The Jataka Tale of the Selfless Hare

Long ago, the Bodhisattva was reborn as a hare. He lived in a leafy forest among soft, tender grass and delicate ferns, surrounded by climbing vines and sweet wild orchids. The forest was rich with fruits and bordered by a river of pure water as blue as lapis lazuli.

This forest was a favorite of wandering acestics, people who withdraw from the world to focus on their spiritual journeys. These acestics lived on food they begged from others. The people of that time considered the giving of alms to the holy wanderers be a sacred duty.

The bodhisattva hare had three friends — a monkey, a jackal, and an otter — who looked to the wise hare as their leader. He taught them the importance of keeping moral laws, observing holy days, and giving alms. Whenever a holy day approached, the hare admonished his friends that if someone asked them for food, they were to give freely and generously from the food they had gathered for themselves.

Sakra, lord of devas, was watching the four friends from his great palace of marble and light on the peak of Mount Meru, and on one holy day he decided to test their virtue.

That day, the four friends separated to find food. The otter found seven red fish on a riverbank; the jackal found a lizard and a vessel of curdled milk someone had abandoned; the monkey gathered mangoes from the trees.

Sakra took the form of a Brahman, or priest, and he went to the otter and said, friend, I am hungry. I need food before I can perform my priestly duties. Can you help me? And the otter offered the Brahman the seven fish he had gathered for his own meal.

Then the Brahman went to the jackal, and said, friend, I am hungry. I need food before I can perform my priestly duties. Can you help me? And the jackal offered the Brahman the lizard and curdled milk he had planned to have for his own meal.

Then the Brahman went to the monkey, and said friend, I am hungry. I need food before I can perform my priestly duties. Can you help me? And the monkey offered the Brahman the juicy mangoes he had looked forward to eating himself.

Then the Brahman went to the hare and asked for food, but the hare had no food but the lush grass growing in the forest. So the Bodhisattva told the Brahman to build a fire, and when the fire was burning, he said, I have nothing to give you to eat but myself! Then, the hare threw himself into the fire.

Sakra, still disguised as a Brahman, was astonished and deeply moved. He caused the fire to be cold, so the hare was not burned, and then revealed his true form to the selfless little hare. Dear hare, he said, your virtue will be remembered through the ages. And then Sakra painted the wise hare’s likeness on the pale face of the Moon, for all to see.

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The story of the Selfless Hare is an example of a Jataka Tale. This story depicts the incarnation of the being who would become the future Buddha. In this story, the one referred to as the Bodhisattva is Buddha or the hare.

This story does not only display the wide ranges of reincarnation but also karma and in this case, good karma. Because of the remarkable action that the hare showed Sakra, he rewarded him by painting the hare on the moon.

Sakra returned to his home on Mount Meru, and the four friends lived long and happily in their beautiful forest. And to this day, those who look up at the Moon can see the image of the selfless hare.

Peculiar?

1. agadi-nwayi: old woman

It was my first time helping an agadi-nwayi cross the street.

2. ekwe: a musical instrument; a type of drum made from wood

Everyone danced to the beat as the little boy hit his ekwe. 

3. iba: fever

I’ve been absent for almost a week because of iba which later on turned out to be dengue.

4. efulefu: wothless man

Is it right to call a murderer an efulefu?

5. inyanga: showing off, bragging

Everyone in class dislikes him because he was always inyanga the material things he had.

6. ogene: a musical instrument; a kind of gong

We wanted the ogene to stand out in the new ethnic song we’re creating.

7. Uri: part of the betrothal ceremony when the dowry is paid

My mother had prepared lots and lot of food for my sister’s Uri.

8. ndichie: elders

The best part of our family reunion was the part where the ndichie sang “Bang Bang”.

9. obi: the large living quarters of the head of the family

I had to bring my father’s dinner to his obi  because he could not get out of bed because of high fever.

10. ochumurder of manslaughter

He was captured by the police yesterday because he was accused of ochu. 

In a Grove·Rashomon

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Rashomon and In a Grove are two stories that are quite similar and at the same time different. Rashomon displays the endless possibilites in life while In a Grove revolves around the nature of truth. The picture above is an example of dark and light which may also be a representation on my take from both stories.

In life, there are ups and downs. You may refer to it as light and dark just like the servant from Rashomon. He had his ups and he also had his downs and from that we get the darkness and light in our life. On the other hand, even though there is darkness, there is a small chance of light. In the photo, the darker side shows a hint of light. This means that no matter how dark it may seem, there’s still hope in life. In a Grove displays countless possibilites, lies, truth and a lot more confusing things. Even though it may seem that there’s no hope left in the story, you just need to have faith in seeking the truth then it will eventually come to you.

The Great Wave off Kanagawa |Representation of Japanese Aesthetics

The Great Wave off Kanagawa also known as The Great Wave is an ukiyo-e woodblock print by Japanese artist Hokusai. It is Hokusai’s most well-known creation and famous artwork for Western collections. This artwork displays enormous waves carrying boats off Kanagawa and a sight of Mt. Fuji.

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The Japanese Aesthetics can be considered as weird. But sometimes weird things are better than the ordinary. Through the Japanese Aesthetics, I learned to appreciate the beauty in everything. The flaws that we think destroys us can be something that makes us into something more beautiful. The everyday life we get bored about is something beautiful in the context of the Japanese Aesthetics. It is surprisingly different but at the same time it’s something worth it.

This work can easily display different Japanese Aesthetics. The waves which are very obvious in the work tells us the message of how tsunamis are highly possible to occur in Japan. It shows how lack of steadiness can become something beautiful. With that, it is safe to say that the picture shows that even with the presence of a wave that is about to bring destruction to the people, there is such a thing as Japanese Aesthetics that in some way considers perishability beautiful. The Mt. Fuji can be considered as an icon for Japan and in some way it is something normal or simply Japanese. Speaking of simplicity, Japanese Aesthetics is also about simplicity and not fancy things which we grew up to believe because of all those Western influences. In Japanese Aesthetics, there’s no need for perfection. Imperfection is beautiful and embracing your flaws makes you beautiful.

Subway by Etsuro Sakamoto — Sidewalk | the resemblance

“Everyday I step into a coffin

With strangers

Nailing hurriedly

My own coffin,

I go toward the city

To be buried alive.”

— “Subway,” Etsuro Sakamoto

The first time I read this poem, I wasn’t expecting to get a lot from it. It seemed a bit plain or it is really plain. But just like all plain things, there’s always a story behind. The title itself speaks about how we might visualize the story. It’s a subway. A place where in thousands of unfamiliar people are always in a hurry. It’s a place where I’d display my bored face simply because there’s no such thing as ‘fun’ in riding the train (if you do it everyday). The poem also provides us with an element of time as it starts with the word “everyday”. By “everyday”, we mean it is done repeatedly, constantly and may even be part of a routine. This poem displays the repeated action of the persona and their struggles in the everyday life. As the poem was explained to me in a deeper manner, I’ve come to realize that it was more than bored faces, subways and life struggles. Subway by Etsuro Sakamoto revolves around how the persona decided to write their own fate. The lines from the poem are in the persona’s point of view as he/she explains how they make their own fate even though it was somehow ‘forced’. This poem is about how a person feels about doing something they don’t like or even love. They don’t do it because they want to. They do it because they have to. It’s been a daily routine that the persona gets sick and tired of it but in the end, still has no choice but to continue. Knowing my self, I know that I lose all the excitement I have in my body if I don’t like what I’m about to do. It’s practically the same thing with the persona. The persona hurriedly assembles their own death every time they do something they don’t really want. As they head to their destination, they prepare themselves to be buried alive again.

I am not that kind of person who lies about not liking happily ever afters. I am  that kind of person who would want every character to get their own chance to have a happily ever after. The sad truth behind the poem Subway was an eye-opener. It may seem small but it can give this feeling of wanting to go beyond the things you do. It speaks about letting yourself not to have the happily ever after you always wanted.

“I walk down the street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I fall in.
I am lost… I am helpless.
It isn’t my fault.
It takes forever to find a way out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I pretend I don’t see it.
I fall in again.
I can’t believe I am in the same place.
But, it isn’t my fault.
It still takes me a long time to get out.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I see it is there.
I still fall in. It’s a habit.
My eyes are open.
I know where I am.
It is my fault. I get out immediately.

I walk down the same street.
There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.
I walk around it.

I walk down another street.”

— There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk, Portia Nelson

This Poem is entitled “There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk. I find it very similar to Mr. Etsuro Sakamoto’s poem, Subway. First things first, both poems talks about an action done on a daily basis. It also speaks about making decisions that could seal your fate. In the poem, There’s a Hole in My Sidewalk, the persona knows that every fall was his fault yet he ignored it. It was very similar to Subway because the person knows that by doing something you don’t like, you slowly murder you’re whole being because there is always something missing. Even though both personas in the two poems knew their mistakes, they didn’t stop because they knew that they had to do it. The persona felt that they forced themselves to do things because they had to even though they had to go through it everyday. It was very hard not to slowly murder yourself because what you were doing was something you are not interested in. Both poems end without a clear answer. It doesn’t speak of change and even puts you back to the thought of starting from the top. It does not show whether the persona has finally decided to go their on way because that’s what they want to do or if the persona continues in preparing their own death and struggle in the everyday life.

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Kulay ng Buhay

Minsan sa iyong buhay, iba-iba ang madarama
Damdamin mo’y nag-iiba, mula puti hanggang pula
Puso mo’y tila lalabas na kabog ng dibdib na di mapigilan
Parang tambol ang lakas na pati manhid ay nagugulat

Ang dating puti na tila ay wala, sa paglipas ng panahon
Sa mata’y nagiging pula, umuusbong na paghanga iyong nadarama
Sing tamis ng bukayo, pagsinta kung tawagin nila
Mula puti hanggang pula, pag-ibig nga ang nadama

Kung pakiramdam mo’y nag-iisa, paligid ay nawawalan ng kulay May mga bagay na sa iyo’y nakakapagpasaya, mundo’y inuulan ng dilaw
Kakaibang saya taglay nito na pati ang pangit ay gumaganda
Mga puno’t sanga ay napapasayaw

May mga pagkakataong na damdamin ay mabigat
Di mapigilan na ika’y mapalumbaba
Madilim ang nakikita sapagkat ilaw ay wala
Tanging bughaw at luntian na tila anino ang nakikita

Bughaw at luntian ay mabigat sa mata
Pakiramdam mo tuloy ay nababagabag
Napupuno ng hinagpis sa tuwing ito’y makikita
Sa panahon na ito ang iyong napapansin

Tulad ng araw ito’y may taglay na kinang
Kulay na sa iyong pangingin ay nakakabighani
Anumang dilim ng bughaw at luntian
Ginto ay tiyak na mas makikita

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