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“The Priest and His Love” by Yukio Mishima

I have successfully finished this term with a beautiful story by Mishima, which was written in 1954. Mishima composed it based on an anecdote which he had found in the works of a noted Buddhist monk of the 10th century.


The story unfolds around the idea of “Pure Land”. An old priest who has all but abandoned the worldly desires and is ready for the otherworldly falls in love with the emperor’s concubine all of a sudden. As a result, his world which was serene and had no ripples gets shaken and collapses. The main themes which Mishima tackled through his entire life such as the flesh and spirit, this world and the other world, youth and old age are interwoven in the story. What struck me the most is the power of imagination. “By means of microscopic observation and astronomical projection the lotus flower can become the foundation for an entire theory of the universe and an agent whereby we may perceive Truth. And first we must know that each of the petals has eighty-four thousand veins and that each vein gives off eighty-four thousand lights.” With his extraordinary imagination, what kind of world was Mishima constructing? What kind of truth was he seeking? I wonder. I realized again the genius of Mishima through the superb discussion.

 

In this discussion, we had two Mishima enthusiasts, one of whom is a stage director and going to hold two Mishima plays in the near future. Looking forward to them! Speaking of imagination, throughout this term, with each discussion, every participant’s abundant imagination made all the stories even more multifold. Thank you all for the wonderful discussions! We’ll be moving on to a new book “Granta” in the next term (which starts in 3 weeks)! Looking forward to further discussion.


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