Dragonfly’s Kenchō-ji Temple
San-mon 「三門」 opens to the willing,
And never closes to the unwilling.
The willing of what, my American friend from Los Angeles asked me, when we visited Kencｈō-ji last Autumn. The willingness to transcend oneself, departing from the self this moment and getting to the transcendental-I (transzendentalen Ichs) in Heidegger’s words, right after the moment, I told him. Or in Kant’s words, from the Sensible World 「感性界」 to the Intelligible World 「叡智界」. And, or, in Shingyō (Heart Sutra 「心経:」), I told him again, and he replied, haughtily, he knew it for he “did a copying of Heart Sutra in his own hand by water ink and brush pen” while visiting some temples in Kyoto. It means that one shall try to transcend from one’s consciousness world 「意識界」 to the non-consciousness 「無意識界」.
“You talk like a Buddhist,” I said.
“Not a believer in a religious sense, but a disciple of Zen,” he replied.
“Awesome, man, you cool, bloody good.”
“I am Presbyterian,” paused for a few seconds, he added,
“Christ is, undoubtedly, my Lord, and my Shepherd of my children. And Zen is a means, a way of education to change myself.”
“You believe in Christianity and accept Buddhism as two matters without contradiction,” I said, awestricken.
“Buddhism, Buddha-ology, or Zen-tics, whichever, is fine for me.”
As shown in the photo, one of the San-mon: three doors – Kū-mon 「空門」, Musō-mon 「無相門」 and Musaku-mon 「無作門」 is hidden behind the huge Byakushin Oak 「柏槙」 planted in the 13th century by Buddhist Master Rankeidōryū 「蘭渓道隆」 from Song Dynasty. The American did not take with him a cup Ōzeki this time as he did when we visited Suwa Shrine「諏訪神社」 near Waseda Campus earlier before. Kū-mon means what forward the gate is “emptiness.” But, if what behind the door is empty, there is nothing at all, not even the “thing,” or “form” or “name” called “emptiness;” it is a statement of self-contradiction. Musō-mon means that the gate through which, or whatever forward the gate, is “imageless.” Alternatively speaking, crossing the gate, the image, or the “appearance” in terms of phenomenology, must be deserted.
The meaning of Musō is originally from the most important text in Zen – Diamond Sutra 「金剛経」.
“As Stars, a fault of vision, as a lamp,
A mock show, dew drops, or a bubble,
A dream, a lightning flash, or a cloud,
So should one view what is conditioned.”
「一切有為法 如夢幻泡影 如露亦如電 当作如是観」
He recited a stanza from Shakespeare’s Macbeth without hesitation:
“Life is but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage,
And then is heard no more, it is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury,
[Macbeth, V. v]
My heart almost missed a beat, for I was equally impressed by the English girl who recited the famous line from Kawabata’s Snow Country three decades before – Going through the long tunnel across the border, there appears the Snow Country. He was an Ivy League graduate before he came to Sci-arc and there we met. He advised me to read David Hume or Immanuel Kant.
“No big deal,” as he is of Scottish stock, his family name starts with the Mc-syllable. He said as a pupil in Grammar school, he had to memorize English lines, poetry or prose like that. “It didn’t make sense to me when I was young,” he meant the Macbeth lines above, and he said Zen might show him a thinking path and lead him toward a mental state of freedom – No Sorge 「不安」, no Angst, no fear or worry, but Jiyūjizai 「自由自在」, absolute freedom. “If you are willing to desert the unpleasant images and things that haunt you, you will be free from angst. You can dump all your unhappy memories, delete the images of 911 Disaster and so on,” I said.
“How can I forget them?”
“Just do it, is it not your tennis shoes Nike? Act with determination, execute your consciousness and project your current mental state this moment to the future time, or dissolve into the dreaming time in practicing tea ceremony or, as the French poet Paul Valéry wrote, ‘On Sundays, I save my soul by writing poetry.”
“I can’t forget 911S though, 2.7 liter engine, 1978, a sensational classic,” he said the sports car was his aichaku 「愛着」: stubborn love.
“Neither can Mizoguchi 「溝口」 though, the young monk, forget the sensational beauty of Kinkakuji-temple.”
A cicada hit the wood post of Musaku-mon 「無作門」, fell in front of us and turned turtle; its comb-like thinly front legs waved a little in the air with a long shrilly chirp, and remained still.
“Pass out or what, losing navigation system?”
This reminded me of a scene narrated in Mishima’s Temple of Golden Pavilion:
“The surrounding hills with their red pines were mantled in the cry of the cicadas, as though countless invisible priests were chanting the vocation for the Extinction of Fires: “Gyā gyā,” they sang, “gyākī gyākī, un nun, shifurā shifurā, harashifurā harashifurā!”
We then sensed that we were approached by the September cicada, being socked in the drizzling rain of chirping. Japanese gave it a haiku-like expression – semishigure 「蝉時雨] – meaning the cicada chirping approach people, as if the showering rain fall on people. Although in September, the chirping rain was not as tense as that in the mid-summer. Futari-yandari, so to speak, it rained, and it stopped and rained again.
The honky asked me why I took him here, Kencｈō-ji, rather than the nearby Enkaku-ji Temple 「円覚寺」, since I mentioned the tea ceremony in 「仏日庵」 narrated in Kawabata’s novel Senbazuru, Thousand Cranes.
C.Y. Lee 「李祖原」 is my teacher of Zen as well as architecture, he drew me a sketch above right after the symposium – “Waseda Architecture & the Future of Asia,” 2010, for the 100th anniversary of architecture school. There are four kanji: 「借境修心」 in the sketch, meaning train your heart by borrowing the situation.
The point is that a Zen actioner must, as the 8th century Zen master Jyōsyū 「趙州」 said, Hōgejyaku 「放下著, abandon it」. Viz. liberate yourself from your “self-ness.” If he was willing to abandon his Sorge, I advised my friend, he could step through Musō-mon and be absolutely free. He did step through it, although he said he would pick up the garbage he already abandoned. No matter, I said, practice Kissako 「喫茶去」, which means switching off your mind at once and go make tea, as Jyōsyū suggested.
Nevertheless, if Zen must be reached by means of a means, Zen meditation 「座禅」 or Kissako – tea-ceremony, Zen would be charmless, a contradiction itself, for tea-ceremony itself is a kind of means to master Zen and there are quite a few sects in tea ceremony. Lee’s sketch teaches: pointing to the heart; jikininshin 「直指人心」i.e., directly adjust the mind without means. For those suffering in jail from false charge 「寃罪」, they had to adjust their minds by pointing to their hearts without borrowing a Temple or tea ceremony. In these four kanji in the sketch, Lee crossed out the 2nd kanji – kyō 境 and drew a curved line pointing at the 4th kanji – shin 心. “All this, my honky friend, is why I took you here – Kenchō-ji. ”
“Look at the garden and the pound within it, and think about what it is that the ‘bridge’ is for” in terms of Sullivan’s motto, Form follows Function. Or, in the scope of Phenomenology, what is it that the Self of “creating a bridge to cross a narrow pond in a garden is,” or, we can go further, as you, honky, advised me to read Kant, and ask what it is that the thing-in-itself 「物自体」 of the action of crossing the bridge is.
A Zen temple was a vast complex of outdoor relief for the Japanese upper class, noble or samurai; and the Chashitsu, built in which and detached to Omoya 「母屋」: the main building of the temple, was a small hideaway for executing self-reflection or for certain occasions, political meeting or other social purposes, by means of processing tea ceremony.
Kenchō-ji temple, however, seems to distinguish itself with its garden; its pond – sanbeki-ike 「蘸碧池」 – also called the Pond of Heart 「心字池」, for the pond was designed with the calligraphy form of kokoro 「心」, heart. Pound of Heart means that one shall directly point at one’s heart (mind) without verbal teaching, or furyūmonji 「不立文字」, wordlessly. Talk no more but act 「行動」 to transcend by jikininshin 「直指人心」: executing the heart or adjusting the consciousness. Taught by words, manuscripts or schooling, one surely enriches one’s knowledge, but knowledge is no equivalent to morality or wisdom. One cannot guarantee oneself a happy life with knowledge.
C.Y. Lee was also Ivy League schooled, but he has been persisted in, consistently, enriching his design thinking from cultivating the aesthetics of Chinese origin. What made him to be so? Practicing architecture, he lives a Zen ascetic life and thinks architecture from the Confucian 「儒教の」 horizon; he said to me that the West canons of architecture do not suit the Chinese culture today. This, as I see it, is the Confucian thoughts; e.g., 「択善固執」: select the righteous and follow it, or 「至大至剛」: the greatest and the most unbending (or the most Syōjiki 「正直」). All this is the Confucian concept of mental, spiritual sublimity.
If a six-year-old child is willing to pick up the cicada that hit the wood post of Musaku-mon 「無作門」 and bury it or to buy a homeless a McDonald hamburger, the child has a noble heart of moral, before being “shaped up” by education. And all this is exactly what Kant meant to teach (Critique of Pure Reason, preface: BXXX); “I have therefore found it necessary to deny knowledge (Wissen), in order to make room for faith.” 「カントの《純粋理性批判》第二版（BXXX）より」.
The major point of my writing here – the moral sense that leads people toward the true happiness, or 「最高善」: the absolute goodness, can be reached by acting Zen experiences and such moral sense is commonly seen as Mujyaki 「無邪気」, like the kind of innocence found only in children, if and only if people are willing to do so. Knowledge is not the ground of Morality; willingness is. One doesn’t become a moral soul by attending the School of Divinity or Theology; one may remain immoral if one’s free will leads one’s determination to be so.
It is one’s free will, or willingness that makes the ground of Morality. Viz. Morality basing on freewill is 「道徳自律」: moral autonomy, whereas morality basing on knowledge is 「道徳他律」: moral heteronomy.
“The bridge is like the brick bridge in the golf course in St. Andrew, Scotland,” my friend said.
“It is not your fault,” for the American Scot was innocent about Kamakura Samurai 「鎌倉武士」.
The grass mound stood against the glorious green in the early autumn, before being replaced by a golden color in November, and a soft breeze stirred the trees around in the temple. A praying mantis 「カマキリ」, or perhaps a grasshopper, hopping around the sun-bleached grass and the stone-paved Ishidatami 「石畳」 in the afternoon, I noticed; yet my eyes were scanning the entire garden if a Kochō 「胡蝶」: butterfly or a Tombo 「トンボ」, a dragonfly just might appear, not a soul of such flying insects though. Getting old, perhaps, my eyes lost their focus and glazed over.
“Tell me, briefly, about the story of Kissako; if jikininshin 「直指人心」 is the point toward the essence of Zen, why bother making tea.”
Once upon a time, a Zen actioner visited Jyōsyū Master for Zen teaching. He looked worried and disturbed. Jyōsyū noticed and the visitor made an explanation. The night before he reached Jyōsyū’s place, he was hurried through a mountain pass, and there he stepped on a toad 「ヒキガエル」 and he believed that the damned animal was probably dead by that moment whilst facing Jyōsyū. And, a mountain pass, called Tōge 「峠」, is a popular theme in Japanese literature, figuratively meaning a place where a man changes, as a caterpillar change itself to be a butterfly, or the like.
Jyōsyū said: “A-ha! I am glad you mention it now. In fact, a farmer who offers us vegetable came this morning and gave it to us. It was a crushed cucumber 「キュウリ」 found on the path you came last night.”
The visitor did not show relief, for he did not believe Jyōsyū’s story; hey man, it was too obvious; it was a convenient lie. Then, he asked Jyōsyū again if it was true, or an invented truth.
“Kissako 「喫茶去」！” Jyōsyū replied and remained silent.
“And then what happened?”
“The visitor found a new thinking path; he, enlightened, became a great Zen master.”
“A charming bedtime story you are joking me,” said the Scot nonetheless; he asked me, in the same manner as the visitor asked Jyōsyū, if it was true or a made-up story. He said he heard different story about Jyōsyū and Kissako. That which was written in the Zen historical document is that the visitor asked Jyōsyū a trivial question more than a couple times and Jyōsyū answered it with contrarious answers. And, he asked again; Jyōsyū told him “kissako” and remained silent.
“Here you come again and there you go again, you never change,” I added, “ didn’t you come to Japan with a wish for salvation, as you said earlier, that Zen might show you a thinking path as a way of education, and change yourself.”
“I only want the truth now,” he said calmly but edgily, wiggling his fingers toward me, as if to coax more argument out of me, “nothing but the truth, nothing-else whatsoever.”
“The truth of this Kissako story is that one’s enlightenment is based upon one’s willingness to transcend oneself, rather than upon one’s logical reasoning to achieve transcendence. Perhaps your willingness is to practice dialectic 「弁証法」, basing on skepticism 「懐疑的な論点」. Are you writing an Ivy League doctoral thesis or what?”
“A scholar or a university teacher is, by nature, more or less a nonconformist, being apt to disagree only to stimulate a new argument. I am not, and I only wish I can cross the gate, any of the three Sangedatsu-Gates 「三解脱門」, as you said, by my freewill, comfortably.”
“Think about Nietzsche’s will to power.”
Cited from Nietzsche , wrote Heidegger: “We heard that the fundamental character of beings 「存在」 is will to power, willing, and thus Becoming 「例えば、アイドルになりたい！」. Recapitulation: to stamp Becoming with the character of Being – that is the supreme will to Power.” (Nietzsche, 19~20) “For example, you have the will to be an architect, and in following years your will grows and you want to become a great architect; and as long as your will remains, your will grows,” for “Every willing is a willing to be more. Power itself only is inasmuch as, and so long as, it remains a willing to be more power.” (Nietzsche, 60)
“Tell me, briefly, about the writer of Thousand Cranes 「千羽鶴」; if tea ceremony is meant to enlighten the troubled minds, why did he write romantic affairs in Chashitsu?”
“A-ha! I am glad you bring it up. For the past years, I have been thinking about the words of Heidegger, his words about Nietzsche in particular. If I make a statement that Kawabata Yasunari 「川端康成」 and C.Y. Lee 「李祖原」 are in fact of a kind, do you buy it?”
“Both are artists, fountain pen or drawing pen.”
“They are similar in the German philosopher’s sense of artist,” I told my friend, as he advised me to read Hume and Kant. Heidegger concluded a comment upon Nietzsche’s point about Artist – Being an artist is a way of life. (Nietzsche, 69) And, Nietzsche’s point of artist does not refer to the class of professionals who profess Arts for life, a painter, a sculptor, an architect, a musician; rather, he refers to an artist as “the phenomenon ‘Artist’ – the being 「存在」 of an artist 「芸術家現象」.” In Heidegger’s essay – The Word of Nietzsche – collected in his book The question concerning Technology, he put it: “art is the greatest stimulant of life.” What kind of art, it doesn’t matter, Kawabata’s art of letters, the art of Tange Kenzō, the art of Fukushima Takanori the brain surgeon, or even the art of Asada Mao the figure ice skater, for it is the phenomenon of the artist’s being that counts. The phenomenon of an artist is to transcend by the artist’s free will.
If sports saves the paralympian Sato Mami 「佐藤真海」, which, (1) or (2), is it that causes Sports to save her, her instinctive cognition as (1) that she should live on, humbly, or her transcendental will to be a soul of free will, as (2), that leads her to transcend from her handicapped being to the transcendental-Sato Mami, or Das transzendentalen-Fräulein ? Either Sato Mami or the ice skater Asada Mao is artists in Nietzsche’s sense, they are Dasein – they are being (Sein) there (Da), whilst running in the field track or skating on ice.
Likewise, Kawabata had suffered throughout his entire life and ended his life by inhaling gas, but as a Dasein – being willing to be (Zu sein) there (Da, Japan) and become “Oneness with the beauty of Japan,” he was a happy Dasein. His book – Japan, the beautiful, and myself – as I see it, proves the point that it is his being as a Dasein, to be oneness with the beauty of Japan, or his being – the transcendental-Kawabata – as his existence (Sein) fusing with the beautiful there (Da, in Japan) that fueled up his will to live through his suffering life. In short, whenever Kawabata was writing about “the beautiful,” he strengthened up his will to live. The English version translated by Edward G. Seidensticker – Japan, the beautiful, and myself – 「美し日本の私」 shows that “Japan” and “myself” are linked by the conjunction “and” under the condition of “the beautiful,” which projects an ambiguous air, suggesting a time-being of myself in the phenomenon of Japanese beauty.
This, the Kawabata’s artist phenomenon, is exactly why the French poet Paul Valéry wrote, ‘On Sundays, I save my soul by writing poetry.” Writing poetry here does not refer to the production of verse, or literature composed of rhymes and music effect; rather, writing poetry is, according to Valéry himself, is to discover truth: “A poem should be a reveal of intellect. It can’t be anything else...A poem is a reveal…” What Kawabata wished to reveal is the beauty of Japan, and what C.Y. Lee is the beauty of China. C.Y. Lee concerns his architecture with the origin of Chinese aesthetics; it is his concern, or Sorge in Heidegger’s term, that urges him to revitalize the beautiful in Chinese aesthetics. Nietzsche’s words, which “art is the greatest stimulant of life,” indeed, well apply to Kawabata and C.Y. Lee, the beautiful of Japan, or the aesthetics of Chinese origin.
Now, is there a contradiction between the Taoist fable that “Chung Chou dreamt of butterflies 「荘周夢胡蝶」” or “daydreamt to become a butterfly” and Nietzsche’s thoughts of “will to Power.” Not, as I see it, for two points, it is.
First, Nietzsche’s will to power and Chung Chou’s will to become a flying butterfly are equal in significance; viz. the act to transcend is universal in humanity. Viz. both Chung Chou and Nietzsche have the same will to become; Chung Chou is willing to be able to fly as freely as a butterfly, or a red dragonfly 「赤トンボ」 in a Japanese sense, or the nature beings like bees, larks 「ヒバリ」, doves, or the nymph narrated by the English lake poets. Likewise, Nietzsche is willing to become an artist, for being so he can bring something forth (her-von-bringen) and create in Being something that does not yet exist. (Nietzsche 69) This, becoming an artist, is to “create” or “bring forth creation,” simultaneously “punching” the negative mental state – hatred, humiliation and so on, and at the same time “transport us [the artists] out of the realm of the ordinary.” (The Origin of the Work of Art [Heidegger 1971], 66).
Chung Chou’s will differs from Nietzsche’s; the Taoist follows Nature the German expects his will never to abandon these punches (das Nichtaussetzen dieses Stoßes) – the punches that fuel up the will to last. The essence of Taoism is Mui 「無為」: literally meaning no act; according to the Japanese dictionary, it yields 「無為の楽しみ the pleasures ［delights］ of leisure.」 And, this is the kind of definition for which the expression 「高級遊民: high-class idler」 was invented. Yet, Mui in Taoism refers to a life attitude, following Nature: 「法自然」. A Taoist believes that Men can do whatever they want, but Nature leads the courses; therefore, whatever men do, any outcome would be the same. Thus, a Taoists asserts 「無為而作」: just do whatever necessary and do it without being “conditioned,” viz. do it with a goal and without being controlled by the goal, do it with a plan and without being controlled by the plan, and let Nature lead the course.
Second, I wish to point out that the willingness is an impulse basing on Inga-kankei 「因果関係」: the relationship of cause and effect.
Let’s me analyze it in Japan as the Japanese do, taking the famous Akaho Ronin 「赤穂浪人」 for example, a true event in history that has been regarded as the icon of Japanese identity. Before these ronin decided to avenge their Master’s death upon the murder, they all knew the consequence – to die by committing suicide after the revenge. And, the most striking was that these ronin were all willing to do it; i.e., each and every of them decided to do it in everyone’s free will. They did the revenge, and they all committed suicide. And, their free will to do it was caused by the Japanese trait – makoto – loyalty, or sincerity. Makoto was the cause and the revenge that leaded the group suicide was the result. This incident, or “appearance” in Kant’s word, has its “causality of freedom” 「自由因果律」, indicated in the third antinomy. (Critique of Pure Reason, 409) This kind of free will, in fact, in guided by a law of causality, is an autonomous freewill; therefore, the sense of this morality found in these ronin is moral autonomy 「道徳自律」.
Likewise, Kawabata’s will to explore the beautiful of Japan and C.Y. Lee’s will to follow the Confucius’ thoughts, 「択善固執」: select the righteous and follow it, or 「至大至剛」: the greatest and the most unbending (or the most Syōjiki 「正直」) are based on their freewill; both develop their arts by following the law of moral autonomy.
Chung Chou’s 「荘周」will is to seek for “absolute freedom;” a Zen actioner or any Buddhist from other Buddhist sects seeks to reach “emancipation,” departing from the sensible and moving toward the wise by ascetics.
“Tea ceremony today without ascetic centuries ago is but the form of tea ceremony only, and Kawabata’s tea ceremony narrated in Thousand Cranes shows the beautiful form of it. Try to think about the thing-in-itself 「物自体」 of the tea ceremony in Thousand Cranes and that of the function of the Sadō 「茶道」 centuries ago. It is a matter between the origin and the corresponding kitsch.”
“Within the field of Architecture and Design Thinking, how do you distinguish Heidegger’s Self (an sich) and Kant’s thing-in-itself (Ding an sich) in terms of Form follows function?”
A young monk came to us, his attitude courteous, his facial expression plain and polite, icy yet sincere, his paces calm, dignified, yet a bit heavier than his age, showing maturity and Zen nuance. He held a white porcelain plate, on which two red bean kusa-mochi dumplings 「草餅」 covered by thin leaf and two cups of tea were placed proportionally nice, his eyes behind his thin, gold wire-framed glasses gazing at the Scot and me alternatively. He spoke the kind of Japanese one could find only in the conversation written in Thousand Cranes, elegant and polite. Near four thirty, we understood it was time to leave, physically.
“Some other Temple next time, or Shrine then, we will chat about ‘Self’ and ‘Thing-in-itself’” with a couple of cup Ōzeki.
I see “something” out of this young monk, like “something” I discovered from the narration about the Inamura girls 「稲村お嬢さん」 :
・・・. “For Mrs. Ota, the Inamura girl once more went through the ceremony. Everyone was watching her. She probably did not know the history of the black Oribe. She went through the practiced motions.
t was a straightforward performance, quite without personal quirks. Her bearing, from shoulder to knees, suggested breeding and refinement.”
This narration shows that there is “something” behind the appearance of Inamura girl’s practiced motions, which, we may vaguely call it (as Kawabata concerned himself with) – the beautiful – or, the thing-in-itself of Sadō 「茶道の物自体」. God creates things-in-themselves and Men discover the phenomenon corresponding to these things-in-themselves. Newton discovered the Law of Gravity from the “appearance” that occurred to him – an apple fell and hit his head. The term “appearance” is synonymous with “phenomenon,” and “thing-in-itself” with “noumena.” Kant did not make distinction between “thing-in-itself” and “noumena,” not if I know.
This “something,” Theodor Adorno named it “More (Das Mehr)” (Aesthetic Theory, 80), and he used the word “apparition (die Apparition）” to describe the “something” that made an art work great; the apparition, or ghost-like image, or simply put it, the “Beautiful” in Japan, the beautiful and myself, I believe, is a matter of “Self” and “thing-in-itself” triggered by Causality of Freedom. With my Buddhist background I surely identify the “something” I found in the young monk and the inamura girl some sort of Zen nuance, but Adorno, a Western philosopher, might call the “more” found in this young monk an apparition.
“What do you think, man?” I asked the American Scot.
“Tea time is up, old man, beer time next.” He surely knew the old man’s language rather well.
My eyes were consistently scanning the Pond of Heart 「心字池」 and the grass mound; the afternoon sky was laced with fitful low-hanging clouds; the salt-fragrant breath from the sea stirred amid and twisted a small swarm of ephemeral flies into a whirlwind over the bridge across the water. I didn’t see any damned butterfly, but a tonbo 「トンボ」, a dragonfly did appear. I was not sure if it was a red dragonfly as the song 「赤トンボ」 every Japanese kid sings.
“Butterflies are sleeping in the lily-bells somewhere just now.”
“You are a poet, undoubtedly, as well as an architect, awesome.” I said and he recited some lines from Oscar Wilde below:
Those violet-gleaming butterflies that take
Yon (over there) creamy lily for their pavilion
Mark how the yellow iris wearily
Leans back its throat, as though it would be kissed
By its false chamberer, the dragon-fly,
Who, like a blue vein on a girl’s white wrist,
A dragonfly has a childish image, innocent and immaculate, as I see it, and a dragonfly is clean, and, somehow, sexless, whereas a butterfly, colorfully weird, mysterious, ghostly, a twin-faced apparition, seems to be the mask or the mark of homosexuality. Or, a butterfly is a messenger between the world and the dead 「幽冥界」. “Wilde was jailed in England for homosexuality, wasn’t he?” “Yes,” the Scot said and went on: “talking about Oscar might be suspected as one.” I understood it perfectly; some Tokyo university professor asked me if I were homo for I talked about Mishima Yukio with him. “I see what your mean; being well learned just might lose child-like innocence, professorial or doctoral.”
“Which story do you prefer,” I asked my American friend, “the one with toad 「ヒキガエル」 and cucumber 「キュウリ」 or the original one?” The original one is historical knowledge which gives you the truth, and mine, I believe, has life in it, inspiring and poetic. And yet, if we pinpoint the so-called “fact” found in the historical literature as “truth,” what can such “truth” teach us besides historical knowledge? And, such Zen fable as 「放下著: Abandon it」 or 「喫茶去: No mind, and go make tea」 must be suikou 「推敲」: working on and pondering, for Zen’s a-logical character, deliberately written up for deep thinking and mental emancipation 「煩悩を解脱」.
“You appeal to knowledge more than wisdom,” I told the Scot. “You appeal to logics and reasoning more than intuition and instinct and bring out the best and the worst.” The best was that he should win a scholar’s reward – a set of awesome knowledge – and the worst was that, simultaneously, he lost the child-like innocence and the drunken period of being – sun-dancing, or day-dreaming with butterflies 「蝶」, mind-chasing the praying mantis 「カマキリ」, mounting the dragonflies, トンボに乗せ, flying and ascending to the mysterious unknown. All this is the drunken period of Being and Time with every ounce of my willpower, as one needs alcohols down to the very last drop to resist one’s daily worries.
Very unfortunately, we could not stay there in the garden after 5 pm. A sudden cricketing cry somewhere in the grass mound which was still sun-bleached in late afternoon; its sharp crisp silenced the 「蝉時雨」 cicada rain, as if a violin player drew a sudden bowing and surprised a blind man nearby.
I closed my eyes, urging my cognition mode to depart from the logical to the a-logical, meditating in the silver silence beside the waving full moon reflection on the water surface of the Pond of Heart 「心字池」; the hotaru fireflies appeared and re-presented themselves, restlessly hovering around the waving reeds to provoke suzumushi, the bell-ring crickets, to ring, cricket and quarrel perpetually, over the ponds and along the garden’s edges. I remained non-intoxicated, dissolving in the dreaming time, what a noisy dream I had that night.
“Hey, Mantis Man, are you ready to transcend?”
“Stop praying, just do it, カマキリ君, 頑張って！”