Alec Nevala-Lee

Thoughts on art, creativity, and the writing life.

The way of the recluse

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It is as easy to be attached to a hut in the wilderness as to anything else…In fact poetry and literature and all the other affectations may be regarded as only further incitements to attachment. Moreover one needed a certain amount of leisure and means for life even in the wilderness, and so it was largely people who did not need to get their living who practiced it. It was a kind of luxury, and people who could not afford it had to remain in the world willy nilly. They were then faced with the necessity of attaining this peace of mind in ordinary life, and if this could be accomplished then there was no need for any one to shun the world at all…Some praised a wandering life like that of the beggar Rakuami, a mendicant flute player who is the hero of one of the Kyogen, as the ideal, while others thought to amuse themselves with the changing aspect of the seasons. But since they could not get away from the incidents of everyday life they had to adopt a casual attitude in regard to them, if they wished to avoid being involved in anxiety, and ended in adopting a point of view that refused to take anything seriously. And so they lived their ordinary life with the mind of a recluse, but a somewhat humorous one.

—A.L. Sadler, Cha-No-Yu: The Japanese Tea Ceremony

Written by nevalalee

June 30, 2018 at 7:30 am

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