Sunday, March 11, 2018

About a story of a peasant whose ox dies the night before he was supposed to sell it, Kenkō (a Buddhist monk) says:

'The owner of the ox certainly suffered a loss, but at the same time he secured a great profit, too. [...] Unpredictably the ox died; unpredictably too the owner survived. [...] People fail to enjoy life because they do not fear death. No, it is not that they have no fear of death, rather, they forget how close it is. But if a man said he was indifferent to such external distinctions as life and death, he could certainly be said to have grasped the true principles.'
Kenkō, Essays in Idleness, trans. D. Keene, Columbia University Press, New York, 1967, p. 12.

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