Thursday, October 08, 2009

A perchance unavailing invocation

Now the moon of my life has reached its last phase and my remaining years draw near to their close. When I soon approach the Three Ways of the Hereafter what shall I have to regret? The law of Buddha teaches that we should shun all clinging to the world of phenomena, so that the affection I have for this thatched hut is in some sort a sin, and my attachment to this solitary life may be a hindrance to enlightenment. Thus I have been babbling, it may be, of useless pleasures, and spending my precious hours in vain.

In the still hours of the dawn I think of these things, and to myself I put these questions: Thus to forsake the world and dwell in the woods, has it been to discipline my mind and practise the law of Buddha or not? Have I put on the form of a recluse while yet my heart has remained impure? … Is this poverty of mine but the retribution for the offences of a past existence, and do the desires of an impure heart still arise to hinder my enlightenment? And in my heart there is no answer. The most I can do is to murmur two or three times a perchance unavailing invocation to Buddha.
Kamo no Chōmei, Japanese poet, died on July 24, 1216


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