Wednesday, March 20, 2019

Carpe Diem #1630 Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage ...The Kohechi Trail


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I have to apologize (again) for not publishing yesterday, but sometimes ... time is not at my side. Today however I had time to create a new episode of this wonderful pilgrimage month.
As I told you earlier this month the Kumano Kodo (Ancient Road) is a complex of five different pilgrimage route and today I love to take you on another Kumano Kodo trail ... The Kohechi trail.

Let me tell you a little bit about this Kohechi trail: Kohechi connects Kumano with Koyasan. This mountaintop route is long and challenging, and consequently should not be undertaken without careful preparation. Inns are rarely found without zigzagging up and down the mountainsides into valley towns, greatly increasing the distance traveled. Kohechi was used mainly by Buddhist monks from the temple complex of Mount Koya.

a fallen cocoon
in the first rays of the morning sun -
a butterfly rises
drying it's young blue wings
to live fully

© Chèvrefeuille (2014)

About the temple complex of Mount Koya there is a lot to tell but of course that;s not possible, but I just had to tell you a little about it.

Mount Koya (Kōyasan) is the center of Shingon Buddhism, an important Buddhist sect which was introduced to Japan in 805 by Kobo Daishi (also known as Kukai), one of Japan's most significant religious figures. A small, secluded temple town has developed around the sect's headquarters that Kobo Daishi built on Koyasan's wooded mountaintop. It is also the site of Kobo Daishi's mausoleum and the start and end point of the Shikoku 88 Temple Pilgrimage.


Garan Temple

Kobo Daishi began construction on the original Garan temple complex in 826 after wandering the country for years in search of a suitable place to center his religion. Since then over one hundred temples have sprung up along the streets of Koyasan. The most important among them are Kongobuji, the head temple of Shingon Buddhism, and Okunoin, the site of Kobo Daishi's mausoleum.

pilgrims chanting
the Heart Sutra to honor Kukai -
cry of a Vulture
breaks through the serene temple -
pilgrims chanting

© Chèvrefeuille (2014)

Here we make a connection with one of our earlier pilgrimages here at CDHK ... the Shikoku pilgrimage. Back in 2014 we digitally walked this pilgrimage for two months visiting the 88 temples on Shikoku Island. The above tanka I wrote back in those months.

I have wonderful memories of that Shikoku pilgrimage and I hope, you my dear Haijin, have those memories too.

deep meditation
high up in the mountains
chanting Buddhist monks

© Chèvrefeuille

What an awesome feeling this episode gives me. Here we can feel how all the post on CDHK are connected with each other ... isn't that awesome?

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 27th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode later on. Have fun!


Tuesday, March 19, 2019

Carpe Diem Extra March 19th 2019 Delay


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

During circumstances and lack of time I hadn't the opportunity to create and publish our new episode. I hope to create our new episode later on on March 20th 2019. My excuses for the inconvenience.

Namasté,

Chèvrefeuille, your host

Monday, March 18, 2019

Carpe Diem #1629 Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage ... the East route


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode in our journey straight through the Kii peninsula were we are on the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage. As I told you earlier the Kumano Kodo is not just one route, but five different routes and today I love to follow the East route better known as Iseji the Eastern route to Kumano.

Let me tell you a little bit more about this Eastern route: The Iseji route runs along the east coast of the Kii Peninsula between Ise-jingu Shrine and the Kumano Sanzan. The use of this trail rose dramatically in the Edo period (1603-1868) with the increasing number of pilgrims to the Ise-jingu Shrine. After paying homage in Ise, devotees would continue on the Iseji route to Kumano. To prevent erosion from heavy rains, extensive sections were paved with picturesque cobblestones. This route has a diversity of mountain passes, bamboo forests, terraced rice fields, and beaches.

In the Edo period lived a haiku poet who we all know, Matsuo Basho (1644-1694). In the last ten years of his life Basho went on several journeys and one of them was a journey to the Ise-jingu Shrine. So let us look at a few haiku by Basho about the Ise shrine.


Ise-jingu Shrine (also known as Ise Grand Shrine)

from what tree's 
blossoms I know not:
such fragrance

© Basho (Tr. Barnhill)


month's end, no moon:
a thousand year cedar
embraced by a windstorm

© Basho (Tr. Barnhill)

These haiku are written during Basho's visits to the Ise shrines. He didn't actually used the name of the shrine, but in these haiku we see a Shinto touch, because (as you know) Ise shrine was a Shinto temple.

Ise Grand Shrine is one of the renown Shinto temples that are part of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage and it's the most important Shinto Shrine.

Well ... this episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 25th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode later on.


Sunday, March 17, 2019

Carpe Diem #1628 Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage ... by boat


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I hope you all have had a wonderful weekend full of inspiration. I had a very relaxed weekend and have new energy for a full new week.

This month we are on a pilgrimage straight through the Kii peninsula, the Kumano Kodo (ancient road) pilgrimage. The Kumano Kodo has five different routes and we have seen already two of those routes this month.

The Kumano river is an important part of this pilgrimage. 1000 yrs ago pilgrims had to cross Kumano river to reach their pilgrimage goal ... the Great Ise Shrine, but this Kumano river has also a deeper meaning in Shinto. The Kumano river was the last stage of someones life before he entered Paradise. This kind of idea we also see for example in the ancient history of Egypt. Pharaohs had to cross the river of death, the river to the stars, so in many religions we see the river also as being part of the last stage to Paradise.

Kumano Kodo ... by boat on the Kumano River

For over 1000 years pilgrims have been making the journey to Kumano. The Kumano-gawa River was a vital section of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route between Kumano Hongu Taisha in Hongu, and Kumano Hayatama Taisha in Shingu. The pilgrims used wooden flat-bottom boats. As I wrote above this part of Kumano Kodo was a deep spiritual experience and it gave the pilgrims the opportunity to meditate and contemplate before going on to Ise Grand Shrine.

Isn't it a wonderful pilgrimage? I like that deeper spiritual meaning in this part of the Kumano Kodo ... especially because of the deeper meaning of the river ... the last stage to Paradise.

at the horizon
faint impression of paradise
the sound of water


© Chèvrefeuille

Not a very strong one I think, but it fits the theme for today.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7:00 PM (CET) and will remain open until March 24th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode later on. For now ... have fun!


Saturday, March 16, 2019

Carpe Diem Time Glass 2019-02 shimmering dew


!! This Time Glass episode is open for your submissions until Monday 18th 6:oo AM (CET) !!

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I had some spare-time so I thought I will give you a new CD Time Glass episode. As you all know a while ago I changed the responding time of our Kai into seven days, a whole week, but (as you all know) haiku is an impression of a moment as short as the sound of a pebble thrown into water. That short time can help you to create your haiku (or tanka) based on that single moment.

I love to improve your haiku (and tanka) writing skills so I think this "Time Glass" feature can help you with that. But ... we are a haiku loving family from all over the world and we live all in different time zones, so I think it's a good thing to extend the (original) 24 hours of the "Time Glass" feature to 36 hours to respond on the theme.

That theme can be a haiku, a tanka, a waka, an image or just a word. For this Time Glass episode I have chosen a haiku written by myself to inspire you:

Shimmering Dew
dewdrops shimmer
in the flower of the Morning Glory
a diamond necklace

© Chèvrefeuille (2014)

Well ... a nice time challenge I think. Try to create your haiku or tanka inspired on this given haiku and share it with us within 36 hours. That means this episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 18th 6:00 AM (CET). Have fun!


Friday, March 15, 2019

Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation #76 Renga With ... the Big Five


!! Open for your submissions next Sunday March 17th at 7:00 PM (CET) !!

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Time flies when you have fun they say, but time flies really fast. It's again time for a new weekend meditation and after that first Light Retreat, started today, I have another challenge for you. As you all know in my opinion there were five great haiku poets, or as I call them "The Big Five". Maybe you know which haiku poets I mean with the big five?

Yes ... I knew you all would know it. The "big five" are Basho, Issa, Buson, Shiki and Chiyo-Ni. This weekend I love to challenge you with a new episode of "Renga With ..." This weekend that will be a Renga With ... The Big Five.


I have chosen a two haiku by Basho and of the other four I have chosen one haiku. It's up to you to create a renga with those haiku. You can choose your own "line-up" and I hope you will try to "close" the chain by a ageku (closing verse) that refers back to the hokku (starting verse).

Here are the haiku to work with:

wisteria beans
let's make that a theme for haikai
a flower fruit 

how glorious
young green leaves
flash in the sun

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

garden butterfly
as the baby crawls, it flies―
crawls close, flutters on

© Issa

Plum Blossom

in nooks and corners
cold remains:
flowers of the plum

© Yosa Buson (tr. RH Blyth)

the wild geese take flight
low along the railroad tracks
in the moonlit night

© Masaoka Shiki

the flowering branch of the plum
gives its scent
to him who broke it off

© Chiyo-Ni

A wonderful range of haiku by these five haiku poets and you, my dear haijin, can enjoy the opportunity to create a renga with these five great haiku poets by adding your two-lined stanza.

I hope you all will have a wonderful weekend with a lot of inspiration. I am looking forward to your renga with the big five.

This weekend meditation is open for your submissions next Sunday March 17th at 7:00 PM (CET) and will remain open until March 24th at noon (CET). Have a wonderful weekend.


A New Feature ... Carpe Diem's Light Retreat 2019 ... The Joy Of Light


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

With joy I invite you to a new challenge here at our wonderful Haiku Kai. Maybe you can remember that I created our seasonal retreat, a period of 30 days to create haiku and tanka inspired on a theme. Not so long ago I told you about the Pagan idea of a Light and Dark part of the year. That gave me the idea to create two retreats this year, a Light Retreat and a Dark Retreat instead of our four seasonal retreats. So here it is our new feature ... Carpe Diem's Light Retreat 2019.
It works exactly the same as our earlier retreats. I will give you a theme and your task is to create on an every day base a haiku or tanka inspired on that theme. So after 30 days you have created 30 haiku or tanka inspired on that theme.

For this first Light Retreat I have chosen the next theme ... "THE JOY OF LIGHT" what can you create inspired on this theme? Give it a try ... try to create a haiku or tanka every day (for 30 days) themed "The Joy Of Light".

The Joy Of Light

This Light Retreat starts tonight and will and on April 14th at 10:00 PM (CET). Please number your daily haiku or tanka.

And here is my first haiku inspired on this theme "The Joy Of Light":

thousand orange leaves
counting my blessings every day -
I light a candle

© Chèvrefeuille (2014)

Well ... are you with me? Are you in to a new challenge? A new retreat about "The Joy Of Light"?

This Light Retreat is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until April 14th at 10:00 PM (CET). Enjoy this retreat ...


Thursday, March 14, 2019

Carpe Diem #1627 Kumano Kodo ... Shide ... Shinto lightning symbol


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

As you all know Kumano Kodo is one of the most important Shinto pilgrimages, but what do we know about Shinto. So I thought to dive into Shinto religion while we are on our Kumano Kodo pilgrimage.
Along the Kumano Kodo (ancient road) we visit several Shinto shrines and those Shinto shrines are decorated with so called "shide". A "shide" is shaped like a thunder bolt. For this episode I have chosen to give you a little back ground on this "shide".


Shide (image: wikimedia)

Shide is a zigzag-shaped paper streamer, often seen attached to shimenawa or tamagushi, and used in Shinto rituals. A popular ritual is using a haraegushi, or "lightning wand", named for the zig-zag shide paper that adorns the wand. A similar wand, used by miko for purification and blessing, is the gohei with two shide. A Shinto priest waves the haraegushi over a person, item, or newly bought property, such as a building or car. The wand is waved at a slow rhythmic pace, but with a little force so that the shide strips make a rustling noise on each pass of the wand. For new properties, a similar ritual known as jijin sai is performed with a haraegushi, an enclosed part of the land (enclosed by shimenawa), and sake, or ritually purified sake known as o-miki. The haraegushi has been used for centuries in Shinto ceremonies.

rustling leaves
listen to the voices of the gods
a lightning bolt


© Chèvrefeuille (2019)

What a wonderful symbol (and ritual) this is ...

Shide are traditionally bound to the sacred Shinto rope

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 21st at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new weekend meditation later on.


Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Carpe Diem #1626 Kumano Kodo ... Mount Tengurasan ... CD Imagination


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

During lack of time I have made it myself easy. As you all know we are on the Ancient Road or Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage sttaight through the Kii peninsula (Japan). Yesterday we changed our route to one of the other five routes part of the Kumano Kodo. This Iseji trail leads along wonderful bright and beautiful landscapes and one of the most beautiful points on this route is Mount Tengurasan.

For today I have chosen (to make it myself easy) for a CD Imagination episode. The goal is to create new haiku, tanka or other Japanese poetry form inspired on a given image (ofcourse you may use another image by yourself, but it has to be in the same sense and tone as the given image).

Mt. Tengurasan
overwhelming
the brightness and loneliness

high up the mountain
in touch with the blue sky
while listening to the breeze


© Chèvrefeuille

I hope this image will inspire you to create your Japanese poetry.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 20th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode later on.


Tuesday, March 12, 2019

Carpe Diem #1625 Kumano Kodo ... a new trail


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

What an awesome pilgrimage this Kumano Kodo (ancient road) is. We are on our way through the Kii peninsula and are close to nature ... The Kumano Kodo is one of the most important Shinto pilgrimages and it's not a one trail pilgrimage. As I told you in an earlier episode ... the Kumano Kodo is a pilgrimage created out of five different trails. Until today we walked the Nakahechi Route, and today we will go further on one of the other trails ... the Iseji Route. Let me tell you a little bit more about this Kumano Kodo trail.

Iseji connects Kumano with Ise Shrine in Mie Prefecture. Like Ohechi, much of Iseji's coastal trail has been covered by paved roads and towns. Only short, isolated sections remain as stoned or earthen trails today. Among them, the Magose Pass in Owase City and Matsumoto Pass in Kumano City are some of the most picturesque.

Magose Pass

Magose-toge Pass forms the boundary between Miyamacho and Owase City. A moss covered stone path stretches about 2 Km into the beautiful cypress forest covered with ferns.
There are points of historical interest along the path which include a Haiku monument, 5-7-5 syllable poetry created by Karyoen Toitsu, Yonaki-jizo, a stone statue of the guardian deity of children and a Magose Milestone.
There is a hiking trail which leads to Tengura-san Mount overlooking Owase City on the east side of the pass. Magosekoen Park on the way down the pass is renowned for its cherry blossoms.

I ran through our rich history and surfed the WWW to find the haiku by Toitsu, but couldn't find it, but maybe one of you has more luck in finding that haiku. To give a haiku in the same sense I love to share one by myself:

on the mountain slopes
fragile cherry blossom petals fall
it seems to snow

© Chèvrefeuille

I think this one fits, because we are walking the Kumano Kodo straight through the Kii peninsula, a wonderful region in Japan with a lot of mountains.


cherry blossom on the mountain slope
Well ... a wonderful start of our new trail on the Kumano Kodo. I am looking forward to your responses.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 19th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode later on.


Monday, March 11, 2019

Carpe Diem #1624 Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage ... Shinbutsu-shugo



Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode of our wonderful Kai. This month we are on a pilgrimage straight through Kii peninsula, we are walking the Kumano Kodo or "ancient road". And it's a joy to walk this path. This path is once started by a new religion ... Shinbutso-shugo.

Kumano Sanzan combined the Shinto and Buddhist faiths into one, known as Shinbutsu-shugo (literally the convergence of Buddhism and Shinto). The notion that deities (kami) are present in all things on the earth is deeply embedded into Japanese culture from ancient times. White paper folded into the shape of lightning and hung at shrines delineate areas where kami are believed to preside.

When Buddhism arrived in Japan in the 6th century, Shinto deities were identified with the different forms of the Buddha, to create Shinbutsu-shugo.

Shinbutsu-shugo
Shinbutsu shūgō, in Japan, amalgamation of Buddhism with the indigenous religion Shintō. The precedents for this amalgamation were laid down almost as soon as Buddhism entered Japan in the mid-6th century, and the process of blending Buddhism with Shintō has dominated the religious life of the people up to the present. Even today Japanese frequently retain in their homes both Shintō god shelves (kamidana) and Buddhist altars (butsudan) and observe Shintō rites for marriage and Buddhist rites for funerals.

The pattern of coexistence first began to emerge in the Nara period (AD 710–784). Before construction of the Daibutsu (“Great Buddha”) at Nara in AD 741, the proposal to build the statue was first reported to Amaterasu Ōmikami, the Shintō sun goddess, at the Ise Shrine, the chief shrine of Japan. Aid was also requested of the kami (god) Hachiman, and a branch of the (Shintō) Usa Hachiman Shrine on the island of Kyushu was built in the compound of the (Buddhist) Tōdai Temple to protect it. From that time a practice developed of building Shintō shrines in Buddhist temple compounds and temples or pagodas near Shintō shrines, and also of reciting Buddhist scriptures at Shintō shrines.

Daibutsu no Nara (Great Buddha at Nara)

In the Heian period (9th–12th century), Shintō kami came to be identified as incarnations of the Buddha, and for a time Shintō priests were dominated by Buddhist ecclesiastics and were relegated to a secondary role even in Shintō rites. During the general spiritual awakening of the Kamakura period (AD 1192–1333), however, Shintō attempted to emancipate itself from Buddhist domination, and the Ise Shintō (q.v.) movement claimed that Shintō divinities were not incarnations of the Buddha but that buddhas and bodhisattvas (buddhas-to-be) were rather manifestations of Shintō kami.

awakening
sunlight plays with naked bodies

entwined limbs

(C) Chèvrefeuille

I hope you have enjoyed this episode it's more about the spiritual background of Kumano Kodo pilgrimage. It will not be an easy task to create haiku, tanka or other Japanese poetry form inspired on this episode, but ... well no problem at all ...

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 18th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode later on. For now ... have fun!


Sunday, March 10, 2019

Carpe Diem #1623 Kumano Kodo ... Daniche-Goe route: Kumano Hongu Taisha to Yunomine Onsen


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I hope you had a wonderful relaxing weekend and that you all are ready to go on with our Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage. Today we are taking a small detour. We will follow the so called Dainichi Goe, a small part of this pilgrimage from  Hongu Taisha to Yunomine Onsen. Let me tell you a little bit more about this small detour.

The Dainichi-goe route is a short but relatively steep trail over Mt. Dainichi that links Kumano Hongu Taisha with Yunomine Onsen.
The Hanakake Jizo is on the ridge, and on the eastern slope is Tsukimigaoka-jinja. This shrine is located in a grove of old-growth trees and was historically associated with the Shugendo sect in the area. Let me give you a nice video about this part of the Kumano Kodo. (video taken from You Tube)




Every year on April 13th, the first day of the Kumano Hongu Taisha Spring Festival, participants walk this section of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage route. One of the most beautiful sightings here is the Tukimigaoka-jinja Shrine.

Tsukimigaoka-jinja Shrine, an auxiliary shrine outside the precincts of Kumano Hongu Taisha Grand Shrine, is located on the hillside along the Dainichi-goe Section. The shrine is surrounded by ancient cypress trees which are hundreds of years old, and it looks sublime in the morning mist.

ancient times
coming alive under the cypress trees
ah! the morning mist


© Chèvrefeuille

What a wonderful place this is. I hope you all have found the inner peace we all need sometimes in our life and that it brings you the so needed inspiration.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7:00 PM (CET) and will remain open until March 17th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode later on.


Friday, March 8, 2019

Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation #75 Poetry Archive (2) Honeysuckle


!! Open for your submissions next Sunday March 10th at 7:00 PM (CET) !!

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new weekend meditation. After a busy day it's time to relax and that's were our weekends are for. This weekend I love to challenge you again to dive into your archive. This new feature is titled "Poetry Archive" and I think you all know what this feature is about? Yes ... that's correct ... I invite you to dive into your poetry archive and share haiku, tanka or other Japanese poetry form that mean a lot to you. Please share with us why you did made the choice and try to create a new haiku, tanka or other Japanese poetry form inspired on the poem you have chosen.


For this weekend I also dived into my archive(s) and I found a wonderful haiku themed "honeysuckle", as you can read in the title of this episode. Of course I have chosen this theme because I love to share a "honeysuckle-haiku".
As you know I use the haigo (pseudonym) Chèvrefeuille which is French for Honeysuckle. It's a wonderful plant, bush, that climbs towards fenches and houses and the flowers have the most sweet perfume. Of course Honeysuckle has also a deeper meaning. I have chosen a haiku in which you can find that deeper meaning.




my dreams wander
along the path of my life ...
Honeysuckle blooms

© Chèvrefeuille (2015)

And as you maybe remember the other goal is to create an all new haiku inspired on the haiku of your "archive-choice". So here is my new haiku inspired on this haiku.

in the twilight
dreams whirl through my mind
Honeysuckle perfume


© Chèvrefeuille (2019)

Well ... I hope you will find your own wonderful haiku in your archive. Ofcourse there is no need to choose a Honeysuckle haiku ... but if you have a nice Honeysuckle haiku feel free to use it.

This episode is open for your submissions next Sunday March 10th at 7:00 PM (CET) and will remain open until Sunday March 17th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new regular episode later on. For now ... have a wonderful weekend full of inspiration.


Thursday, March 7, 2019

Carpe Diem #1622 Kumano Kodo ... CD Imagination ... Kumano Kodo Waterfall


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

My apologies for being late with publishing our new episode. Today I have chosen the "easy way", because of lack of time, I am on the nightshift, so I have chosen to challenge you with only an image taken somewhere along the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage route.

I have a wonderful image for your inspiration. The image below shows you the Daimonzaka, a 600 meter section of the Kumano Kode leading to Naichi Taisha, the waterfall.


Daimonzaka ... leading to the waterfall
the sound of water
pointing the way to the Pure Land
meeting Basho


© Chèvrefeuille

You will understand why I created the above haiku. It links to Basho's famous haiku "old pond". But why ... meeting Basho? Well legend tells us that a lot of monks (not Basho by the way) jumped into the waterfall at Nachi (part of Kumano Kodo) to enter paradise ... the Pure Land.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 14th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new weekend meditation later on. For now ... be inspired.


Wednesday, March 6, 2019

Carpe Diem #1621 Kumano Kodo ... Nakahechi Route: Tsugizakura-oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Here at CDHK we are always on route as you all know. Every month again I try to give you a challenging route for your inspiration. We have been on several pilgrimages here already and this month we will add another beautiful pilgrimage ... the Kumano Kodo ("ancient road") once traveled by only monks and emperors, but nowadays we all can walk this ancient road ... enjoying the beauty of nature.

Yesterday we started with a part of the Nakahechi Route and today we will go on further on this route. The Nakahechi Route is one of the five routes that make the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage ... it brings us through the wonderful Kii peninsula and I bet you all will be amazed by the beauty of the Kii peninsula.



This full-day walk is on pavement to Kobiro-toge Pass and then on unpaved mountain trail to Hosshinmon-oji. From Hosshinmon-oji to Kumano Hongu Taisha, the trail switches between forest trail and paved road through settled areas.

As I started this month on the Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage the first thing that cam in mind was Basho's own "pilgrimage" as caught in his "Narrow Road Into The Deep North" and I think this KUmano Kodo needs also a bit of Basho.

[...] "When Basho was on his 'Narrow Road to the Deep North' he visited several Temples and other great places on the Northern Island of Japan.

In summer 1689 he visited the Gyoja-do of Komyoji Temple and saw the picture of the legendary priest En no Goja wearing wooden clogs. He is believed to have started a sect of Buddhism around mountain worship in the 7th century. The saint was very strong in climbing up and down the mountains so Basho, at the beginning of his journey prays to the clogs, not the saint, to help him climb the mountain.

Komyoji Temple

The mountain stands for finding Enlightenment and Basho was strongly seeking for that. Enlightenment is his goal when he starts his Narrow Road. I think in his Narrow Road we can read his transformation to an enlightend person. His Narrow Road was tough and full of disappointment, but also full of joy and spirituality.

In his Spirit I wrote my own Narrow Road, my quest for Enlightenment. My Narrow Road is still going on, but with the International recognition I have been given in 2011, that Enlightenment is nearer than I could ever dream of."[...] (Source: Basho Revisited)




The next haiku Basho wrote when he was in the Komyoji Temple as mentioned above.

natsu yama ni   ashida o ogamu   kadode kana

a summer mountain
I pray to the wooden clogs
at departure

© Basho (Tr. Jane Reichhold)

And back to my own Narrow Road, my search for Enlightenment. Basho's haiku is such a nice one and in that haiku he is so ... particularly present. Can I write a haiku in the same Spirit?

searching wisdom
I pray to Mother Earth
before leaving

© Chèvrefeuille

I hope you did like this episode on our Kumano Kodo Pilgrimage and I hope you appreciated my angle with Basho's "Narrow Road".

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 13th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode later on. For now ... have fun!


Tuesday, March 5, 2019

Carpe Diem #1620 Kumano Kodo ... day one trip ... Takijiri-oji to Tsugizakura-oji


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

The Kumano Kodo, or "ancient road", is a pilgrimage route straight through the Kii Peninsula and was once a pilgrame route only meant for the household of the Emperor, but today it's a very popular hiking route and today I have the first day of one of the hiking routes. It's a short route and it brings us from Takijiri-oji to Tsugizakura-oji.

Here is the short description of this one-day hike along the Kumano Kodo: This one-day hike begins at the Takijiri-oji shrine beside the Tonda River and follows a mountain trail passing through Takahara and Chikatsuyu village to Tsugizakura-oji. The route has some steep inclines and downhill slopes on uneven surfaces. There are paved sections in the village of Takahara and from Chikatsuyu village to Tsugizakura-oji.

Takijiri-oji (Tanaba)
The Takijiri-oji is one of the most ancient Shinto Shrines that you can see as you walk the Kumano Kodo. And the above image shows you the ruins of this Shinto Shrine. Ofcourse this shrine is as sacred as all the other shrines along the Kumano Kodo.

broken past
nature's deities still dwelling
a silent prayer


© Chèvrefeuille

And now it is up to you to create your haiku, tanka or other form of Japanese poetry inspired on this ancient shrine.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until February 12th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our next episode later on. For now ... have fun!


Monday, March 4, 2019

Carpe Diem #1619 Kumano Kodo ... Nakahechi route (aka the Imperial Route)


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

We are on our way ... yesterday we started our Kumano Kodo pilgrimage ... and I think it will be awesome. I hope you all will enjoy this pilgrimage and I hope it will bring you Inner Peace, Spritual Balance ... and maybe more.

The Kumano Kodo or "ancient road" is one of Japan's most gorgeous pilgrims routes ... it's by the way not just one pilgriage. The Kumano Kodo is a collection of five routes all through the Kii Peninsula. Let me give you some background on this.

climbing the mountain
together with the smiling Buddha
embraced by nature


© Chèvrefeuille

Kii Peninsula
One of Japan's most remote and rewarding journeys, the Kumano Kodō hiking route weaves through the mountainous Kii Peninsula, south of Osaka. Once a sacred pilgrimage reserved for emperors and samurai, the ‘Kumano Old Road’ is today open to all modern-day seekers and wanderers.

Even before organised religion existed in Japan, locals worshipped nature in the mystical landscape of the Kii Peninsula. Towering trees, the nation's tallest waterfall, and the mountains in between were themselves considered kami (gods), and a walk among them became a sacred act. Emperors and samurai kept detailed diaries of their pilgrimages here; one of the earliest was by Fujiwara-no-Munetada (1062–1141), an aristocrat who travelled to Kumano in 1109.

Over the years Buddhist temples and shrines of Shintō, Japan's native religion, were built, making the route's iconography more familiar for the common folk.

Shinto Shrine along the Kumano Kodo

The Kumano Kodō is actually not one route but a network of trails through the deeply forested mountains, with no official start and end point and no prescribed order for approaching a hike. There are moderate to strenuous hiking options lasting a few hours to several days, taking in some of Japan’s top ‘power spots’ – temples, forests and waterfalls thought to enrich the soul.

Historically, pilgrims would visit the Kumano Sanzan – the three grand shrines of Kumano – which are the cornerstones of the Nakahechi route (aka the Imperial Route), the most action-packed route through the region.

This main trail traverses the peninsula from Takijiri-ōji in the west, 38.5km east through to the first of the three grand shrines, at Hongū. Here, the trails diverge toward the other two shrines, either southeast through the mountains toward the waterfall Nachi-no-taki or eastward along the river Kumano-gawa to the town of Shingū.

five sacred routes
in praise of nature's spirits
Kumano Kodo

© Chèvrefeuille

I can imagine the beauty of nature along this "ancient route" ... and nature is (as you all know) the main theme of our wonderful haiku.

thin mountain air
surrounds this old mountain cabin -
I hear the stream

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 11th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode later on. For now ... find your balnce and inspiration.

Sunday, March 3, 2019

Carpe Diem #1618 Kumano Kodo ... on our way again


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode in our wonderful Kai. This month we will go on a journey again, not by train or plane, but on foot. We are going to walk the Kumano Kodo ("ancient road") one of the most wonderful pilgrimages of Japan.

As you all know my master, Basho, was a traveling poet as was for example Yozakura, the unknown haiku poet and apprentice of Basho. Basho undertook several journeys in the last ten years of his life and we have followed him on his journeys here at CDHK often. His travels weren't pilgrimages, but they ar now seen as pilgrims routes because of his haiku.
Here at CDHK we have walked "Santiago de Compostela" and the Shikoku pilgrimage earlier, so we are experienced pilgrims I think, but this month we will have a "tough" pilgrimage, because the Kumano Kodo goes through the wonderful Kii peninsula of Japan.

Kumano Kodo Map
Let me first tell you a little bit about the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage before we start our pilgrimage this month.

For over 1000 years people from all levels of society, including retired emperors and aristocrats, have made the arduous pilgrimage to Kumano. These pilgrims used a network of routes, now called the Kumano Kodo, which stretched across the mountainous Kii Peninsula.

The walk itself was an integral part of the pilgrimage process as they undertook rigorous religious rites of worship and purification. Walking the ancient Kumano Kodo is a fantastic way to experience the unique cultural landscape of Kumano's spiritual countryside.

In July 2004, the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage routes were registered as UNESCO World Heritage as part of the "Sacred Sites and Pilgrimage Routes in the Kii Mountain Range" property.

Kumano has been considered a sacred site associated with nature worship since prehistoric times. When Buddhism arrived in Japan in the 6th century this area became a site of ascetic training. As Shinto and Buddhism mixed, the belief of Kumano as a Buddhist Pure Land became prevalent. The 9th and 10th century was the formative period of the sacred sites that we know today.

Pilgrims on the Kumano Kodo
Now we know a little bit more about the Kumano Kodo route(s) ... so we can go on our way again to find inner peace through a pilgrimage straight through the Kii Peninsula. Enjoying the beauty of nature, becoming one with nature, finding our inner peace as haiku poets.

walking the path
overcoming my physical form 
finding Inner Self

© Chèvrefeuille

I hope you all will enjoy this new pilgrimage ... and I hope this pilgrimage will inspire you ...

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 10th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode later on. For now ... have a save trip.


Friday, March 1, 2019

Carpe Diem Weekend Meditation #74 Renga With ... Jane Reichhold


!! Open for your submissions next Sunday March 3rd at 7:00 PM (CET) !!

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at the first weekend meditation of March and also of Spring that's why I have created a new logo for our weekend meditation. For this first weekend meditation I have chosen an episode of our special feature "Renga With ..." And this weekend I love to honor Jane Reichhold (again) by challenging you to create a Renga with Jane Reichhold.

As you all know creating a Renga With ... gives you six (6) haiku and you have to add the six (6) two lined stanza between them. Ofcourse you can choose your own "line-up" and you have to try to create a closed chain of twelve (12) stanza. Try to let your "closing verse" (ageku) and the "starting verse" (hokku) be in a kind of symbiosis.



For this Renga With Jane Reichhold I have chosen six (6) haiku from her online Saijiki "A Dictionary of Haiku". Here are the haiku to work with:

beach diamonds
a new day crystallized
in sunny surf foam

white pussy willows
above a muddy swollen river
fat raindrops

light carried in my arms
apple blossoms from a neighbor
on my doorstep

Tai Chi On The Beach

Tai Chi on the beach
one gull watches
with outstretched wing

between the fields
a break in the evening mist
three lilac bushes

shades of art deco
lying on the beach
abalone shells

© Jane Reichhold (extracted from "A Dictionary of Haiku")

I think this series of haiku is really gorgeous and I think it will give you all satisfaction to work with them and honoring Jane. Take your chance to create a renga together with the best haiku poetess of modern times. Have fun!

This weekend meditation is open for your submissions next Sunday March 3rd at 7:00 PM (CET) and will remain open until March 10th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new (regular) episode around that same time too. For now ... have an awesome weekend.

Thursday, February 28, 2019

Carpe Diem #1617 The start of the Kumano Kodo pilgrimage, the first day of spring



Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at the first episode of a new and exciting month at our wonderful Haiku Kai, the place to be if you like to write and share Japanese poetry. Carpe Diem Haiku Kai (CDHK) is a loving family of haiku poets and I am grateful for your love and participation. I never could have imagined that CDHK is alive and kicking after almost seven years.
It makes me humble and proud, but without you, my dear Haijin, I couldn't have done it. Thank You!

Every day again I love to create CDHK and ... ofcourse it isn't always easy to come up with a new theme every month, but this month ... well we will see what the Kumano Kodo will bring us. Ofcourse I will try to tell you about the background of the Kumano Kodo, but the most important thing this month is to enjoy the journey.

For this first episode I have chosen to tell you some background on the first day of spring, because in meteorology spring starts on the first day of March as is today.
Spring the season of new life, the start of the light part of the year according to Paganism and other nature religions. Autumn and winter are in those religions the dark part of the year and spring and summer the light part of the year.
It is a common use in Paganism to not marry in the dark part of the year, but in the light part of the year. We can see that in several rituals in spring and festivities. For example: Dancing around the May pole is such a ritual.



According to the classical Shiki Saijiki, an anthology of classical kigo, the first day of spring is a classical kigo for spring. So today as we start our Kumano Kodo pilgrimage, we will start with "the first day of spring". I think we have had this classical kigo earlier here at CDHK, but I also think you all are wonderful haiku poets and I know that you can come up with a new haiku (or tanka) about the first day of spring.

I found a nice haiku by Den Sutejo (1633-1698) a contemporary of Basho, about the first day of spring. I don't know if they knew each other, but in a way I saw a touch of Basho in the following haiku by Sutejo:

natsu matade baika no yuki ya shiroi harugi butsu

not waiting on summer
the plum blossoms in snow -
white spring kimono

© Den Sutejo

Den Sutejo (1633-1698)

Let me tell you a little bit more about this female haiku poet, she isn't as renown as Chiyo-Ni, but she has written wonderful haiku (as you can read above). Born in the province of Tanba as daughter of the samurai Den Rishige. She married and had five sons and one daughter. When she was 42, her husband died. Very soon after, she became a nun.
She became a student of Bankei Eitaku, a Zen master (1622 - 1693). She built her temple Futai An beside his temple Ryuumon, where she lived with about 30 other ladies. Her grave is at the temple Ryuumon-Ji.

I am looking forward to this month and I hope you all will enjoy our pilgrimage along the Kumano Kodo (the "ancient road"). Let's go on a new pilgrimage ... and start with our new month here at CDHK. Our goal for this first episode of March is to create a haiku (or tanka) following the classical rules (see our CD Lecture One, above in the menu) of haiku with the kigo "first day of spring".

fragile plum blossoms open

I have tried to follow the classical rules and I even tried to translate it into romaji:

koware yasui umeno hanawo yoake no hikarino nakade hikaku haruno saisho no hi

the first day of springtime
fragile plum blossoms open
in the light of daybreak


© Chèvrefeuille

With this "first day of spring" haiku our journey, our pilgrimage, along the Kumano Kodo has started. I hope you all will like this pilgrimage, one of the most holiest of Shinto.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7:00 PM (CET) and will remain open until March 7th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new weekend meditation later on. For now ... have fun!