Thursday, January 5, 2017

108 Worldly Desires

Happy New Year, loyal English impact blog readers. 2016 has come and gone and 2017 is here to stay until 2018.  I admit I don't get so excited about New Year's.  It's basically just a digit or number changing. But it is a big deal in Japan. In fact, it's the biggest deal of the year with traditional New Year's dishes (おせち料理), lucky money (お年玉) and the first visit of the year to a shrine (初詣). Oh, and bells. Lots of bells. 

"Ask not for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee."
John Donne

Being that you are human, the temple bells in Japan toll or ring for you 108 times at midnight on New Year's Eve (除夜の鐘). That is because in Buddhism, everyone has 108 worldly desires (煩悩). When the bells ring, they symbolically cleanse or purify you so you start the year off fresh.

But maybe you want to ask what exactly are these 108 worldly desires. That's a fair question; I don't think most Japanese people have stopped to figure out all of them. Fortunately, that's where a quick Google search can come in handy (便利). So here they are in no particular order (Because, really, how can you rank worldly desires?):


ostentatiousnessgrudgegamblingingratitude
dipsomaniaambitiondominancefaithlessness
manipulationstinginesspessimismhostility
abusedebasementsexual lustsarcasm
humiliationjealousygluttonyunruliness
hurtcrueltyunkindnesslaziness
envyindifferencenegativityfurtiveness
sadismenviousnessderisionfalseness
high-handednessknow-it-allrageaggression
rapacityeffronterydisrespectfulnesshard-heartedness
eagerness for powerlyinginsidiousnessself-denial
inattentivenesscontemptwrathhaughtiness
greed for moneyseducementvindictivenessinsatiability
voluptuousnessexcessivenesscensoriousnessdissatisfaction
egoismignorancehatredgreed
impudenceimposturecursingimperiousness
lecherousnesscallousnessmalignancytorment
intoleranceblasphemyshamelessnessirresponsibility
obsessionprejudicearroganceviolent temper
garrulitydogmatismpresumptionintransigence
oppressionprodigalitylack of comprehensionobstinacy
prideconceitednessdelusionquarrelsomeness
self-hatredviolencevanityhypocrisy
stubbornnessbasenesspretencemercilessness
disrespectridiculemasochismtyranny
capriciousnessdeceitangerdiscord
calculationunyieldingdesire for famedeception

http://www.virtuescience.com/defilements.html

In the time it has taken you to read this far, the odds are one or more of these desires has crossed your mind. I'm guilty of "sarcasm (皮肉)" even now as I put the finishing touches on my first blog of the year. 

But the point of this blog - and I'm sure there is a point here or else I'm guilty of "know-it-all (知的な横柄)" - is that New Year's is a chance to look ahead without regret; a chance to improve your personality and the way you act towards other people; and a chance to hear a lot of bells.

There's that "sarcasm again." Well, I have a whole year to work on improving myself. 

John
www.englishimpact.com
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