I was sitting in Tisch this afternoon, looking out the window.
Drops of water
One of the main points discussed last class was the three main Buddhist notions: Anitya, Dukha and Anatman. The second and third notions are all derived from the first, which says that nothing is constant. This common theme of evanescence, or the view that world is in a constant state of change, was brought forward from last week. Dukha, or suffering, arises from our desire for things that are unattainable. Anatman, or the idea that there is no such thing as self also originates from Anitya. The notion of identity requires some aspect of permanence and Anitya states that this does not exist in this world. The self too is constantly changing, and therefore there is no one permanent definition of who you are. This idea is demonstrated by the Japanese tradition of changing your name as you enter adulthood, which signifies that you have outgrown your identity and that human beings are not static. Diaries from the Heian period focus on a narrower aspect of evanescence: yo no naka, or human relationships. They emphasize the fleeting nature of these relationships, and also talk about koi, or longing for something that can’t be fulfilled. This relates to the Buddhist notion of Dukha. Going back to a point discussed last week, on the significance of nature in Japanese culture, the narrator stresses on the importance of nature on happiness; “Thus he lamented day and night, making me so unhappy that I could no longer even notice the beauty of the flowers and leaves” (Bridge of Dreams, 65).