Some fools see no one’s faults.
Some fools see others’ faults.
Some fools see their faults.
The wise see everyone’s faults.
We then noticed a priest who had climbed a chinaberry tree across the way to sit in its fork and watch it [a race] from there. He was so sleepy as he clung there that he kept nodding off, and only just managed to start awake in time to save himself from falling each time. Those who saw him couldn’t believe their eyes. ‘What an extraordinary fool!’ they all sneered. ‘How can a man who’s perched up there so precariously among the branches relax so much that he falls asleep?’
A thought suddenly occurred to me. ‘Any of us may die from one instant to the next,’ I said, ‘and in fact we are far more foolish than this priest – here we are, contently watching the world go by, oblivious to death.’ ‘That’s so true,’ said those in front of me. ‘It’s really very stupid, isn’t it,’ … Anyone can have this sort of insight, but at that particular moment it came as a shock, which is no doubt why people were so struck by it.
Essays In Idleness [徒然草: Scribbles In Vain]
Translated By Meredith Mckinney