★thinking things through to the bitter end ― Sayaka makes sure she can meet Jaugo again… and again… in a chain of dreamy realities★
Jaugo: Dreams as realities or realities as dreams ― a dream can surely be assumed as “reality” in that particular dream, while what we call “reality” might be something merely assumed so in our dreams ― what we call reality, this world, this life, this existence, may turn out to be a dream. A dream seen in a dream is nothing but reality. Is this realty really reality, or merely an assumed reality in a dream? An old favorite topic of Zen teachers and pupils, based on the premise of there being no answer, without really trying to arrive at any conclusion, just enjoying being esoteric and keeping any party involved from emerging victorious ― totally Japanese in its evasive nature ― a little too tame a theme, to be sure, especially after our talk of “vaguely familiar rebroadcast”… what do you think, Sayaka-san?
Sayaka: About this TANKA? Or about a dream in a dream in a dream in a dream…?
Jaugo: This TANKA first.
Sayaka: I wonder what he would do after he should “現も今は現と思はじ（utsutsu mo ima wa utsutsu to omowaji = stop regarding reality as reality）” ― would he regard reality as a dream? And regard his dream as reality? Then, would he indulge himself in the world of his own fancy? Like such phantasmal novelists as… who was it? Edo… Pope?
Jaugo: Edgar Allan Poe（1809-1849）, or 江戸川乱歩（Edogawa Rampo：1894-1965）?
Sayaka: Yes, like those Ram & Paw… would he just exchange his fancy for reality?
Jaugo: Phantasmal novels like Poe’s or Rampo’s would be a little too premature for Heianese folks; about seven to eight centuries too early.
Sayaka: When did the poet make this TANKA?
Jaugo: Exact date unknown; but he is known to have existed in 1185.
Sayaka: What happened in “reality” in those days?
Jaugo: That’s a good question ― 治承・寿永の乱（Jishou&Jouei no ran：1180-1185） between the two warrior clans of 源氏（Genji = the Minamotos） and 平家（Heike = the Tairas）.
Sayaka: Wow! It’s wartime at the end of Heian era!
Jaugo: The worst time for everyone in 京都（Kyoto）… after the war, Heianese nobles in Kyoto lost so many things ― luxurious life, possessions, privileges, future prospects, and political hegemony ― 源頼朝（Minamoto-no-Yoritomo：1147-1199） opened the first 幕府（bakufu = Shogunate） governed by 侍（samurai = warriors） in 1192, not in 京都（Kyoto） but in 鎌倉（Kamakura）, in the eastern part of Japan. Dream was over for the nobles in Kyoto.
Sayaka: Then, this poet was justified in regarding such chaotic realities as dreams, or nightmares.
Jaugo: You could say so.
Sayaka: But, just crying over spilt milk and regarding this life as a nightmare wouldn’t solve any problem in reality. What I want to know is what would this poet do after that. What would such men do in those days? Commit suicide?
Jaugo: Suicide was no option for Heianese nobles, although it was already very popular among 侍（samurai） warriors. Tales of war such as 『平家物語（Heike-monogatari）』 are full of stories of samurai warriors or even their wives and children killing themselves as a kind of demonstration of their courage, pride, faith, despair, anger, whatever. But nobles would never think of killing themselves; they stick to life.
Sayaka: Then, would he turn to the world of religion for salvation of his soul?
Jaugo: To turn his back on the crazy world, yes ― for the salvation of soul, no. Buddhism in those days was powerless to save human soul, the world of Buddhist monks was just a safe haven from the more relentless reality. Temples in Japan were not so much celestial as secular, it was a second loose reality, so to speak. Anyway, Japanese Buddhist world in those days was totally unlike the Church of Christ in the western world, whose practical purpose it was to absorb folks rejected or expelled from the harsh reality of ruthless struggle for existence in the secular world. In other words, there was no religious world worthy of the name in Japan; there was just another secular world in the name of Buddha, but with little or no respect for the authentic teachings of Buddha.
Sayaka: How can you say that with such assurance?
Jaugo: Japanese people in Heian period had no exact notion of the afterlife, nor did they ever seriously think about it. Or about the nature and mechanism of “retribution（天罰：tenbatsu）”; or “reincarnation（輪廻転生：rinne-tensei）”; or “karma（因業：ingou）”… anything! The Japanese simply did not and do not think seriously about any such abstract ideas, or for that matter, any popular names of things or people like 和泉式部（Izumi-shikibu） or 六歌仙（rokkasen = six holy poets） or 日本国憲法（Nihon-koku-kempou = the Constitution of Japan）. They just hear about things and refer to their names, not contents, and come to believe they know them well enough just because they know their names and they can refer to them in front of others or respond to the names when others refer to them ― that’s all: they don’t think things through to the bitter end. The Japanese, now as of old, are just too lukewarm in their interest or quest… oh-ho, I seem to be going overboard, sorry if I lost you, Sayaka-san.
Sayaka: I love overboarders, I’m an overboarder myself. Just go on to the bitterest end, Jaugo-san.
Jaugo: To the bitterest end of what?
Sayaka: How about “reincarnation”? It sounds like my favorite topic.
Jaugo: Through several lives as birds into this world as a fierce bird-loving girl?
Sayaka: Yes, such stuff. Tell me more.
Jaugo: Don’t you remember that I forget almost anything about my former lives?
Sayaka: How could I forget: you are the very one who taught me that wonderful idea of “vaguely familiar” or “largely forgotten rebroadcast”. I’m asking you to tell me how people in Heian era Japan thought about such ideas, living as something in former lives to be reborn as something else into this world.
Jaugo: They had quite primitive and totally vulgar kind of ideas about “reincarnation” as a result of “karma”… I’d even hate to put it on my mouth ― would you still like to hear it?
Sayaka: Tell me, so that I could hate it, along with you.
Jaugo: Japanese people in Heian period, and long after that, possibly into the present day I’m afraid, thought ― quite vaguely ― that everything in this world was predetermined by the accumulation of activities in former lives. If you have accumulated quite a lot of good deeds in your former lives, you will be rewarded for those “good points” you have accumulated… maybe that’s why Sayaka-san is so cute and bright in this life, they’d say.
Sayaka: And so she is enjoying this delightful conversation with Jaugo-san?
Jaugo: That much I wouldn’t say.
Sayaka: Because you are too shy or too modest?
Jaugo: Because I’m sure I haven’t accumulated so many “good points” as to be rewarded with such delightful experiences, judging from the “rewards” I’ve got in this world so far. Being able to talk with you like this cannot be a heavenly bonus for me… if this “reincarnation” of mine is the result of my past “karma”, that is.
Sayaka: You don’t like the idea of being rewarded for your past deeds?
Jaugo: If that “past” is limited to this life, I have no objections: I have to answer for what I’ve done ― that’s justice: I love justice. But the idea of having to answer for those “pasts” which I know nothing about in this life just exasperates me ― there ain’t no justice in such ideas.
Sayaka: You hate the idea of “revolving retribution”.
Jaugo: Mm… you are quite a copywriter, Sayaka-san ― “revolving retribution” ― how nice it sounds… by the way, what does “revolving” mean?
Sayaka: “Revolving” as opposed to “lump-sum” payments of one’s past sins. It comes as a surprise when I almost forget about my sins.
Jaugo: What sins do you commit by credit cards, Sayaka-san?
Sayaka: My buying spree…
Jaugo: …I don’t know how to respond… just… be prudent, please.
Sayaka: I will. Say, Jaugo-san, aside from such negative aspects of “karma”, why do you hate the idea of happy payback? I’d gladly accept anything good in this life as a reward or bonus from Heaven, be it “revolving” or “lump-sum”. If you do something good, you will be rewarded with something good ― isn’t that nice? People thinking like that will be prone to good deeds than bad. Likewise, people may think twice before they do something bad if they were taught as a kid that bad deeds would be repaid with something bad. Am I wrong in thinking like this?
Jaugo: That’s a very primitive kind of morality ― I simply hate and despise it.
Jaugo: You must never do anything good with any good reward on your mind. If you do anything good, you feel good in doing it, that’s all ― anything more than that “good feeling” is a bonus, no regular payment you may count on. If you count on any reward, you are doing that for business, not doing something good, but simply working.
Sayaka: But, if you do something good, don’t you have a feeling that something still more good may come upon you some day?
Jaugo: No. My personal experiences give me much evidence to the contrary: I have done countless good deeds in my life, simply for the sake of my self-satisfaction, at the sacrifice of my time, energy, money and many other things, with much more to lose than get in return. Still, I have no intention of giving up doing good than bad in this world, simply because I can never forgive myself for not doing good when I have an opportunity to do so ― no matter how great the “penalty” for doing good and feeling good about myself.
Sayaka: Penalty? Not reward?
Jaugo: In fact, I have been repaid with much more penalty than reward in doing something good. The balance sheet of this world gives practically no consideration to morality. Doing bad is definitely more lucrative in this world, that’s the reality. That’s why we ― I hope you included ― must do good “to the bad”, since good deeds “to the good” is an idiot’s dream in the moral balance sheet of this world… am I losing you, Sayaka-san?
Sayaka: No, I’m still with you, always with you, you know. Yes, I’ll stop thinking about any reward for doing good. I’ll do good just for doing good and feeling good about myself.
Jaugo: Good. And there’s only one reward for doing good ― the good vibration between those doing good.
Sayaka: I know the feeling! I get good vibes from you… and you from me, Jaugo-san?
Jaugo: Yes. And remember ― those who just keep doing bad yet lucrative things only will desperately despise and detest those who are genuinely doing good… the former will attempt to defile the latter by calling them “DO-GOODERS”… Beware of those creatures who use vulgar terms like that ― you have nothing to gain and everything to lose by having anything to do with such detestably selfish creatures.
Sayaka: I’ll keep that in mind ― avoid those who hate and laugh at “do-gooders”.
Jaugo: The Japanese in Heian era, particularly the nobles, simply performed Buddhist dedication as “a business for reward”. They really believed that everything “good” from Buddhist point of view would be an additional “point” in their “karma” which would surely be rewarded in their afterlife. So, every noble one in old age would cut off their hair and adopt some Buddhist names and declare themselves “出家（shukke = Buddhist priests）”, although they never quite deserted their prestigious secular status. And they had no doubt the earlier they declared themselves “出家（shukke = Buddhist priests）”, the more “karma points” they could get. Rich nobles in the final stage of their lives would make as much material donation to Buddhist temples or priests, with a view to increasing their “afterlife points” ― they could never bring with them material wealth in this world after their death, but “karma points” were supposed to be continually effective throughout the lifetime of their “souls”… what a filthy soul it would be if it could be upgraded simply by “karma points”, namely “money” ― the noble and the affluent would be more and more noble and affluent in their afterlife because they could afford to accumulate “karma points” on the strength of their prestigious social status, while the ignoble and the underprivileged would be less and less noble and privileged because they were too much hard pressed for living in this life to accumulate any additional “karma points” for the afterlife… totally laughable and detestable idea, but that’s the truth of the loose idea of “afterlife” or “karma” or “reincarnation” among Heianese nobles: they simply wanted to retain their own privileges at the total sacrifice of all the rest of society ― simply put, religion in those days was a minion of the rich, not the savior of the poor. And if you dare to face the truth, such pseudo religious “karma point” notion still persists in Japan. So many temples and shrines will try to gather as many money-donating visitors as possible by shamelessly advertising “If you come on this particular day, you can gain ten times as much Heavenly reward!”… Why do the Japanese never abhor such laughable and detestable acts? Because they simply DO NOT CARE about religion or faith or anything so seriously: the Japanese never think things out to the bitter end ― otherwise, they would have much better concepts and deeds as regards religion, death, afterlife, Heaven, Hell, and this life… Oh-ho, this time, I must have lost you, Sayaka-san?
Sayaka: No. Who do you take me for? Your constant sidekick! I’ll follow you to the bitter end.
Jaugo: Even to the Hell prepared by Japanese Buddhists?
Sayaka: It’s OK going there with you, Jaugo-san; their Hell should be not so much Hellish as FOOLISH ― they don’t think seriously about Hell, either, right?
Jaugo: You are right. Their Hell is merely a dustbin to put all “rebels” in; everyone not quite obedient to the Japanese consensus was, and is, supposed to go to Japanese Hell. They just don’t think about what would happen if such Japanese Hell of rebels outnumbered and overwhelmed their Japanese Heaven of meek believers. And the result is simply miserable, laughably miserable ― the hopeless impasse in Japanese society, economy, politics, military, electricity, pension, national deficit, declining population, degraded education, demoralized population, and so on, and so on ― just miserable! They just don’t think things through and fight it out. You will only go straight down to real Hell if you allow yourself to get carried away along with such non-thinking Japanese… Now, are you still with me, Sayaka-san?
Sayaka: I’ll go along with you, Jaugo-san, straight down to Japanese Hell, through which to ascend to real Heaven.
Jaugo: Dogged girl. OK, then, I’ll pay homage to your guts and your catchy phrase “revolving retribution” and go on to tell you why I hate Japanese nobles in Heian era so much. They thought that people or things that were miserable in this world were deservedly miserable because of their “low karma points”. It was their own fault that the miserable were miserable. So, they didn’t have to feel pity for those miserable creatures, they should just leave the miserable in their misery, never thinking about what they should do to help them out of such miserable conditions. Social reform through salvation of the miserable and underprivileged was simply not in the options of Heianese nobles. On the contrary, those noble creatures of Heian era Japan simply hated the notion of touching the lowly and miserable: if they touched such filthy things, their filth and bad luck would rub off upon them; so, the nobles of Heian period stubbornly avoided anything they felt to be filthy. Those who were miserable were left as they were, while those who were affluent and happy were simply busy trying to increase their “karma points” for their afterlife, not for the betterment of society in general… what would become of such a wretched world?
Sayaka: Everyone will be unhappy in the end.
Jaugo: Yes. The noble folks of Heian era hated “filth” of the lowly and the miserable, therefore, they gave no thought to the bloody, lowly, miserable and detestable gorillas at their Imperial Court called “侍（samurai = warriors）”, regarding and treating them as “two-footed watch dogs”, until the power and wrath of such samurai warriors grew up and exploded like the Big Bang in the form of 源平合戦（Gen-pei kassen = the war between the clans of Genji and Heike） culminating in the decline of aristocracy and the hegemony of samurai warriors. The Japanese simply insist on ignoring the cause of their doom. The lowly and miserable in Japanese society either have to endure their miserable conditions until the end of time, or they must destroy the old stale condition to rebuild something totally new, with absolutely no help and relatively small resistance from the “mainstream Japanese”. Reformation in Japan could never be “democratic” but would always be “autocratic”, and yet often unbelievably smooth… all because the Japanese simply DO NOT CARE what is going on around them: they just wait and see what will prevail in the end ― and will simply follow the winning side, that’s all: the Japanese only participate in the result, without playing any positive role in the process… Now, have I lost you, Sayaka-san?
Sayaka: No. And why do I have an impression that you are trying consciously to lose me, when you must have known well enough that you could never lose me, whatever you do?
Jaugo: I don’t want to lose you, Sayaka-san, but this series of conversation over Japanese TANKA is about to end: this is the last episode but one.
Jaugo: Are you shocked?
Sayaka: I knew it would come some day… all good things come to an end.
Jaugo: We’ve come a long way…
Sayaka: Just a moment, aren’t you going to finish off this episode, Jaugo-san?
Jaugo: Am I not supposed to do that?
Sayaka: Don’t you forget something we should do?
Jaugo: What is it?
Sayaka: A dream in a dream ― in a dream in a dream… that’s what I want to talk about with you.
Jaugo: Oh, yeah, I forgot… you are a dreaming girl, Sayaka-san.
Sayaka: I dreamt about you last night.
Jaugo: Mm… I’m honored to be a part of your dream.
Sayaka: Not just last night. So many times. More often than ever since you introduced me to the world of “vaguely familiar rebroadcast”.
Jaugo: Am I behaving myself in your dreams?
Sayaka: He will always behave like you, Jaugo-san, listening to my stories and telling me the things I want to know. Maybe he is just rebroadcasting what you said in reality. But I sometimes seem to hear him say what you didn’t say in reality, or I seem to hear you say what he said in a dream. Strange to say, I know what you are thinking or what you are about to say, Jaugo-san… in my dream. Or it may not be strange at all, because it’s my dream. But I’m not trying to put my words into your mouth, you speak your words, not mine, just as naturally as you do here in reality. It feels as if this reality is also one of such dreams. Maybe I’m dreaming in my dream that I’m really talking with you. This talk, this life, this existence of mine, and you, may all be part of my dream, which may also be part of another dream, which dream may be part of just another dream…
Jaugo: You may be forever dreaming in a long, exciting chain of sleep?
Sayaka: Maybe I’m just a little blue bird living in a cage of your room dreaming about my life with you as your… sweetheart or something.
Jaugo: Or a cute little cat sleeping on my lap?
Sayaka: Or an old woman who is about do die remembering her life story, only a little too dramatically remodeled according to her ideals.
Jaugo: Or maybe both of us are already dead, our bodies are already gone, only our consciousness, or soul, or spirit, or mental core, whatever, still remaining in the dark empty space of the universe, dreaming about this life or that… simply because “it” ― whatever it is ― is tired of sleeping in endurable eternity.
Sayaka: Maybe this life is just a series of dreams, which will end not when we are dead, but when our consciousness or soul or spirit or mental core is tired of dreaming on and wants to get back to eternal sleep.
Jaugo: And that eternal sleep may not be eternal at all ― whenever it gets tired of sleeping, it may wake up again to indulge in a series of dreams… a series of dreams in a seamless sequence of existence… or nonexistence… at once nothing and everything… sleeping but living… unreal yet so real… a dream apparently real… reality like a dream. All those talks I had with you seem too good to be real… I wound’t be surprised if you told me they were just dreams in your sleep…
Sayaka: I seem to have heard you say what you said just now… am I still dreaming, Jaugo-san?
Jaugo: Perhaps we are both dreaming, have been dreaming, dreaming that we’ve found the best partner to engage in a series of poetical adventure with.
Sayaka: So, all these talks we had together may have been a dream?
Jaugo: A wonderful dream. Would it sound too sad, Sayaka-san?
Sayaka: No. If it should end tomorrow, I’d rather it was a dream: if it was a dream, I could hope to meet you again, whenever I felt like meeting you… Would you come and see me then, Jaugo-san?
Jaugo: Whenever you ask me to.
Sayaka: In reality, as in a dream?
Jaugo: Whichever. Well, in case you forget, there is one more TANKA waiting for us to talk about. Let’s reserve the word of “good-bye” until the end of that episode.
Sayaka: No, I’ll never say “good-bye”, because I’m sure to meet you again… in reality or in a dream, whatever… whenever. So… see you, Jaugo-san.
Jaugo: Until next time, pleasant dreams, Sayaka-san.
(on the heart of ten examples in the sutra of Yuima telling us that our existence in this world is just like a dream)
A dream is never a dream while I’m in it it’s nothing but real.
What’s real would never be real so long as I believe it unreal.
This world I’ll deem as unreal… for it’s already too much to be real.
ほど【ほど】〔副助〕＜POSTPOSITIONAL PARTICLE(TIME):the duration, occasion＞
は【は】〔係助〕＜POSTPOSITIONAL PARTICLE(TIME):while, for＞
る【る】〔助動ラ下二型〕受身（れ＝未然形）＜AUXILIARY VERB(PASSIVE VOICE)＞
ば【ば】〔接助〕＜POSTPOSITIONAL PARTICLE(REASON):because, and so＞
…when I’m in the middle of it, a dream is never to be known as a dream; likewise
も【も】〔係助〕＜POSTPOSITIONAL PARTICLE(ADDITION):also, too, as well＞
いま【今】〔名〕＜NOUN(ADVERB):now, from now on＞
おもふ【思ふ】〔他ハ四〕（おもは＝未然形）＜VERB:think, regard, consider＞
じ【じ】〔助動特殊型〕打消推量（じ＝終止形）＜AUXILIARY VERB(NEGATIVE VOLITION):would not, intend not to＞
…now I’m determined I would never consider this reality to be the reality [I would instead regard my life as a series of dreams]
《miru hodo wa yume mo yume to mo shirare ne ba utsutsu mo ima wa utsutsu to omowa ji》
■fin de siecle a la Heianese■
As has been pointed out in the conversation above, the last two decades of 1100s were nothing but a series of nightmare for Heianese nobles in 京都（Kyoto）. Such desperate times would certainly ask for desperate measures, both secular and celestial. On the secular plane, the brutal conflict between 源氏（Genji = the Minamotos） and 平家（Heike = the Tairas） was more than effective in terminating the political, economic and cultural stalemate in and around 京都（Kyoto）; on the celestial plane, however, Buddhism in those days was less than effective… most people in and around Kyoto simply had nothing in this world to rely upon, economically or spiritually. What about their afterlife? Well, since their fuzzy notion about the “afterlife” did not go beyond the “replay of another life in this same secular world”, with Heaven or Hell not at all so rigidly established as in the Christian world, there was practically no hope left for the Japanese in such desperate times, it seems.
The following TANKA is a sissy warning against those who were so desperate as to wish to desert their lives ― physically ― made by 慈円（Jien：1155-1225） who headed the Buddhist circle of 天台宗（tendai-shuu）:
《おもふべきわがのちのよはあるかなきか なければこそはこのよにはすめ：omou beki wa ga nochi no yo wa aru ka naki ka nakere bakoso wa ko no yo ni wa sume》『新古今集（Shin-Kokin-shuu）』雑（Miscellany） No.1827 思ふべき我が後の世は有るか無きか(I am not sure whether the afterlife that I dream of in my ideals does or does not exist)無ければこそは(in case it does not exist)此の世には住め(I’m determined to stick to my life in this world)
・・・This might have been a personally honest statement of 慈円（Jien）, but a totally powerless preach from the mouth of the head of the religious order.
Japanese authority, now as of old, is only powerful in peacetime but miserably powerless in desperate times ― lukewarm attitudes of the Japanese in general is simply unfit for coping positively with adversity. Thank God if you happen to be born in good times; lament over the absence of God if you happen to be born into hard times ― that’s the way of all flesh on this Japanese soil…
If you happen to be born into such bad times now, however, you may have two options: 1)just lament over your bad luck: your “karma points” were too low, tough luck! 2)try to do anything within your power to make this world a better place to live in: you may not accumulate (indeed reduce!) your “karma points” by trying to destroy the supposedly inviolable framework of Japanese society, yet you can save your damned life from the stale death of inaction in the pond of shit by the steady flow of action and humble self-satisfaction. 平清盛（Taira-no-Kiyomori：1118-1181） did that to break through the Heianese stalemate; 織田信長（Oda-Nobunaga：1534-1582） did that to forcibly terminate the 戦国（Sengoku = warring state) pandemonium ― see how much they accomplished without any support from the stale establishment of Japan, making bad names for themselves among their contemptuous contemporaries… Boys and girls ambitious for any breakthrough, don’t expect public support, don’t be afraid of scorn, just think things through to the bitter end and arrive at your assured conclusion on which to wade through the muddle of aidless struggles. Though the tide is always against you, just ignore it: tide and air are only temporary and contemporary, they have no place in eternity. Keep faith that time is on your side, that you will eventually prevail: when you do prevail, no one will ever remember or care about the tide or air that stubbornly resisted you.
”Karma points” are only effective so long as some authority keeps vouching for their validity: reversely put, believers in such eternally effective “karma points” are the dogged slaves to established authorities and the archenemies of any “change” for good or evil: when their resistance proves to be “evil”, never hesitate to destroy their harmful belief in “eternal karma points” beyond any possible recovery… Now, my dear Japanese reader[s], have I led you closer to the reason why 平清盛（Taira-no-Kiyomori） tried to move the capital from the noble old town of 京都（Kyoto） to the potentially global port of 福原（Fukuhara = the present-day 神戸：Koube）, and 織田信長（Oda-Nobunaga） dared to kill off the “2nd secular laymen” thronging in the totally rotten 比叡山（Hieizan）, while trying out Christian missionaries as a possible corrective against the corrupted Buddhist establishment? Don’t be afraid to be called “DEVIL!” ― who but DAREDEVILS are capable of any real reformation, innovation or creation? Seek your friends not in evanescent bubbles of tide but in the eternal flow of time.
We provide you not with actual conversation partners, but we enable you to engage in intellectually enticing conversation with Sayaka-san/Jaugo-san(…no mean feat, isn’t it?)
WEB lessons by ZUBARAIE LLC. are currently for JAPANESE students only, conducted in Japanese language (…sorry for English speakers)