By Kamo no Chomei, Michael Hofmann

Japan's capital urban of Kyoto used to be devastated through earthquake, typhoon, and fireplace within the overdue twelfth century. taking flight from "this unkind world," the poet and Buddhist priest Kamo-no-Chomei left the capital for the forested mountains, the place he finally developed his well-known "ten-foot-square" hut. From this solitary vantage element Chomei produced Hojoki, a unprecedented literary paintings that describes all he has visible of human distress and his new lifetime of basic chores, walks, and acts of kindness. but on the finish he questions his personal sanity and the integrity of his goal. Has he possibly grown too hooked up to his detachment?

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Additional resources for Hojoki: Visions of a Torn World

Example text

It was said the value of this wood was not enough to live on for one day. Then, I was baffled finding kindling painted red, and catching glimpses of gold leaf. I inquired and found someone had been reduced to breaking into temples, and stealing images of Buddha, tearing out the fittings of the halls and chopping them to bits. Sinful times! That I should witness such a dreadful thing! But then so many other sights to break the heart. Loving couples— the one whose love was deeper always died first.

These hills were also known as Toyama. [20]Amida is the Japanese name for the Tathagata Amitabha, associated with the popular belief that chanting his name leads one to be received in the Western Paradise. The Pure Land faith holds that Amida takes the newly dead to Paradise borne on a purple cloud. Fugen is the Japanese name for Samantabhadra, one of the bodhisattvas often depicted with Shakamuni guarding him at his side, the other being Monju (Manjushiri), the bodhisattva of wisdom and intellect.

Where to find a place to rest a while? And how bring even short-lived peace to our hearts? As for me, I came into property[16] from my father’s mother. I lived there a long while but then came death, my family split[17] and I came down in the world. Memories were warm but I could not stay and after thirty, by myself, I built a house one-tenth the size of my former home. I built a simple living space, but had no means to build what most would think a proper house. I put up outer walls but could not afford a gate.

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