Author Archives: Min Zhong

The Burning House – Min Zhong

Min Zhong
Assignment 3

After a two days snow, children and students were having fun by sliding down at the President Lawn.

At the President Lawn,
Children’s laughter,
Spread through the whole Tufts Community



In Hojoki Visions of a Torn World, the ideas of evanescence and form came to me through Kamo_no_Chomei’s description of unexpected natural disaster. As “the flowing river never strops and yet the water never stays the same,” life never stays constant (Kamo 31). With an expected fire, large houses, communities and everything people have contributed their whole lives to, turn to ash in one night. These sudden, unexpected and dramatic changes are overwhelming. People hurt because they care. Their desire of holding on happiness and victory conflicts with the nature of evanescence and their inability to control anything.

If you live among crowds you cannot flee when fire breaks out.
If you wish to live far from others, traveling is hard and there is danger of
thieves (55).

Everything comes with a downside. Is it possible to search some inner peace? Kamo_no_Chomeri offers a solution- detach from the material world. By living in a small hut, Kamo tries to be free from anxiety that caused by the desire of power and wealth in the material world. In his philosophy, happiness contributes to sorrow. Having a simple life keeps him from being too happy and therefore from being too sad. However, no one can completely detach from the world. Kamo is attached to his surrounding as he comes to love his “ten-foot-square” hut (Kamo 76). In my opinion, a complete detachment from the outside world is unrealistic and unnecessary. To search inner peace, we need to understand and accept the fact that things change all the time in a consistent way. There is no forever success and there is also no forever failure. Happiness comes with sadness and Joy always comes after sorrow. A positive attitude towards lost and failure will bring inner peach to our hearts.

Posted in Week 3: Failure, Success, and Leaving the World | Leave a comment


By Min Zhong
On a starless winter night, I was on my way to Sophia Golden Hall.

On a quiet winter night,
A half moon,
Lit up a starless sky

In this week’s class, I have a new understanding of evanesces and forms with respect to time and space. In the literature of “As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams”, dream and life are interchangeable. While dream is “a metaphor for the illusory nature of human experience” (12), dream is a break from reality. This interchangeability reflects a passive living experience. As dream, life is uncontrollable. People leave and die and all happy moment can be gone at any moment. In page 106, Lady Sarashina describes her husband’s death as “he fades away like a dream”. Through the change in time, space and physical existences, feelings and memories are the only things that left behind. As everything is evanescent, sadness can be sensed from beauty and beauty can be enhanced through sorrow. As described in page 49, cherry blossoms cheers Lady Sarashina up, but the anticipation of their falling makes her grieved. Due to their nature of evanescence, beautiful things and wonderful moment become much more memorable.

Posted in Week 2: From Hakanasa to Mujo | 1 Comment

Japanese Waka

Name: Min Zhong

On my way home, snow fell on my palm and vanished.

Blue clear night,
White crystal snow,
Vanished without a trace

In the first week of class, professor Inouye showed us a haiku example written by a former student.

A towering tree –
Lover’s names
Now illegible

This Haiku only has three lines of five or seven syllables, but it secretly grasped my feelings. Through these simple words, I could experience the moment that the author tried to create. I felt slightly sad and this sadness was subtle, personal and indescribable. I wondered how these simple words create resonance with readers. Human being and nature are naturally connected. The feelings that images associated with are universally consistent. Cherry blossoms represent spring and snow is for winter. We “understand” the author “because we visualize the moment of the poem’s creation” (Evanescence and Form). Building a connection with the nature might be a first step to understand Japanese Waka and its culture.

Posted in Week 1: Shell of the Cicada | Leave a comment