72. — Things which seem in poor taste: too many personal effects cluttering up the place where one is sitting; too many brushes in an ink-box; too many Buddhas in a family temple; too many children in a house; too many words in meeting someone; too many meritorious deeds recorded in a petition. Things which are not offensive, no matter how numerous: books in a book cart, rubbish in a rubbish heap.
127. — It is best not to change something if changing it will not do any good.
187. — In any art the specialist, even if he is unskillful, is always superior to the most talented amateur. This is the difference between the man who is habitually cautious and never rash, and the man who does whatever suits his pleasure. This is true not only of the arts and crafts; the source of succcess in the actions and calculations of daily life is to be dull and cautious. To be clever and willful is the source of failure.
– from the Tsurezuregusa of Kenkō (trans. D. Keene)1
- NB — Of all the books I own, this is the one which I have happened to take with me most often on my (admittedly limited) travels. To carry around these short, opinionated essays is like carrying a container of clean, clear water, which provides refreshment at the end of a long day and serves as ballast when the going becomes difficult. [↩]