Recently, browsing the unremitting, unceasing id of the internet that is Twitter, I stumbled across an interesting gem posted by the good folks over at Houslets. It was a link to an obscure 13th-century Japanese text by a Bhuddist ascetic, Kamo no Chōmei. Once a successful and wealthy poet for the imperial court, a series of political setbacks and natural disasters gradually pushed Chōmei into seclusion. The essay, The Ten Foot Square Hut (Hōjōki), describes his sequential downsizing, from his father's house, to a cabin by the river, and, eventually, at the age of sixty, a hut just ten feet to a side.
Often described as an Eastern analogue to Henry David Thoreau's Walden, Hōjōki is similarly famous for its opening lines:
"Though the river's current never fails, the water passing, moment by moment, is never the same. Where the current pools, bubbles form on the surface, bursting and disappearing as others rise to replace them, none lasting long. In this world, people and their dwelling places are like that, always changing."Read More