Reflection by Ge Cui

It was 5:30 p.m. when I sat in Haskell’s common room and saw the reflection of myself on the window covered with cars outside on Packard Avenue.


Look into a window.

The darker the outside,

the clearer I see myself.

In this week’s class, we spent a lot of time talking about the burning house. Why do people build house for themselves? I believe the original usage of house is functioning as a shelter, a place for people to stay, like a cave. But today, a house means much more than that. House is our property, is the representative of oneself, is a proof of one’s existence. It’s just really hard to imagine a person who does not have a home address. House can be permanent but people cannot (Lecture 3). Maybe we are just building the houses to make ourselves more “permanent”. In another word, we are all aiming at something “impossible”. We all have desire and ambition, which trapping us on things around us, keeping us focusing on the “self”. We want success, but we forget that nothing’s permanent. What goes up, must come down (Lecture 3). So we fall. Like Taira no Kiyomori, the higher we climbed at first, the harder we’d drop ourselves on the ground later. Having a common heart is the best thing we can do about that. For those people who cannot control themselves from “climbing up”, Shukke (Lecture 3) is the best choice for them to realize “Anatman” in Buddhism. Like Kamo-no-Chomei said in Hojoki: “I built a simple living space, but had no means to build what most would think a proper house.” (P59) “Being a zero”, we should see the house as one of the many in the floating world.

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