Paul Fort: What is death
Jim Harrison: What cannot be said will get wept

Naoki Nabeshima: True kindness can be learned from grief

Kobayashi Issa... lost his wife when he was young. Although he remarried in his latter life, his children died one after another at about the age of one year. Remembering such sad experiences, he composed this poem:Persimmons_by_photoartist3_at_flickr_1

A bitter persimmon’s
bitterness itself
turns naturally into its sweetness.

Perhaps Issa’s state of mind in his poem could be re-phrased like this.

Tears of sadness
themselves naturally turn
into compassion.

We cannot change the reality of impermanence expressed in the separation from the loved one. But facing the sadness without turning away from the past, just as the bitterness of a persimmon turns into sweetness by itself, grief eventually turns into kindness in the heart, and from there new tolerance is born....True kindness can be learned from grief.

        --From Shinran’s Approaches towards Bereavement and Grief , by Naoki Nabeshima. Translated by Eisho Nasu


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