Essays in Idleness
YOSHIDA KENKO (1283-1352) was a Buddhist priest, a reclusive scholar and poet who had ties to the aristocracy of medieval Japan. Despite his links to the Imperial court, Kenko spent much time in seclusion and mused on Buddhist and Taoist teachings. His "Essays in Idleness" is a collection of his thoughts on his inner world and the world of Japanese life in the fourteenth century. He touched on topics as diverse as the benefits of the simple life ("There is indeed none but the complete hermit who leads a desirable life"), solitude ("I am happiest when I have nothing to distract me and I am completely alone"), lust ("What a weakly thing is this heart of ours"), the impermanence of this world ("Truly the beauty of life is its uncertainty"), and reading ("To sit alone in the lamplight with a book spread out before you, and hold intimate converse with men of unseen generations--such is a pleasure beyond compare"). To enter Kenko's world is to enter a world of intimate observations, deceptively simple wisdom, and surprising wit.
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this particular translation is not my favourite one - it tries too hard to retain some olde worlde flavour, and misses out the wimsey and humour in the writing thereby..
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accomplishments admirable amusing appearance asked backgammon beautiful better birds blinds blossoms Buddha called carriage ceremony checkers cloistered emperor comes COSIMO counsellor death delight desires Dogen drink emperor emperor Go-Toba evil Fa-hsien face fall feel flowers fond foolish forget Fujiwara no Teika Genji Monogatari Golden Light Sutra grief grow happened hear heard heart Heike Monogatari hills hollyhocks horse imperial Kamo festival koyuki lay priest lay-priest learning leaves litde living look Lord Majesty matter Miidera mind Monogatari month moon nekomata Nembutsu never night Ninnaji once one's palace pass person Pillow Book pity pleasure plum poem prime minister profit reason replied sage shame Shingon shrine sickness sight snow someone sort susuki talk temple things thought trees truth unpleasant verse virtue Whereupon wine wisdom woman women wonder words write written wrong YOSHIDA KENKO young