2 Luna-Smith Wesley

I was sitting in my kitchen feeling upset about the cold weather when I found solace in an unlikely place.
A group of cacti,
Sheltered in my home.
My green escape from winter.



While reading Lady Sarashina’s writings, I found myself struggling to understand her Buddhist beliefs in comparison with the beliefs outlined in the Nara Buddhism reading. Often times, it seems like Lady Sarashina is most spiritual as a punishment to herself. For example, it seemed rather extreme for her to leave for a pilgrimage to Hase Temple on the day of the Great Festival (Morris 90). However, as she is leaving the Capitol, a man comments, “Those devout folk setting off on their pilgrimage are sure to receive Buddha’s favour” (Morris 92). This is one example of many in which Lady Sarashina seems to be seeking the “favour” of Buddha. When considering the central belief of Buddhism as a “need to free ourselves from a reliance on external things in our attempt to reach ultimate reality” (Bary, Keene & Tsunoda 94), I feel like it’s hard to imagine what benefits would be associated with being in the Buddha’s “favour.” When Lady Sarashina says, “If only I had not given myself over to Tales and poems since my young days but had spent my time in religious devotions, I should have been spared this misery” (Morris 106), I can’t decide if she feels like she is being punished for her lack of faith, or if she is interpreting this suffering as her own lack of religious piety.


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