Lunar Module, descent stage, left behind on moon, top left
Past the Kingdom of Silla, to the mountains of Lake Biwa, where Basho and Saigyo rested from their long journeys. Like all of Japan, the view of the lake has changed since Basho was interred at the Temple of Gichu-ji on its southern shore. Saigyo guided the Persona back to his great metaphor, the moon:
In the mountains’ deep
Places, the moon of the mind
Resides in light serene:
Moon mirrors all things everywhere,
Mind mirrors moon . . . in satori now.
(Tr. William R. LaFleur)
Basho too taught the Persona the oneness of his vision, a Vinegar Drinker in his own way:
And four different sects
Sleep as one
Under the bright moon.
(Tr. Nobuyuki Yuasa)
As I’ve journeyed through Angkor Wat and Cambodia, the antinomies have further clarified, on numerous fronts, including modernity. Broadly speaking, I can now see as never before the three major traditions of exclusivism and those of non-exclusivism in sharper detail, contrast, and comparison. That wasn’t really my intention, so I’m surprised that it’s happened. Partly, I think, it’s in the material itself. The attempt to find and give it form brought it all out.
So there are vistas I’ve never realized before. As with Hinduism, the complexities and teachings of Buddhism have been fascinating to study once again, its various interpretations and flavors. Another surprise has been that the Internet has proven an invaluable tool for study and for finding the right historical nuance and detail, especially on the more human level of lived thought and belief, opening the antinomies ever deeper into the soul.
Though only on the way to Dunhuang, now in Bagan, Burma, I look forward to the Mogao Caves, visiting them again, as with Chang-an, and Japan. Saigyo shall guide me back to his great metaphor.