Robert Oxnam :: Kenkô, another author writing a century later [than Kamo no Chômei], took a different perspective. A former court poet who became a priest, Kenkô agreed that one had to renounce the world to seek salvation. But instead of finding only sorrow in life's impermanence, he found beauty as expressed in his Essays in Idleness.
[Excerpt from Essays in Idleness]
Were we to live on forever — were the dews of
Adashino never to vanish, the smoke on Toribeyama never to fade away — then
indeed would men not feel the pity of things. ... Truly the beauty of life
is its uncertainty ...
Donald Keene :: He really still believes in the eternal truths of Buddhism. He is a devout man, but at the same time he is living in this world, and he wants to make the life in this world as agreeable, as aesthetically pleasing, as possible.
And it has worked, in a curious sense, because since the seventeenth century when his book became widely known to all classes of society, the prevailing Japanese aesthetics derive a great deal from this book. You can talk about Japanese aesthetics in terms of this one particular book, what he preferred.