Murasaki Shikibu, aka Lady Murasaki

Murasaki
Shikibu, aka Lady Murasaki
973
c. 1014

Japanese Novelist, Poet and Lady-in-waiting at the Imperial Court during the Heian period best known as the author of The Tale of Genji

Author Quotes

There are as many sorts of women as there are women.

It is useless to talk with those who do not understand one and troublesome to talk with those who criticize from a feeling of superiority. Especially one-sided persons are troublesome. Few are accomplished in many arts and most cling narrowly to their own opinion.

Though the body moves, the soul may stay behind.

Let us be sure that the lady of our choice possesses certain tangible qualities that we admire; and if in other ways she falls short of our ideal, we must be patient and call to mind those qualities that first induced us to begin our courting.

To be pleasant, gentle, calm and self-possessed: this is the basis of good taste and charm in a woman. No matter how amorous or passionate you may be, as long as you are straightforward and refrain from causing others embarrassment, no one will mind. But women who are too vain and act pretentiously, to the extent that they make others feel uncomfortable, will themselves become the object of attention; and once that happens, people will find fault with whatever they say or do; whether it be how they enter a room, how they sit down, how they stand up or how they take their leave. Those who end up contradicting themselves and those who disparage their companions are also carefully watched and listened to all the more. As long as you are free from such faults, people will surely refrain from listening to tittle-tattle and will want to show you sympathy, if only for the sake of politeness. I am of the opinion that when you intentionally cause hurt to another, or indeed if you do ill through mere thoughtless behavior, you fully deserve to be censured in public. Some people are so good-natured that they can still care for those who despise them, but I myself find it very difficult. Did the Buddha himself in all his compassion ever preach that one should simply ignore those who slander the Three Treasures? How in this sullied world of ours can those who are hard done by be expected to reciprocate in kind?

Life is full of uncertainties, perhanps one day some unforeseen circumstance would bring her into his life once more.

We are not told of things that happened to specific people exactly as they happened; but the beginning is when there are good things and bad things, things that happen in this life which one never tires of seeing and hearing about, things which one cannot bear not to tell of and must pass on for all generations. If the storyteller wishes to speak well, then he chooses the good things; and if he wishes to hold the reader’s attention he chooses bad things, extraordinarily bad things. Good things and bad things alike, they are things of this world and no other. Writers in other countries approach the matter differently. Old stories in our own are different from new. There are differences in the degree of seriousness. But to dismiss them as lies is itself to depart from the truth. Even in the writ which the Buddha drew from his noble heart are parables, devices for pointing obliquely at the truth. To the ignorant they may seem to operate at cross purposes. The Greater Vehicle is full of them, but the general burden is always the same. The difference between enlightenment and confusion is of about the same order as the difference between the good and the bad in a romance. If one takes the generous view, then nothing is empty and useless.

Author Picture
First Name
Murasaki
Last Name
Shikibu, aka Lady Murasaki
Birth Date
973
Death Date
c. 1014
Bio

Japanese Novelist, Poet and Lady-in-waiting at the Imperial Court during the Heian period best known as the author of The Tale of Genji