On my way to Dewick, looking up at a tree.
The snow melts –
Drips from the leaves
Forming a puddle.
The focus of this week’s lecture was on suffering and failure. We discussed a very interesting question in class – If life in this world is so terrible and full of suffering, what’s stopping us from just leaving it, or undergoing the process of shukke? Why don’t we, like Chomei, just escape; “Therefore, in my fiftieth spring I retired from the world.” (Hojoki, 60). The answer to this question comes once again from the idea evanescence, and embracing this notion of constant change in a positive way. We talked about the Buddhist concept of a floating world in class. “To seek security and permanence by attaching ourselves to that which is unpleasant and floating is to be deluded” (Inouye, 40). Also arising from evanescence is the idea that both failure and success are inevitable. In an ever-changing world, neither a state of failure nor success can be permanent; one will inevitably follow the other. Associated with this is the Buddhist idea of karma. In The Tale of the Heike, Kiyomori was subjected to intense suffering because of his arrogance. This idea is perfectly expressed in the following quote: “The sound of the Gion Shōja bells echoes the impermanence of all things; the color of the sāla flowers reveals the truth that the prosperous must decline. The proud do not endure, they are like a dream on a spring night; the mighty fall at last, they are as dust before the wind” (Heike, chapter 1).