Wednesday, 22 May 2013

Zen and haiku

                                   As dust dulls the eyes of hawks

                                   Now  the quails begin to chirp.

                                     On the great bell 
                                     Stops a butterfly

                                     And sleeps. 


                                      Today, too 

                                      The sun sinks into a world of mustard flowers.


 " Zen is less of a religion than a philosophy of living; a means of realizing the true nature of existence. It stresses the importance of fully embracing each moment of life, of reaching union with everything that is by penetrating as deeply as possible into the here and now. Zen therefore has a strong affinity with haiku Japanese verse that is traditionally composed of seventeen syllables in three lines - the shortest form of poetry in the world. Haiku seeks in a handful of words to cryasallize an instant in all its fullness, encouraging through the experience of the moment the union of the reader with all existence. The reader side -steps conventional  perception , startled into a momentary but full understanding of the poet's experience. By locking reader and poet into the same reality, haiku  helps us perceive the ultimate unity of all realities.  Haiku transforms the most mundane of moments into something special.  In Zen it is in glimpses like these, rather than the study of doctrine , that are said to lead to enlightenment - the realization of the true nature of existence. "   
 The quote above is from  one of my favourite books  Jonathan Clements  The  Moon in the Pines , Zen Haiku 

I have learned so much from that book ,  he broke with the  tradition that groups haiku by date or season to arrange them according  to the  mood of different times of the day : dawn  daylight, dusk , and moonlight. this novel arrangement made me aware of how how the passage of a day's  energy can  mirror that of the year. 
Dawn like spring is full of new growth and possibilities, at  midday like mid- summer things have reached  a peak in growth,  in autumn as in afternoon there is a slowing down,   moonlight and wintertime  are times for reflection and rest. 

I usually  walk Susie in the morning but this week we have been out a few evenings,  the energy and light at that time of day were so different to the morningtime , that I was reminded of  Jonathan Clements book and reread the Dusk haiku which had first awakened me to those changes in  mood (a few of my favourites open this post ).


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