Selections for the READING preceding the Baccalaureate Address
Reading from the Scripture
There is a time for everything, and a season for every activity under heaven:
A time to be born and a time to die, a time to plant and a time to uproot,
A time to kill and a time to heal, a time to tear down and a time to build,
A time to weep and a time to laugh, a time to mourn and a time to dance,
A time to scatter stones and a time to gather them, a time to embrace and a time to refrain,
A time to search and a time to give up, a time to keep and a time to throw away,
A time to tear and a time to mend, a time to be silent and a time to speak,
A time to love and a time to hate, a time for war and a time for peace.
What does the worker gain from his toil?
I have seen the burden God has laid on men.
He has made everything beautiful in its time. He has also set eternity in the hearts of men; yet they cannot fathom what God has done from beginning to end.
I know that there is nothing better for men than to be happy and do good while they live.
That everyone may eat and drink, and find satisfaction in all his toil--this is the gift of God.
I know that everything God does will endure forever; nothing can be added to it and nothing taken from it. God does it so that men will revere him.
Whatever is has already been, and what will be has been before; and God will call the past to account.
HERACLITUS OF EPHESUS (535-475 BCE)
Other men fail to notice what they do when they are awake, just as they forget what they do when asleep. [B1]
Although the account is common, most men live as if they had a private understanding. [B2]
Most people do not understand the things they experience, nor do they know what they have learned;
but they seem to themselves to have done so. [B6]
If you do not expect the unexpected, you will not find it, for it is trackless and unexplored. [B7]
Much learning does not teach understanding [B16]
Hôjôki(An Account of my ten-foot-square Hut), 1212 AD
by Kamo no Chômei in the last years of his life as a Buddhist recluse in Mount Hino
Now that I reached the age of sixty, and my life seems about to evaporate like the dew, I have fashioned a lodging for the last leaves of my years. It is a hut where, perhaps, a traveler might spend a single night; it is like the cocoon spun by an aged silkworm. This hut is not even a hundredth the size of the dwelling where I spend my middle years. . . It is a bare ten feet square and less than seven feet high. . . I laid a foundation and roughly thatched a roof.
To the south [of the hut] there is a bamboo pipe which empties water into the rock pool I have laid. The woods come close to my house, and it is thus a simple matter for me to gather brushwood. The mountain is named Toyama. The Creeping vines block the trails and the valleys are overgrown, but to the west is a clearing and my surroundings thus do not leave me without spiritual comfort. In the spring I see waves of wistaria like purple clouds, bright in the west. In the summer I hear the cuckoo call, promising to guide me on the road of death. In the autumn the voice of the evening insects fills my ears with a sound of lamentation for this cracked husk of a world. In winter I look with deep emotion on the snow, piling up and melting away like sins and hindrances to salvation.
When I do not like reciting invocation to the Amida Buddha and cannot put my heart into reading the sutras, no one will keep me from resting or being lazy, and there is no friend who will feel ashamed of me. Even though I make no special attempt to observe the discipline of silence, living alone automatically makes me refrain from the sins of speech; and though I do not necessarily try to obey the Commandments, here where there are no temptations what should induce me to break them?
. . .This lonely house is but a tiny hut, but I somehow love it. . . When I sit here I feel pity for those still attached to the world of dust. Should anyone doubt the truth of my words, let him look to the fishes and the birds. Fish do not weary of the water, but unless one is a fish one does not know why. Birds long for the woods, but unless one is a bird one does not know why. The joys of solitude are similar. Who could understand them without having lived here.
Gerald Manley Hopkins, shortly after his Ordination in 1877
Glory be to God for dappled things --
For skies of couple-colour as a brinded cow;
For rose-moles all in stipple upon trout that swim;
Fresh-firecoal chestnut-falls; finches' wings;
Landscape plotted and pieced -- fold, fallow, and plough;
And áll trádes, their gear and tackle and trim.
All things counter, original, spare, strange;
Whatever is fickle, freckled (who knows how!)
With swift, slow; sweet, sour; adazzle, dim;
He fathers-forth whose beauty is past change: