Preternatural Delusions

duminică, august 29, 2004

Înţelepciune japoneză

Un citat excelent din Tsurezuregusa, cartea scrisă de Yoshida Kenko pe la 1330-1332:
If, for example, a certain man invents falsehoods and spreads them with the intent of deceit, some people will innocently suppose that he speaks the truth and be hoodwinked by his words; others will be so deeply convinced that they will think up an annoying variety of lies to add to the original one. Still others, unimpressed by the lie, will pay it no attention. Yet others will be rather suspicious and ponder over the story, neither believing nor disbelieving. Others, though they find the lie improbable, will nevertheless decide it may be true, if only because people are spreading it, and let the matter go at that. There will be people too who make all sorts of guesses and pretend they have caught onto the truth, nodding and smiling knowingly, but who in fact understand nothing. Others will deduce the truth, and think, "I'm sure that's what happened," but hesitate, for fear they may be mistaken. Some will clap their hands and laugh, saying there is nothing new in this lie. Some too, though aware of the truth, will not reveal they have caught on, nor make comments one way or the other on what they realize is the truth, acting as if they were ignorant of the facts. Finally, there are those who, knowing from the start the purpose of the lie, do not ridicule it in any way, but on the contrary sympathize with the man who invented it, and join forces with him.

Sunt poate lucruri care iniţial par truisme, lucruri atât de self-evident încât nici nu mai simţi nevoia să le menţionezi, însă mulţi poate că nici nu se gândesc la ele, tocmai pentru par într-atât de banale.

The intelligent man, when he dies, leaves no possessions. If he has collected worthless objects, it is embarrassing to have them discovered. If the objects are of good quality, they will depress his heirs at the thought of how attached he must have been to them. It is all the more deplorable if the possessions are ornate and numerous. If a man leaves possessions, there are sure to be people who will quarrel disgracefully over them, crying, "I'm getting that one!" If you wish something to go to someone after you are dead, you should give it to him while you are still alive. Some things are probably indispensable to daily life, but as for the rest, it is best not to own anything at all.

Te învaţă şi cum să trăieşti :

The full moon does not keep its roundness even a little while; it at once begins to wane. The man indifferent to such things may not see much change in the course of a single night. The worsening of an illness too does not pause in its headlong course, until the hour of death approaches. However, as long as a man's illness is not so critical that he is actually confronted by death, he grows accustomed to the idea that life will go on much the same forever, and only after he has accomplished many things in this life will he turn to quiet practice of the Way. But when a man is suddenly taken ill and faced by death, he realizes he has accomplished not one of his plans. He helplessly regrets the years and months of laziness, and resolves that if he should recover this time and live out his full life, he will unflaggingly strive days and nights on end to accomplish this or that. The sickness in the meanwhile grows steadily worse, until he loses consciousness and, in a state of violent agitation, breathes his last. This is true of the vast majority of people. Everyone should waste no time in taking this to heart. If you imagine that once you have accomplished your ambitions you will have time to turn to the Way, you will discover that your ambitions never come to an end. In our dreamlike existence, what is there for us to accomplish? All ambitions are vain delusions. You should realize that, if desires form in your heart, false delusions are leading you astray; you should do nothing to fulfill them. Only when you abandon everything without hesitation and turn to the Way will your mind and body, unhindered and unagitated, enjoy lasting peace.

Lecţii de viaţă valabile şi după 7 secole:
A man should avoid displaying deep familiarity with any subject. Can one imagine a well-bred man talking with the air of a know-it-all, even about a matter with which he is in fact familiar? The boor who pops up on the scene from somewhere in the hinterland answers questions with an air of utter authority in every field. As a result, though the man may also possess qualities that compel our admiration, the manner in which he displays his high opinion of himself is contemptible. It is impressive when a man is always slow to speak, even on subjects he knows thoroughly, and does not speak at all unless questioned.
Iată ceva de care mă fac eu vinovat, un viciu de care sper să mă lepăd:

Nobody begrudges wasting a little time. Does this represent a reasoned judgment or merely foolishness, I wonder. If I were to address myself to those who are lazy out of foolishness, I should point out that a single copper coin is of trifling value, but an accumulation of these coins will make a rich man of a poor one. This is why a merchant so jealously hoards each coin. We may not be aware of the passing instants, but as we go on ceaselessly spending them, suddenly the term of life is on us.

Despre greşeli:
A man who was famous as a tree climber was guiding someone in climbing a tall tree. He ordered the man to cut the top branches, and during this time, when the man seemed to be in great danger, the expert said nothing. Only when the man was coming down and had reached the height of the eaves did the expert call out, "Be careful! Watch your step coming down!" I asked him, "Why did you sat that? At that height he could jump the rest of the way down if he chose." "That's the point," said the expert. "As long as the man was up at a dizzy height and the branches were threatening to break, he himself was so afraid I said nothing. Mistakes are always made when people get to the easy places."


Should we only be interested to view the cherry blossoms at their peak, or the moon when it is full? To yearn for the moon when it is raining, or to be closed up in ones room, failing to notice the passing of Spring, is far more moving. Treetops just before they break into blossom, or gardens strewn with fallen flowers are just as worthy of notice. There is much to see in them. Is it any less wonderful to say, in the preface to a poem, that it was written on viewing the cherry blossoms just after they had peaked, or that something had prevented one from seeing them altogether, than to say ?on seeing the cherry blossoms?? Of course not. Flowers fall and the moon sets, these are the cyclic things of the world, but still there are brutish people who mutter that there is nothing left worth seeing, and fail to appreciate. In all things, it is the beginnings and the endings that are the most interesting. Is the love between a man a woman to be understood only in terms of the times they are together? Feel the pain of a relationship that has ended, decry the futility of a brief encounter, spend a long night awake and alone, think fondly of a life beyond one, out of reach, beyond the clouds, remember a moment long ago shared in a thatched hut; that is LOVE.

There is a much deeper appreciation in waiting for the moon to appear just before dawn than in seeing it full and unobstructed for as far as the eye can see. There can be no finer or more poignant moment than to see it appear among the newly budding branches of a mountain cedar, or its light falling between trees, or to see it when it slides in an out of clouds laden with rain. I shiver when I see the moonlight glimmering on the dew laden leaves of the pasania and the oak, so beautiful that I yearn for a friend from

Kyoto who would feel the same.

Above all else, are we to see the moon and the cherry blossoms with our eyes alone? It is indeed amusing, even marvelous, to stay at home in the Spring, thinking about a moonlit night from the confines of ones room. People of class never seem totally absorbed in their loves, nor in their pastimes. Country people think only of the gaudiest of pleasures. They sidle up to blossoming cherry trees, hoarding their vantage point, drinking sake, writing linked poetry until, at the end, they viciously break big branches. They have no feelings. They stick their hands and feet into natural springs, leave their footprints in the snow, leave nothing sacred and untouched in this world.

And these people! When they come to see the Kamo Festival in Kyoto, they claim there is not enough to see from the viewing stands, and so they take themselves off to the stalls behind to drink sake, stuff themselves, play Go and Sugoroku, leaving a guard on their seats. When the call is made, they proceed to rush back to the stands, seeing who can be first to see this or that in the parade, and when again there is a lull, they all rush out of their seats. Why the struggle, just to see what there is to see? The cognoscenti from the capital grow drowsy and make no attempt to catch everything. The younger people who serve them make their way in and out, never attempting to push through from behind, or brazenly trying to get a view of what is passing by.

In all this fine splendor of carriages decorated in Hollyhock boughs that have secretly nestled together in the hours just before dawn, I become curious about the high-born occupants of certain of them. Later I see that I know some of the cattle grooms and other servants. Ah, there is much that is splendid, much that is gay, much that is as varied as life. I am never bored. Along toward evening the throngs of wagons, so thick there had been no passage between them, mysteriously vanish until the din of the festival subsides. The curtains and mats are rolled up and all becomes a lonely sight. In these moments, I think I understand the vagaries of the world. The great avenues of Kyoto are made for such festivals.

Many, many people have passed in front of these stands, and many of them I know, which goes to prove that there are not as many souls in the world as I had thought. When all of them are gone, and when my time comes as well to die, it shall not be such a long wait. Fill a huge vessel with water, and one will see that even though it has small pinholes and the dripping seems minor, still it leaks inexorably and finally it is empty. Though there are many souls in Kyoto, not a day goes by without dying. Is it really only a few each day? Many are the days when the dead are seen off to Toribeno, or to Mt. Funaoka, or to some other unnamed crematory hill, and the process never stops. Caskets are made. There is no end of buyers. It never ceases. One never knows when death will come. The young and the strong are not spared. It is a strange sense of gratitude to know that one has escaped today. Can one afford to think of the world in easy terms? It is like a game of checkers with all the pieces arranged on a Suguroku board. Eventually, no matter what the count or the direction of the game, all of the pieces will be removed until only one is left. And this one cannot escape. It too will go. A warrior off to battle knows he is near to death; he forgets his home, his position. A man who chooses a grass hut and lives in retirement, in harmony with the stream and the stones of his garden, thinking that it happens elsewhere, is deluded. Even in a quiet mountain seclusion, the evil enemy, the brevity of life, will catch up with one. To look into the face of death is similar to a warrior entering the enemy camp.

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