I recently read the novel Shogun by James Clavell.
Here are some of my favorite quotes.
Man is But a Blossom in the Wind
“He subdued the land. Made the peace. Forced all the daimyōs in the land to grovel like peasants before him. Rearranged feasts to suit his whim. Promoting some. Deposing others. And then he died. He was a giant among pygmies. But perhaps it’s right that all his work and greatness should die with him. Isn’t man but a blossom taken by the wind, and only the mountains and the sea and the stars and this Land of the Gods real and everlasting?”
Reason & the Law in Japanese Culture
“The law may upset reason but reason may never upset the law, or our whole society will shred like an old tatami. The law may be used to confound reason, reason must certainly not be used to overthrow the law.”
The Study of Men
“It’s always important to take time to study men — important men. Friends and enemies.”
How can a man be so brave and so stupid, so gentle and so cruel, so warming and so detestable — all at the same time?
Death is Our Heritage
Perhaps that is why we love life so much, Anjin-san. You see, we have to. Death is part of our air and sea and earth. You should know, Anjin-san, in this Land of Tears, death is our heritage.
My Only Fear
I’m not afraid, my son. I fear nothing on this earth. I fear only God’s judgment
The Natural Direction of Our Thoughts
“Always remember, child” her first teacher had impressed on her, “that to think bad thoughts is really the easiest thing in the world. If you leave your mind to itself it will spiral you down into ever-increasing unhappiness. To think good thoughts, however, requires effort. This is one of the things that need discipline –training- is about. So train your mind to dwell on sweet perfumes, the touch of this silk, tender raindrops against the shoji, the curve of the flower arrangement, the tranquillity of dawn. Then, at length, you won’t have to make such a great effort and you will be of value to yourself…”
Patience is very important. The strong are the patient ones, Anjin-san, patience means holding back your inclination to the seven emotions: hate, adoration, joy, anxiety, anger, grief, fear. If you don’t give way to the seven, you’re patient, then you’ll soon understand all manner of things and be in harmony with Eternity.
This sunset exists. Tomorrow does not exist. There is only now. Please look. It is so beautiful and it will never happen ever again, never, not this sunset, never in all infinity.