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More Excerpts from Hagakure, Ch. 1

I posted "Excerpts From Hagakure, Chapter 1" a while back. The book is dense with interesting ideas. Here's some more excerpts -

When an official place is extremely busy and someone comes in thoughtlessly with some business or other, often there are people who will treat him coldly and become angry. This is not good at all. At such times, the etiquette of a samurai is to calm himself and deal with the person in a good manner. To treat a person harshly is the way of middle class lackeys.

Treat people calmly and with good manners, even when they're a little careless. "To treat a person harshly is the way of middle class lackeys" - that made me laugh.

There is something to be learned from a rainstorm. When meeting with a sudden shower, you try not to pet wet and run quickly along the road. But doing such things as passing under the eaves of houses, you still get wet. When you are resolved from the beginning, you will not be perplexed, though you still get the same soaking. This understanding extends to everything.

You get wet either way in a rainstorm, but by accepting it you stay of clear mind. What a great metaphor. Accept that you'll get wet in a rainstorm - because you will either way - and go purposefully instead of rushing.

Poem Club October 16, 2013: Winter warbler

On like an apple

This week for poem club we have one of the last few poems written by Buson.

winter warbler; long ago in Wang Wei’s hedge also

Before running through my usual poem club questions (Do I like it? Why? Does it remind me of other stuff I like? Do I like the poet's other work?), I want to point out one thing. This is the first of a set of three poems that Buson, it is recorded, wrote on his death bed. There is a tradition in Japan of writing a death poem or jisei, to capture the moment as life passes. It is such a beautiful idea, really, such a different way of approaching death than I usually think of: waiting on it, calmly, observing, accepting:

In the death poem or jisei, the essential idea was that at one's final moment of life, one's reflection on death (one's own usually but also death in general) could be especially lucid and meaningful and therefore also constituted an important observation about life. The poem was considered a gift to one's loved ones, students, and friends. The tradition began with zen monks, but was also popular with poets, whose poems were often just as solemn as those of monks, or entirely flippant and humorous. The poems are often full of symbols of death, such as the full moon, the western sky, the song of the cuckoo, and images of the season in which the writer died

On to the questions.

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