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Essays in Idleness: The Tsurezuregusa of Kenkō

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❶Reading it three decades later, I continue to dislike the author -- anyone who criticizes individuals who enjoy playing games is, in my view, a pill, since I have always loved card and board games, as well as role-playing games.




We do not know that sickness attacks us. We do not know that death is near. We do not know that we have not attained the Way we follow. We do not know what evil is in our own persons, still less what calumny comes from without. People always exaggerate things. More so, when months and years have passed and the place is distant do they relate any story they please, or even it put down in writing, so that at least it becomes established fact. Anyhow, it is a world that is full of lies, and we shall make no mistake if we make up our minds that what we hear is really not at all strange and unusual but merely exaggerated in the telling.

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"?

Flowers fall and the moon sets, these are the cyclic things of the world, but still there are brutish people who say that there is nothing left worth seeing, and fail to appreciate. Things that don't offend good taste even if numerous: Keisarin valtaistuin toki on liian korkealla: Being born into this world there are, I suppose, many aims which we may strive to attain.

The Imperial Throne of the Mikado inspires us with the greatest awe; even the uttermost leaf of the Imperial Family Tree is worthy of honour and very different from the rest of mankind. As to the position of a certain august personage i.

But when those who are of lower degree chance to rise in the world and assume an aspect of arrogance, though they may think themselves grand, it is very regrettable. Now there is no life so undesirable as that of a priest. To retire from the world in real earnest, on the contrary, is indeed praiseworthy, and some I hope there may be who are willing to do so.

A man should preferably have pleasing features and a good style; one never tires of meeting those who can engage in some little pleasant conversation and who have an attractive manner, but who are not too talkative. It is a great pity, however, if a man's true character does not come up to his prepossessing appearance. One's features are fixed by nature; but, if we wish to, may we not change our hearts from good to better?

For, if a man though handsome and good-natured has no real ability, his position will suffer, and in association with men of a less engaging aspect his deficiency will cause him to be thrown into the background, which is indeed a pity.

The thing to aim at, therefore, is the path of true literature, the study of prose, poetry, and music; to be an accepted authority for others on ancient customs and ceremonies is also praiseworthy. One who is quick and clever at writing and sketching, who has a pleasant voice, who can beat time to music, and who does not refuse a little wine, even though he cannot drink much, is a good man.

Voleo bih da ne zaboravim stare prepiske. Kako je samo to dirljivo! But her station in life and disposition may be judged from the nature of her carelessly spoken words, though she be hidden behind a screen.

But such a man there cannot be; and if I found myself seated opposite to one, whom I did not know well enough to offer the slightest contradiction to, should I not feel as if I were alone? One who is quick and clever at writing and sketching, who has a pleasant voice, who can beat time to music, and who does not refuse a little wine, even thoughhe cannot drink much, is a good man.

Kenko warns against a "desire for fame and profit" as "foolish" and "a delusion" Several essays admonish against wasting time on useless activities, an affliction of youth.

Indeed, "you must not wait until you are old before you begin practicing the Way," he advises. Even if a man has not yet discovered the path of enlightenment, as long as he removes himself from his worldly ties, leads a quiet life, and maintains his peace of mind by avoiding entanglements, he may be said to be happy.

Instability and impermanence characterize everything. The trees in the garden are silent. With whom is he to reminisce, Kenko wonders. The sight of ruined palaces, halls, and temples, some mere foundation stones, acutely awakes this sense of impermanence" If you trust neither in yourself nor in others, you will rejoice when things go well, but bear no resentment when they go badly.

Heaven and earth are boundless. Why should human nature be dissimilar? And so the simplicity of our lives requires unattachment because all else is impermanent, especially possessions. Echoing the hijiri and later wandering mendicant monks, Kenko argues that we cannot claim anything anyway, neither possessions, accomplishments, deeds, fame, nor ambitions.

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 Kenko's Essays in Idleness reflect the cultural esteem for eremitism current in the Japan of his era.

Although his solitude was personal, echoing the values of the dilletante and the aesthete, his remarks reveal his sincere esteem for hermits.

Translated by Donald Keene. Translated by George Sansom.


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Other articles where Essays in Idleness is discussed: Yoshida Kenkō: ; Essays in Idleness, ), became, especially after the 17th century, a basic part of Japanese education, and his views have had a prominent place in subsequent Japanese life.

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Kenko's Esteem for Hermits in his Essays in Idleness The Tsurezuregusa or Essays in Idleness of Yoshida no Keneyoshi (that is, Kenko) is a posthumous collection of essays and aphorisms on disparate topics, probably assembled in their existing sequence by Kenko himself.

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Essays in Idleness was written around by Yoshida Kenkô. Buddhist beliefs were spreading in Japan at this time and are reflected in the literature—such as this work by Kenkô—written during this period of Medieval Japanese history. Written between and , Essays in Idleness reflects the congenial priest's thoughts on a variety of subjects. His brief writings, some no more than a few sentences long and ranging in focus from .

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Critical Analysis and Biography – Paper Two: “Essays in Idleness” - Kenko Name Institution Course *for you to complete, please Introduction It is estimated that. Sign in now to see your channels and recommendations! Sign in. Watch Queue Queue.