Sunday, July 12, 2009

Grasses of Idleness #25

from the Buddhist priest, Kenko:"The world is as unstable as the pools and shallows of Asuka River. Times change and things disappear: joy and sorrow come and go; a place that once thrived turns into uninhabited moor; a house may remain unaltered, but its occupants will have changed. The peach and the damson trees in the garden say nothing - with whom is one to reminisce about the past? I feel this sense of impermanence even more sharply when I see the remains of a house which long ago, before I knew it, must have been imposing."

A note on Kenko: Yoshida Kenko is a priest of the Zen sect. He wrote Grasses of Idleness (AKA Essays of Idleness) from 1330-1332, during the very end of the Kamakura shogunate under the Hojo Regents, marking the transition from a patrician to a feudal culture (according to George Sansom's Japan: A Short Cultural History). He will, for an undetermined space of time, serve as Liverputty's man outside of the court intrigue of Kyoto.

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