Yoshida Kenko Quotes (displaying: 1 - 16 of 16 quotes)
A certain man who was learning archery faced the target with two arrows in his hand. But his instructor said, ' A beginner ought never to have a second arrow; for as long as he relies upon the other, he will be careless with his first one. At each shot he ought to think that he is bound to settle it with this particular shaft at any cost.' Doubtless he would not intentionally act foolishly before his instructor with one arrow, when he has but a couple. But, though he may not himself realize that he is being careless, his teacher knows it. You should bear this advice in mind on every occasion. (In the same way) he who follows the path of learning thinks confidently in the evening that the morning is coming, and in the morning that the evening is coming, and that he will then have plenty of time to study more carefully ; less likely still is he to recognize the waste of a single moment. How hard indeed is it to do a thing at once-now, the instant that you think of it !
Is there any of the usual social occasions which it is not difficult to avoid? But if you decide that you cannot very well ignore your worldly obligations, and that you will therefore carry them out properly, the demands on your time will multiply, bringing physical hardship and mental tension; in the end, you will spend your whole life pointlessly entangled in petty obligations.
It is a great error to be superior to others....It is such pride as this that makes a man appear a fool, makes him abused by others, and invites disaster. A man who is truly versed in any art will of his own accord be clearly aware of his own deficiency; and therefore, his ambition being never satisfied, he ends by never being proud.
Even those who have an air of being wise judge of others only, and do not know themselves. It cannot be in reason to know others and not to know oneself. Therefore one who knows himself may be said to be a man who has knowledge. Though our looks be unpleasing, we do not know it. We do not know that our skill is poor. We do not know that our station is lowly. We do not know that we grow old in years. We do not know that sickness attacks us. We do not know that death is near. We do not know that we have not attained the Way we follow. We do not know what evil is in our own persons, still less what calumny comes from without.
As a rule the tales which get abroad in the world are false. . . . People always exaggerate things. More so, when months and years have passed and the place is distant do they relate any story they please, or even it put down in writing, so that at least it becomes established fact. . . . Anyhow, it is a world that is full of lies, and we shall make no mistake if we make up our minds that what we hear is really not at all strange and unusual but merely exaggerated in the telling.