Friday, March 21, 2014

Carpe Diem #427, Motoyama-ji (temple 70)

Dear O-Henro ... Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Motoyama-ji, the 70th temple on the Shikoku trail is one of the oldest temples on the trail. Its history goes back to the 9th century and was established by Emperor Heizei's (773-824) instructions in 807. Heizei was the 51st Emperor of Japan.
Motoyama-ji is a temple of the Koyasan Shingon-shu sect, the sect wich Kobo Daishi (or Kukai) founded in 807, so Motoyama-ji is one of the first temples based on the Buddhist principles founded by Kobo Daishi.

Motoyama-ji (temple 70)

Motoyama-ji is devoted to Bato Kannon or the bodhisattva of compassion or the Goddess of Mercy. From this bodhisattva comes the famous Buddhist saying: 'Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is form', which we can find in the Heart Sutra, the sutra about the Perfection of Wisdom.
So ... with this knowledge I have to come up with a wise piece of post here (smiles), but am I wise enough? We will see ...
My wisdom lays deep down inside of my heart hidden for the world. Will I share that with the world? Will I give my wisdom? Maybe that's my wisdom 'I am not wise. I take all and everything for granted with an open heart and that makes me wise'.

watching the world
with an open heart and mind -
that's true wisdom

(c) Chèvrefeuille

In this episode I love to watch at another theme of the State of Zen of Haiku, materiality.
Zen, like haiku,emphazises the material, as against the so-called spiritual. There is no abstract arguing, no general principles. Everything is concrete. If we glance through a number of haiku we find they are entirely about things, snow, cherry blossoms, people dancing, frogs, the wind.

A few haiku by Miura Chora (1729-1780) to 'show' this.

ya wa ureshiku hiru wa shizuka ya haru no ame

at night, happiness;
in the day-time, quietness,
spring rain

hiya mizu ni senbei ni-mai chora ga natsu

cold water,
two biscuits,
Chora's summer

As we can read in the second haiku it's not a shame to mention yourself in a haiku unlike the classical rule 'No Self, it's an experience not how the poet feels about it'.

The materiality of Zen comes out in the fact that the religious life is at the lowest ebb in church, where everything is arranged to incline the mind to some other place, Heaven or Hell, some other time, the past or the future. Religion is more outside on the streets, in nature or even on a battle-field.
In poetry, at least as the haiku-poets understand it, we simply cannot manage to do without things.
We suppose that the body is a machine and that the soul drives it at will hither an thither, but the reverse is the case. Our boasted self-control, confession and penance, reformation, conversion, salvation, - all are determined physically, in our bodies.
It is the root which the cold and silent earth decides what flowers are to bloom in the wind and sun.

Things and mankind are equal, our common nature, is reciprocal. We excist only if they do. They will not be lorded over and treated with contempt. We are equals and can live together harmoniously only if our independence and dependence, our separatness and continuity is recognized. Things have done their part; it is for us to do ours.
In this we can only see the same phrase as we saw at the beginning of this episode:

'Form is Emptiness, Emptiness is Form'.

A nice haiku by Shiki (1867-1902) can 'show' what I hoped to say above.

rai harete ichi ju no yuhi semi-no koe

the thunderstorm having cleared up,
the evening sun shines on a tree
where a cicada is chirping

By this materiality of aspect, animate and inanimate things lose much of their difference, as do also human and non-human.

after the rainstorm
I sit down on the porch
smelling the fresh air

(c) Chèvrefeuille

This concludes this episode which is NOW OPEN for your submissions until March 24th 11.59 AM (CET). I will try to post our new Special episode, part 9 of our pilgrimage to Santiago De Compostela, later on today. Have fun, be inspired and share your haiku with our Haiku Kai.


  1. Thank you for this wonderful post. I am lucky to post this before starting my journey home.

  2. Another wonderfully written and informative post ~ 'glad you sat on the porch' lovely haiku and Happy Weekend to you ~ xxx
    artmusedog and carol

    ps. been busy with a month long photography show ~ blogging attendance has slipped a bit ~ another show coming up ~ 'Form is emptiness, emptiness' is form ~ alway treasure that quote .

  3. Superb utter simplicity in those haiku, and the emptiness/form concept very illuminating

  4. I am loving all the photos you put up.
    Mine is up at: