One-minute review: Musings, meditations. “…fragments ranging from a line to several pages.” A “random mode of composition.” Sometimes uses “subtle links” to join the compositions. Kenko had a function in the court and then became a Buddhist monk after the Emperor died. He celebrated the idea of the “beauty of impermanence.”
Some of his musings are interesting: “The most precious thing in life is its uncertainty.” ………. “Nothing leads a man astray so easily as sexual desire.” ………. “A man’s character, as a rule, may be known from the place where he lives.” ………. “In all things, I yearn for the past. Modern fashions seem to keep on growing more and more debased.” ………. “In all things, it is the beginnings and ends that are most interesting.” ………. “The man of breeding never appears to abandon himself completely to his pleasures; even his manner of enjoyment is detached.” ………. “It does not matter how young or how strong you may be, the hour of death comes sooner than you expect.” ………. “Death is like that. The soldier who goes to war, knowing how close he is to death, forgets his family and even forgets himself.” ………. “When you confront death, no matter where it may be, it is the same as charging into battle.”
The Art of the Personal Essay. Ed. Phillip Lopate.
: Anchor Books. A Division of Random House, Inc. 1995. New York