A memoir of Jakucho Seto by her secretary, Manaho Seo 無常ということ

“Mujyo” is a Buddhism word which means “Everything in this world is changing.”  Many people think of this word as something pessimistic. However, Jakucho frequently used this word in order to encourage people.

When she visited the Tohoku area after a huge earthquake struck there, she talked to the discouraged people in refugee camps, “As you had hit rock-bottom, this situation cannot be worsened anymore. You can hope for progress. In this world, there is nothing which lasts forever. Your anxiety will be relieved gradually.”

From another prospect, Mujo also shows good situations and happiness don’t continue forever.  People feel stress when a big change, such as experiencing a family member’s death, suffering from serious disease, or losing their job, happen to them.  Mujo references not only change in our circumstances, but it also changes to our bodies and minds. People are getting old and recognize being impaired. What they thought important or valuable can change through some incidents.

Considering those facts, what Jakucho really wanted to emphasize is that since change is inevitable, we must learn to accept it.  In doing that, the concept of “Mujo” helps them a lot.


However, the word still makes us imagine something sad. Probably, it implies the fact that we are destined to death in the end.  But that is the very reason why we should treasure our lives.  Jakucho never reprimanded me (Seo). However, when I belittled myself and said, “I’m a worthless woman,” she scolded me furiously and said, “Never use such nasty words for yourself!”  She said, “You were born in this world because you are worth being born. You are valuable. Don’t insult yourself.  Instead of that, you should cherish yourself even under any predicament. “

That advice exactly represented the way her view of life.




寂聴さんは 「無常」という儚く悲しいイメージのある言葉の良い面をとらえて人々を励ましたそうです。物事は常に移ろいでゆくのだから、どん底の人は あとは這いあがるだけ、と。そして、命は永遠ではないのだから、かけがえのない自分に対して卑下する言葉は消して使わず、大切にするように、とも。