Monday, April 9, 2012

Kenko: from Essays in Idleness

No. 13

The pleasantest of all diversions is to sit alone under the lamp, a book spread out before you, and to make friends with people of a distant past you have never known. The books I would choose are the moving volumes of Wen Hsuan, the collected works of Po Chu-i, the sayings of Lao Tzu, and the chapters of Chuang Tzu. Among works by scholars of this country, those written long ago are often quite interesting.

-- Kenko (1283-1350 approximate dates)
The Tsurezuregusa of Kenko (Essays in Idleness)

Chapter 13 reminds me of a poem by a Western poet, but unfortunately my failing memory can't come up with either a name or a title. Perhaps you can help me out here.

Kenko has an interesting reading list: poetry, Taoist texts, and ancient texts.

Kenko's Reading List

a poem by Po Chu-i


my lute set aside
on the little table
lazily I meditate
on cherishing feelings
the reason I don't bother
to strum and pluck?
there's a breeze over the strings
and it plays itself

Wen Hsuan: "A collection of poetry compiled by Prince Chao Ming of Liang (501-31). It was known as Monzan in Japan and exercised great influence." (Note from Essays in Idleness)

Lao Tzu: considered to be the first Taoist although he never considered himself as such. His work, The Book of the Way and Virtue, is the first and most important of all Taoist texts.

Chuang Tzu: the author of the second most important of the Taoist texts.

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