fell in the morning to find a dead bird on my porch and then looked up to see the sun rising over my neighborhood.
A fallen bird—
Snow-covered feathers glimmer
as the sun rises
This week’s lecture focused on the idea of success. I feel however, a lot of this has to do with the idea of balance and letting go. We traced back to themes of evanescence and impermanence in our successes and failures. Professor Inouye said distinctly that the idea of success and failure is impermanent, saying that “[we] may be doing well today, but failure will strike tomorrow” (Lecture 2/6). This hit home for me as I have lived my life striving for success, and the idea that I will always be faced with failure was incredibly discerning for me. Given the ideas of impermanence and evanescence that we have expressed so far, I feel as this idea makes sense under the context of Japanese culture. We cannot control the outcome of events in our life, so the idea of success and failure is impermanent. In our reading, The Tale of Heike, the author opens his narrative by equating temporary success to a “dream,” saying that the “prosperous must decline” and, “the proud do not endure” (Heike 1). This message correlates strongly with our burning house example we did in class. Professor Inouye talked, and rapped about how people may become disillusioned by their present success. If they don’t realize their complacency, they may never escape it. Inouye goes on to say in his text that, “[i]n this floating world of illusion and misguided attachments, our moments of victory and accomplishment are like a dream. We ourselves are like dust in the wind” (Inouye 47). Becoming attached to our successes and our failures only brings us suffering, and that by understanding that each of these occurrences is transient we can attain spiritual peace. I think the best summation of this is what Professor Inouye said at the end of class that, “we should not strive to be at +1 or -1, but at zero” (Lecture 2/6). This kind of thinking is completely foreign to me. I’ve always tried to be at a “+1” but maybe if I started to look at life this, I wouldn’t experience so many “-1s” all the time.