3 Srubas-Giammanco Ellis
Walking home at night, the day after a heavy snowfall.
A gust blows snow from the trees
Like yesterday’s snowfall.
The class discussion this week was centered on the Buddhist notion of life as suffering, and the roots of what we consider “failure.” Chomei reminds us that “Buddha taught we must not be attached,” (Hojoki 76) which is where lifelong suffering seems to derive from. In resisting evanescent, uncontrollable change in our lives, we attempt to impost stability and permanence onto our own identities and perceptions of the world that will never fully and lastingly satisfactory. Embracing the notion of change with positivity is what breaks us out of the cycle of samsara. (Inouye Lecture) We must be able to grasp what Buddhists see as our “floating world.” As professor Inouye has verbalized the use of this term, “to seek security and permanence by attaching ourselves to that which is unpleasant and floating is to be deluded.” (Inouye 40) This principle resonates with me quite a bit, and is reminiscent of the phrase “one day at a time,” commonly associated with the Alcoholics Anonymous program that upholds living in the present moment is a mindset most conducive to achieving sobriety. There is a history of addiction in my family, and so it was interesting to see similar sentiments as this echoed in the texts for this week, especially in the emotional responses Chomei has to the horrors he witnesses while in Kyoto. Substance abuse or “checking out” as we referred to it in class, is a disease incurred when one attempts to cope with a changing and uncontrollable reality, and the healing process involves a realization that one must accept change and accept what they themselves cannot change.