Record of My Ten-Foot-Square Hut

Record of My Ten-Foot-Square Hut

Kamo no Chōmei recounts Buddhist concept of mujo (impermanence) by describing various disasters such as conflagration, whirlwind, famine and earthquake that befall the people of the city of Kyoto, in his Hōjōki (The Ten Foot Square Hut). Chōmei had a career of court poet in his earlier year, and he was an accomplished koto and Biwa player (Yoshida, Kamo & McKinney, 2013). He becomes a Buddhist month when he was in his fifties, where he moves farther and farther to the mountains. He eventually ended up living a hut that measured 10-foot square that was located at the Hino Mountain. Even though the work of the Chōmei is mainly classified as zuihitsu genre, the Buddhist element underlying the work makes it fall under the category of Buddhist literary work that is currently classified as Japanese literary classic. Nonetheless, in his work of Hojoki, Chōmei displays a fascination with the earthly matters through his advice and observations.

The small hut of Chōmei in his work, is based much on the accounts of the Indian sage Vimalakīrti that is derived from the Vimalakīrti Sūtra. Record of My Ten-Foot-Square Hut is dominated by the feeling of mappo (end of dharma). This is the age of dharma decline that is a degenerate third age of Buddhism. Chōmei perception of his Karma as all spent is an expression of degenerate third age when people are believed to be unable to get enlightenment from the word of Sakyamuni Buddha, and the whole society becomes morally corrupt. His isolation to the mountain where he is ‘lonely rajaputra’ depicts the latter days when the Dharma will enter its declining time and people will isolate it. In this time, it no longer has any influence in the world compared to the earlier periods (shōbō and zōhō)………………….

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