Men nowhere, east or west, live yet a natural life, round which the vine clings, and which the elm willingly shadows. Man would desecrate it by his touch, and so the beauty of the world remains veiled to him. He needs not only to be spiritualized, but naturalized, on the soil of earth.
If we lived forever, if the dews of Adashino never vanished, if the crematory smoke on Toribeyama never faded, men would hardly feel the pity of things. The beauty of life is in its impermanence. Man lives the longest of all living things... and even one year lived peacefully seems very long. Yet for such as love the world, a thousand years would fade like the dream of one night.
To see is one of God's great gifts to man and to comprehend what we see is doubly so. Furthermore, He has endowed some people with the qualities to see the beauties of life and nature much more than others and they have the greatest gift of all.
We who with songs beguile your pilgrimage And swear that Beauty lives though lilies die, We Poets of the proud old lineage Who sing to find your hearts, we know not why What shall we tell you? Tales, marvellous tales Of ships and stars and isles where good men rest.
It is not so much what we get out of life as what we put into it that determines how large our returns of happiness shall be. The triumphant life is to be achieved through service. But it must be free and not compulsory. . . . There is a place where the path of duty suddenly becomes the path of beauty.