Going with the Flow

The night after the blizzard, a friend opened his window wide—in silence we stared out, listening to the soundlessness of the usually busy Boston Ave.

The cicada-shell world

Frozen still with snow

Soon to melt

Sitting in the dark room, singing soprano (alto?) beside my fellow classmates, and having my professor rap about the unavoidable failure of life was both hysterical and enlightening.   The concept of the ever-changing world was once again really driven home, literally.  I’ve never fully realized how houses are a manifestation of our yearning for permanence (Lecture 2/6).   It makes sense then, like everything else in this world, that they “will not outlive the day” (Chomei 33).  Further, accepting evanescence is accepting that bad things will happen—success will be followed by failure.  It then does not make sense to then question why it happened, or internalize it too much (Inouye 50).  On the bright side, it’s nice knowing that neither success nor failure prevails! The Buddhist reality of relieving dunka by accepting anitya really resonates for me here.  We cannot be unhappy if we know that the world is constantly shifting, our failure will soon be followed by success, and that even though pain is inevitable, it cannot lasts forever.  We should live our lives similar to Japanese skyscrapers; using flexibility to withstand the world’s surprises (Lecture 2/6)—“nothing gives the mind stability like an awareness of the world’s radical instability” (Inouye 50).

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

One Response to Going with the Flow

  1. Avatar of Kaveh  Veyssi Kaveh Veyssi says:


    First off, I love your poem. Specifically I like the way you used the idea of the cicada shell and evanescence and paralleled it to the “frozen snow” that is “soon to melt.” I also wrote about the relief I felt when we talked about how success proceeds failure and vice versa. It seems like you have a good grip on the most important ideas of the class so far. I like your comparison to the Japanese skyscrapers, which is what we should be if we want to survive in this world.


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