Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,
Welcome at a new month of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, the place to be if you like to write and share Japanese poetry with the world. After a wonderful month full of fairytales we are going on a new adventure ... a journey along the ancient Silk Road.
The Silk Road or Silk Route was an ancient network of trade routes that were for centuries central to cultural interaction originally through regions of Eurasia connecting the East and West and stretching from the Korean peninsula and Japan to the Mediterranean Sea. The Silk Road concept refers to both the terrestrial and the maritime routes connecting Asia with Africa, the Middle East and southern Europe. The overland Steppe route stretching through the Eurasian steppe is considered the ancestor to the Silk Road(s).
The term refers to many similar routes taken by traders primarily between Arabia, India and China but also to Tanzania (Zanzibar) in the south, Asia Minor and Southern Europe. While the term is of modern coinage, the Silk Road derives its name from the lucrative trade in silk (and horses) carried out along its length, beginning during the Han dynasty (207 BCE – 220 CE). The Han dynasty expanded Central Asian sections of the trade routes around 114 BCE, largely through missions and explorations of the Chinese imperial envoy, Zhang Qian. The Chinese took great interest in the safety of their trade products and extended the Great Wall of China to ensure the protection of the trade route.
|The Silk Road (map)|
Trade on the Silk Road played a significant role in the development of the civilizations of China, the Goguryeo kingdom (Korea), Japan, the Indian subcontinent, Persia, Europe, the Horn of Africa and Arabia, opening long-distance political and economic relations between the civilizations. Though silk was certainly the major trade item exported from China, many other goods were traded, as well as religions, syncretic philosophies, and various technologies. Diseases, most notably plague, also spread along the Silk Routes. In addition to economic trade, the Silk Road was a route for cultural trade among the civilizations along its network. (Source: Wikipedia)
As we are along the silk road we will read a wonderful novel by Hermann Hesse "Siddhartha".
"Siddhartha" is a novel by Hermann Hesse that deals with the spiritual journey of self-discovery of a man named Siddhartha during the time of the Gautama Buddha. I have read this novel several times and it is really a spiritual journey. Back in the sixties and seventies people went on a quest to find there selves through philosophies from the East ... in that time Hermann Hesse wrote this novel.
|Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse in Sanskrit (cover)|
The word Siddhartha is made up of two words in Sanskrit language, siddha (achieved) + artha (what was searched for), which together means "he who has found meaning (of existence)" or "he who has attained his goals". In fact, the Buddha's own name, before his renunciation, was Siddhartha Gautama, Prince of Kapilavastu. In this book, the Buddha is referred to as "Gotama".
This will be an awesome month.
To give you the opportunity to already relate to this month I have a nice quote from "Siddhartha" for you:
[...] "It is this what you mean, isn't it: that the river is everywhere at once, at the source and at the mouth, at the waterfall, at the ferry, at the rapids, in the sea, in the mountains, everywhere at once, and that there is only the present time for it, not the shadow of the past, not the shadow of the future?" [...] (Source: Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse)
6. Taklamakan Desert (Northern route)