Wednesday, December 26, 2012

A View of Uncertainty

“The most precious thing in life is its uncertainty.”  Kenko

In the 14th century, a poet and Buddhist monk named Yoshido Kenko wrote thoughts on life, death, nature, manners, humility and simplicity.  He lived in exile at a cottage where he composed his essays.

Kenko believed in 'zuihitsu' - follow the brush - as a method of composition.  He painted thoughts as they came to him on scraps of paper, then attached them to his cottage walls.  They survived through the centuries by chance.  A poet friend collected them from the walls and Tsurezuregusa (Essays in Idleness) became a part of Japanese literature.

He felt leaving something incomplete gives room for growth. Kenko disliked perfection, believing asymmetry and irregularity became better goals in life.  His imagery included moons in the clouds, cherry blossoms strewn and faded on the earth.  He admired the uncertainty of a branch about to blossom.

Creative Write:

Here are three of Kenko's views.
                     How will you follow the brush today and write about them?

A certain recluse, I know not who, once said that no bonds attached him to this life, and the only thing he would regret leaving was the sky.

Are we only to look at flowers in full bloom, at the moon when it is clear?

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.

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