The Outgoingness of the Heart

In no Chinese poet’s works does compassion for human suffering play so large a part. The works of his maturity — the ballads, satires and petitions- — are largely grounded on pity, and even at…

Intellectual Superiority Complex

Ivan Karamazov has lost his faith precisely because he has elevated himself above the people. In this case, “the people” are not necessarily peasants, but are what Ivan, a modern intellectual, is not: human beings…

Camerados

I swore an oath of eternal brotherhood with Yuan-ruo, and pledged him my everlasting allegiance, as an expression of my lifelong loyalty to him.  Chinese people have always treated their friends with this sort of…

Moving toward Perfection

When Turgenev pleaded with him to return to the literary art that had first won him fame, he did not understand that for Tolstoy the measure of true greatness was not what we were but…

He Knew His Books

Jesus’ education in the Hebrew Bible is so extraordinary that he is able to quote a wide variety of texts with ease—and to interpret them with great depth. His knowledge of Moses’ Torah in particular…

Specks and Seeds

Incidentally, I have already mentioned that although he lost his mother in his fourth year, he remembered her afterwards all his life, her face, her caresses, “as if she were standing alive before me.” Such…

From Fyodor Dostoevsky to Thich Nhat Hanh

“Compassion will give meaning and understanding to Rogozhin himself. Compassion is the chief and perhaps only law of being  for all mankind.”—Fyodor Dostoevsky, The Idiot Please call me by my true name,so that I can…

For Sure

Surely there can be nothing to distinguish us from the beasts, if we simply devote ourselves to greed and never turn our hearts to the Buddhist truth.—Yoshida Kenkō, Essays in Idleness What is a man,If…

New Life

Later I’m back in New York sitting around with Irwin and Simon and Raphael and Lazarus, and now we’re famous writers more or less, but they wonder why I’m so sunk now, so unexcited as…

Don’t Be a Sleepwalker

My instructor asked questions such as: What had I done, in detail, from the time I had awakened until the time I arrived at the session, a period of one and a half hour? ……