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This is the archive for 16 January 2009

Friday, January 16, 2009

Genpou Yamamoto was a Zen priest that so admonished the Japanese prime minister, Kantarou Suzuki, trying to have him stepping back from the positions that would have lead to the disastrous outcomes of the entry in WWII.

What is built on strength, with strength is demolished. What is built on money, with money is demolished. What is built on wisdom is eternal.

The rest is legend. It is said that Mr. Suzuki himself, mortally offended, went at Yamamoto's shrine to collect his personal vengeance. Entering the sacred rooms with his shoes still on, he faced the high priest; looking around, he glimpsed an hanging scroll on the wall, displaying a poetry bearing the signature of Genpou Yamamoto himself. With a brim grim on his face, he took his pocket lighter out, harshly ripped the poetry away from the wall and set it on fire.

"Behold! It just took the strength of my nail and the money of my gas to demolish your wisdom."

It's been in that exact moment that, suddenly, Genpou was enlightened. His face bright, his eyes deep, his brows serene, he deeply lowered his head and said to the Prime Minister: "From the bottom of my heart, I thank you. You have bestowed the most precious of the gifts on me."

Suzuki was deeply disturbed by the monk's reply, partially because he wanted to irritate him and he knew that nothing he could do now would achieve that result, but mainly because, despite the fact that it was evident that the monk was true, Suzuki knew in that moment that he would never be able to understand what that gift was.

He walked away feeling profoundly defeated, as that he was defeated he did know.

One disciple approached Genpou and asked him: "Master, what is this precious gift you received now?"
"He taught me the most important lesson in my life.
"See, what is built on strength, with strength is demolished. What is built on money, with money is demolished. But only one thing can make even wisdom to crumble, and for this we must be aware and defend wisdom against that: stupidity."

A so complex text. Still have no words about this Onmyouza song.

Just one note: while the "moon" has a female character in many occidental cultures, it's considered a male entity in Japan.