Trubnikova N. N. Children and parents in the Collection of Stone and Sand
31.03.2014 .

Children and parents in the «Collection of Stone and Sand» («Shaseki-shu», XIII century)

Trubnikova N. N. («Philosophy matters» magazine)

Amongst didactic stories in setsuva genre that formed the «Collection of Stones and Sand» lie several stories about children. Here just like in same XIII century military stories children are displayed not only as valuable family breed, part of adult's surroundings but as individual actors. Konishi Ritsu and other scholars use the «Collection» as a source for analysis of childhood in medieval culture. Some stories in «Collection» tell about the relationship between gown-up children and their elderly parents. These can also be referred to the subject of current research as we can trace out in them the idea of unbreakable ties between a child and his parents. Stories about children in the «Collection» mostly show children through their attitude to parents and mostly continue tradition of Chinese tales about respectful children. If we are not talking about examples from Chinese antiquity, and the story plot is located in Japan, children in question would rather belong to a military family or to monastic families (contradicting with Buddhist community rules Japanese monks of XIII century got married and had children). Other stories show a child-student through his relations with his master-monk. Particularly interesting, in my opinion, to see the way the compiler of the «Collection» Mujio Itien displays correlation between Buddhist and Confucian approach to child-parent and student-master relations. Not only absolute values of «elderly care», «respectfulness» are of importance but understanding of individuals family (and school) identity as one of his whole destiny's determing factors given by the law of retaliation (Karma).

Let us list out children related cases from the «Collection of Stones and Sand»:

- A child restrains an adult from wrong and forces him to good acts by the means of his own words or actions

- A child commits a wrong act (murder, theft, etc.) or harms himself for the sake of his parent and gains forgiveness/excuse.

- A child becomes an adult's «wise friend» occasionally or on purpose and therefore helps him to embark on the Path of Buddha.

For full text see: IOCS Works («Orientalia et Classica» Series) History and culture of traditional Japan. 7 / Ed. A.N.Mesheryakov, RSUH. Moscow, 2014.