Irregular Weekly Four 18: 一味同心, 諸行無常

All things must pass:
This is the rule of life and death.
End life, end death:
Enter Nirvana, become joyful.

I've covered a lot of compounds that come from classical Chinese literature. Here's one from the Japanese canon, specifically the Tale of the Heike (平家物語).

ichi mi dou shin
one interest, same spirit

Here it is in context, which means section 8.3 of ol' Heikalot, at least according to this rather excellent online version. I've bolded いちみどうしん (the hiragana for 一味同心) and its English equivalent in my translation.

The province of Bungo was ruled by Yorisuke, Secretary of Justice, Third Rank. His son, the courtier Yoritsune, had been put in charge, but the capital sent a messenger to Yoritsune. "The Heike have already become separated from the gods, been abandoned by the Emperor, left the Imperial Capital and become defeated soldiers, bobbing on the waves. Therefore, it is not acceptable for the people of the Nine Provinces and Two Islands* to take them in. Associate with them not, but rather join together with the East and the North [of Japan] and drive them out entirely," were the orders, and so he delegated the task to Ogata no Saburou Koreyoshi.

* i.e. Kyushu + Ikijima and Tsushimatou

Well, you probably guessed that it meant something like that already, huh?

The opening sentence Tale of the Heike includes another of my favourite four-character compounds -- hell, one of my favourite phrases, period. This one is much more famous and comes from the Nirvana Sutra (涅槃經).

sho gyou mu jou
everything goes, nothing eternal

The full context is:

The voice of the bells of Gion Shouja,
An echo of "All Things Must Pass"

(Gion in this case having nothing to do with Kyoto's geisha district, but referring instead to Jetavana Vihara in Savatthi.)

Popularity factor: 1

Big Ben:

Tibet, huh? I had to memorize that Gionshoja bit way back in college, and all these years I've been imagining a bell ringing in the Gion district. Embarrassing.

Recently I've been getting a kick out of watching Konishiki recite it on 日本語で遊ぼ in the mornings.

Comment season is closed.