Tuesday, November 6, 2007

Essay 75

I wonder what feelings inspire a man to complain of "having nothing to do." I am happiest when I have nothing to distract me and I am completely alone.

If a man conforms to society, his mind will be captured by the filth of the outside world, and he is easily led astray; if he mingles in society, he must be careful that his words do not offend others, and what he says will not at all be what he feels in his heart. He will joke with others only to quarrel with them, now resentful, now happy, his feelings in constant turmoil. Calculations of advantage will wantonly intrude, and not a moment will be free from considerations of profit and loss. Intoxication is added to delusion, and in a state of inebriation the man dreams. People are all alike: they spend their days running about frantically, oblivious to their insanity.

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, at least for the time being.

It is written in Maka Shikan, " Break your ties with your daily activities, with personal affairs, with your arts, and with learning."

--Kenko (written circa 1330-1332)
trs. from the Japanese by Donald Keene

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