I was walking past West Hall when the birds seemed to be chirping louder than usual.
Under a winter sky
Of last spring
This week we discussed the overlap of traditional Japanese animistic beliefs and the introduction of Buddhism into Japanese culture. We focused on the three fundamental Buddhist notions including anitya (impermanence), dukha (suffering), and anatam (no self) (Inouye, 31). As Buddhism entered Japan it was able to combine with the Japanese notions of a world constantly changing as well as bring the Shinto non-symbolism, the relationships between all things, and the continuous cycle of life. This close relationship with immediate surroundings is reflected in the lyrical imagery of the Japanese poetic tradition (Inouye, 34). In Lady Sarashina’s book, As I Crossed a Bridge of Dreams, the two concepts of hakanasa and the Buddhist notion mujo are reflected in her narrative style. Hakanasa comes from the word, hakanai, which means the inability to make progress (Inouye 26). Mujo equates to “inconstant or transient life.” Whether it is in work or in love, this notion at first seemed a little upsetting at first, because as Inouye writes, “Evanescence teaches that nothing lasts. And yet the heart wants otherwise” (Inouye, 28). Lady Sarashina’s responses to this are captured in her dream poems, which is a proper response to evanescence, because “by pursing dreams, we are create reality” (Inouye, 30). I think I am beginning to understand evanescence and the idea of an ever-changing reality because I am not scared by it’s notions anymore. To me it is the understanding of the truth that nothing lasts, but the fact that things are able to be in that moment is the beauty of life.