Vanishing Act by Kaveh Veyssi

I was walking home from rehearsal late on Wednesday night when I saw some street lamps illuminate the snow that was falling around them.

Falling snow,

Illuminated by street lamps,

Drifts into darkness.

During the past week, what has fascinated me the most is the rise of the samurai, who originated as the sons of people in the Heian court (Lecture, 2/4).  From this came our discussion of Kamo no Chomei, who practiced shukke, which we defined as leaving the world (literally, leaving the house) (Lecture, 2/6).  Shukke is a way to rid ourselves of the struggle that comes with success and failure in life.  Chomei says it best himself, “I struggled on for thirty years / in this unkind world…Therefore, / in my fiftieth spring / I retired from the world” (Chomei, 60).  Though failure can be the reason for much of this struggle, “if it is the case that failure follows success, then the converse of this statement must also be true.  Success follows failure.  You cannot have one without the other” (Inouye, 50).  This is the answer to the question that many of us were thinking: Why go through life if it’s going to be full of failure after success?  Chomei’s contemplations in his book are wonderful because they occasionally contradict themselves, for example, “Buddha taught / we must not be / attached. / Yet the way I love this hut / is itself attachment.  / To be attached / to the quiet and serene / must likewise be a burden (Chomei, 76).  This contradiction is in large part the beauty of his writing and of the ideology that inspired it.

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

One Response to Vanishing Act by Kaveh Veyssi

  1. Avatar of ksoni02 ksoni02 says:

    I really like the observation you make about Chomei’s contradictory style of writing. To me the contradiction illustrates the conflicting human psyche. Realizing this makes the writing almost more genuine for me. I liked your poem as well, I could very easily capture the imagery in your poem just by reading it once, and can relate to the feelings and mood of the scene as I have experienced that very recently.

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