A Buddhist Reflection on Solitude, Imperfection and Transcendence
In the thirteenth century, after Japan was rocked by a series of natural and man-made disasters, a wise old man took to the hills in search of inner peace. Living in a small grass hut, isolated from the world, Kamo no Chōmei (1155–1216) put brush to paper and wrote the poetic masterpiece Hōjōki. This classic work of Japanese literature is the product of an age of profound social and political turmoil. And yet, its message about the transcendent power of simplicity and self-reliance is universal. Today, as many of us negotiate the contradiction of gnawing despondency amidst unprecedented abundance, Hōjōki reminds us that clinging to possessions, status, and social recognition can only bring suffering. With unvarnished honesty and profound compassion, this inspirational work invites readers to reassess their attachment to worldly success and to contemplate the inner quiet that comes from solitude.
This bilingual translation includes scholarly notes, maps, and original illustrations.
Translated and annotated by Matthew Stavros, historian of early Japan at the University of Sydney. With illustrations by Reginald Jackson, professor of literature and performance at the University of Michigan.
Publisher: Tuttle Publishing
Publication Date: 7 May 2024