Cover art for Essays in Idleness
Published
Penguin Classics, January 2014
ISBN
9780141192109
Format
Softcover, 224 pages
Dimensions
19.8cm × 12.9cm × 1.3cm

Essays in Idleness and Hojoki

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New to Penguin Classics, these two Japanese texts are timeless reflections on Buddhism, nature and the value of being idle

These two works on life's fleeting pleasures are by Buddhist monks from medieval Japan, but each shows a different world-view. In the short memoir H j ki, Ch mei recounts his decision to withdraw from worldly affairs and live as a hermit in a tiny hut in the mountains, contemplating the impermanence of human existence. Kenko, however, displays a fascination with more earthy matters in his collection of anecdotes, advice and observations. From ribald stories of drunken monks to aching nostalgia for the fading traditions of the Japanese court, Essays in Idleness is a constantly surprising work that ranges across the spectrum of human experience.

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