Friday, February 28, 2014

Carpe Diem #410, Kanjizai-ji (Temple 40)

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

Welcome at the second part of our Shikoku Pilgrimage. Today, the first of March, we are entering Ehime Prefecture, the 3rd Prefecture on Shikoku Island and the start of our last part of Shikoku Pilgrimage's 88 temples. This month we will walk along 48 temples, but we don't visit them all. As you can see on our prompt-list, we will visit 25 temples and I think I have chosen the most wonderful temples.

Let me first tell you something more about Ehime Prefecture.Ehime Prefecture (愛媛県 Ehime-ken?) is a prefecture in northwestern Shikoku, Japan. The capital is Matsuyama.
Until the Meiji Restoration (1868), Ehime Prefecture was known as Iyo Province. Since before the Heian period, the area was dominated by fishermen and sailors who played an important role in defending Japan against pirates and Mongolian invasions. The name Ehime comes from the Kojiki and means "beautiful maiden."

Ainan, Ehime Prefecture

Kanjizai-ji is situated in the town called Ainan and is devoted to Yakushi Nyorai or the Buddha of Medicine and Healing. He is still one of the most important Buddhas especially during rituals which are performed at funerals, because he is also the Buddha who leads the buddhists to Nirvana.

Kanjizai-ji (Temple 40)
Nirvana calling
Yakushi Nyorai guides you
to Enlightenment

(c) Chèvrefeuille

With this episode we are on our way to the last temple of the Shikoku Trail. Than we will have seen and visited the 88 temples who are inspired on the life of Kobo Daishi (774-835) who was born on Shikoku Island and was one of the founders of Shingon Buddhism.

This episode will be open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until March 2nd 11.59 AM (CET). I will (try to) post our next episode, Ryuko-ji (Temple 41), later on today. For now ... have fun, be inspired and share your haiku, senryu, tanka, kyoka or haibun with us all here at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai.

Carpe Diem #409, Enko-ji (temple 39)

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

Today we are entering the last temple of the first part of our Shikoku Pilgrimage. Today that's Enko-ji (Temple 39) at Sukumo Kochi Prefecture, it's also the last temple in Kochi prefecture. After this episode we will enter Ehime Prefecture, the third of four prefectures we will cross during this pilgrimage. (You can find our new prompt-list for March HERE)

Enko-ji temple is devoted to Yakushi Nyorai or the Buddha of Medicine and Healing. It is said that he entered in the state of Samadhi ("Eliminating All the Suffering and Afflictions of Sentient Beings."), a very deep concentration and part of the Noble Eightfold Path.

Dharma Wheel, representing the Noble Eightfold Path
As I started a few episodes earlier I mentioned the Zen insights on haiku and we had already "selflessness" and "loneliness" and today I will try to tell you more about "gratefull acceptance" or "gratitude" with that what you already have. It is in this "gratefull acceptance" that Zen-Buddhistic monks are 'begging' and are gratefull for the charity they are given.

"Gratitude is the key to unlocking a more open and rewarding perspective on life. Feelings of appreciation are always accompanied by the elevation of one's state of life and the broadening of one's perspective. And, the more our life expands, the more profound our sense of gratitude becomes, to the point where we can feel appreciation even for the problems we face in life."

It's in this Zen thought that the haiku-poets are composing their haiku. I have sought for a few examples and I have found the following by Issa:

suzushisa ni katajikenasa no yo tsuyu kana

for the cool, cool air...
evening dew
Or this one by Matsuo Basho ...:

yagate shinu keshiki wa miezu semi no koe

soon to die,
yet no sign of it:
a cicada's cry

And what do you think of this one written by myself:

thousand daisies
around the farmer's house -
lowing of a cow

What do you think of these haiku ... in my opinion they're giving a great view on what "gratefull acceptance" is ... the simplicity of all days situations are accepted in gratitude. In other words "be happy with that what is given to you, it's all in the little things".

Well ... this was our last episode of Carpe Diem's first part of the Shikoku Pilgrimage. Tomorrow we will go on further on our pilgrimage starting at the first temple on the Shikoku trail in Ehime Prefecture at Ainan, that temple is named "Kanjizai-ji" and is also devoted to the Buddha of Medicine and Healing.
This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 2nd 11.59 AM (CET).

Thursday, February 27, 2014

Carpe Diem #408, Kongofukuji (Temple 38)


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

I am in the nightshift, so I can catch up a little. My dad is still in hospital, but will be this weekend released from the hospital. So we are glad that he his starting to recover, however it goes slowly, but he also is glad that he can go home, because at home (Home Sweet Home) he can recover further. Thank you all for your kind words and prayers for my dad and our family. Your prayers are very appreciated by my dad, my mum and myself.

one heartbeat away
I feel the strenght of prayers
send by my haiku-family

(c) Chèvrefeuille

Kongofuku-ji (Temple 38)

We are going on with our pilgrimage along the 88 temples on Shikoku Island and today we arrive at temple 38, Kongofuku-ji, which is devoted to Senju Kannon or the Boddhisatva of Motherly Love and Mother of the World. She has similarities with Mother Mary the Virgin and in the Edo Period (1663-1867) as Christianity was forbidden and was punishable with death. However Japanese Christians in that time were very clever and disguised The Virgin Mother Mary as Senju Kannon.

Maria Kannon (The Virgin Mary diguised as Senju Kannon)

In that Edo Period al lot of Christians died because of their religion and they were forced to go underground and if they were found and persecuted they could win back their life by trampling on an image of the Christ of The Virgin Mary (Fumi-e) and if they didn't they were tortured 'til death followed. These underground Christians were called Kakure Kirishitans.

Fumi-e (a floorstone with an image of Jesus Christ or The Virgin Mary on which the Japanese Christians had to trample to regain their life)

trampling His face
to save their own life -
a broken rose

a broken rose
on the floor in front of Him;
the sound of raindrops

(c) Chèvrefeuille

Not a strong set I think, but they give a well formed imagery of what I described in the above post. This episode of Carpe Diem is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 1st 11.59 AM (CET). I will post our last episode of this first part of our Shikoku Pilgrimage in which we will be visiting Temple 39, Enko-ji, at Sukumo, Kochi Prefecture. The last temple in Kochi Prefecture. With this new episode we have reached our first goal ... 44 temples visited and on our way to Enlightenment.

Carpe Diem Special #79, The Pilgrimage to Santiago De Compostela (part 5)


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Next to our pilgrimage on Shikoku Island we are also on a pilgrimage in the Northern part of Spain. We are walking the Camino or The Way of Saint James (Santiago De Compostela). We are on this pilgrimage together with Paulo Coelho, who wrote "The Pilgrimage" in 1987 after he walked the Camino.
In our last CD Special we visited a sorcerer/monk and learned about the significance of the Tarot along the Way of St. James and in The Tradition. While on their way (Petrus and Paulo) they have deep religious, spiritual conversations and in one of those conversations Petrus says:

[...] " Let’s forget all of our discussion about God. God is in everything around us. He has to be felt and lived. And here I am trying to transform him into a problem in logic so that you can understand him. Keep doing the exercise of walking slowly, and you will learn more and more about his presence." [...] (Source: The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho).

It is here were we can feel (or see) the connection with our other Pilgrimage on Shikoku. This thought, which Petrus expressed in the above quote, is so the same as the feeling of being one with Buddha in Buddhism or the feeling of NaraNaraYana (God in nature, nature in God) and the special greeting "Namaste" has also the same intensity.
Is that maybe the goal of this month of pilgrimages? To learn about the idea 'There is Only One God' in all religions? Is the Islamic Hajj ... not the same as all the other pilgrimages? I think that we are walking these pilgrimages together with a thousand others, with thousand different thoughts and ideas, but all with the same goal "Finding Enlightenment".

Santiago Pilgrim

A pilgrimage (ans I think this idea is the same for our virtual pilgrimage) binds different people together as one, we all are pilgrims on our path to Enlightenment or Fullfilment or ... what other idea you will mention.

Paulo went on his pilgrimage to Santiago to find his sword back, his spiritual goal, his spiritual tasks, and for sure it will not be easy, but at the end of his pilgrimage he will find his sword back. But that we will see in our next month of Carpe Diem in which we will walk the second part of the Shikoku Pilgrimage and the second part of Paulo's pilgrimage to Santiago.

one with the Creator
as I walk through the rainforest -
the sound of raindrops

(c) Chèvrefeuille

This Special episode will stay on until March 1st 11.59 AM (CET) and is NOW OPEN for your submissions. I will (try to) post our next episode, Kongofukuji (Temple 38), later on today.

Wednesday, February 26, 2014

Carpe Diem #407, Iwamoto-ji (Temple 37)

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

We are almost at the end of this first part of our Shikoku Pilgrimage. We are still in Kochi Prefecture and are on our way to Shimanto, a modern city in the southwestern part of Shikoku. The city lays on the banks of Shimanto River.

Shimanto River
along the river
residents walk on their path
to Enlightenment

(c) Chèvrefeuille

It's very common to the Japanese culture that city's have their own symbols. Shimanto has them also Shimanto has the following symbols: Willow, Wisteria, Common Kingfisher and Ayu (this is a kind of fish). I love to tell a little bit more about the Ayu, because it brought a haiku written by Basho into my mind.
Ayu is an edible fish, mostly consumed in East Asia. Its flesh has a distinctive, sweet flavour with "melon and cucumber aromas".  It is consequently highly prized as a food fish. The main methods for obtaining ayu are by means of fly fishing, by using a trap, and by fishing with a decoy which is known as ayu-no-tomozuri in Japan. The decoy is a living ayu placed on a hook, which swims when immersed into water. It provokes the territorial behavior of other ayu, which assault the "intruder" and get caught.
Japanese anglers also catch it using a traditional method, cormorant fishing (
鵜飼 ukai). On the Nagara River where Japanese Cormorants (Phalacrocorax capillatus) are used by the fishermen, the fishing season draws visitors from all over the world. The Japanese Cormorants, known in Japanese as umi-u (ウミウ, "sea-cormorant"), are domesticated birds trained for this purpose. The birds catch the ayu, store it in their crop, and deliver it to the fishermen.

Cormorrant fishing
And this is the haiku by Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) which came in my mind as I was preparing this episode of Carpe Diem.
exciting to see
but soon after, comes sadness
the cormorant boats
(c) Basho
Oke ... back to the regular temple-visit on our pilgrimage along the 88 temples on Shikoku Island. Today we visit the Iwamoto-ji Temple in Shimanto. This temple is devoted to the Five Great Buddhas of Wisdom, Dainichi Nyorai, Ashuku Nyorai, Hosho Nyorai, Amida Nyorai and Fukujoju Nyorai. All Five Buddhas have their own complete sysytem of capabillities of overcomeing a particular evil with a particular good.

The Five Buddhas of Wisdom
So this temple is a very strong and spiritual one which we visit, because of the fact that it is devoted to Five Buddhas instead of one.

Iwamoto-ji Temple (Temple 37)
As we will continue our pilgrimage to our next temple, Kongofuku-ji (Temple 38), we have to walk 90 kilometres because that's the distance between temples 37 and 38. To make that path a bit shorter we will visit Northern Spain in our new Special CD episode in which we are following Paulo Coelho while he is on his pilgrimage to Santiago De Compostela or The Way of St. James.
To close this episode a love to share an impromptu-verse which is following me since my dad became hospitalized ... I just have to share it here I think, because I don't know why it's continuating to be in my mind. This 'haunting haiku' is the following:
early morning
a choir of thousand birds
welcoming the sun
(c) Chèvrefeuille
This haiku (in my opinion) has nothing to do with this episode of Carpe Diem, but ... well I hope it's not haunting me further now I have shared it.
This episode of Carpe Diem is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until February 28th 11.59 AM (CET) I will post our (delayed) CD-Special about Paulo Coelho's Pilgrimage later on today. For now ... have fun, be inspired and share your haiku with us all here at our Haiku Kai.


Tuesday, February 25, 2014

Carpe Diem #406, To catch up on our Shikoku Pilgrimage, three days in one post

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

It was great to have a few days off ... I could do other things which were set on hold for Carpe Diem and last Sunday (February 23th) we had the babyshower for my youngest daughter who is pregnant and hope's to give birth to her first child around March 20th. It was a baby-shower meant for only her girl-friends and niches, sisters, aunts and her mum. So I had to leave my house ... no problem by the way, because I had to baby-sit my three grandsons (the kids of my oldest daughter) and enjoyed it very much.

Well ... I had to take off these few days and I will catch up in this episode of Carpe Diem. I will just mention the four temples which we had to miss as a result of my absence. So let's go on a quick trip along the four temples we missed.

We had to visit temples 33 until 35, all three temples devoted Yakushi Nyorai, the Buddha of Healing and Medicine.

Sekkeiji (Temple 33)

Tanemaji (Temple 34)

Kiyotakiji (Temple 35)

silent prayers
reaching for the blue sky -
sunflowers bloom again

sunflowers bloom again
after a bad summer storm
stronger than ever

stronger than ever
the pilgrims chanting their mantra
silent prayers

Not a strong trio of haiku I think, but I had to write these words. In a way they bring an intense feeling of joy and happiness to me ... maybe it's in a way a kind of saying "Thank You All For Your Prayers", they have made my dad stronger again and he may leave the hospital this Wednesday February 26th ... than the real recovery starts of course ... at home together with my mum ... and they will survive this again ... as they did earlier ... through their strong love and faith.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until February 28th 11.59 AM (CET) and I will try to publish (a day later than planned) our new Carpe Diem Special episode, the fifth of this month about The Way of St. James. Have fun, be inspired and share your haiku, senryu, tanka, kyoka or haibun with us all here at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai.

Monday, February 24, 2014

Carpe Diem #495, Hot Springs

!! This post was published early, because of the nightshift !!

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

We are almost enetering the last ten days of this wonderful month with modern summer kigo. And I hope you all do like these kigo.
I am busy with the preparing of our promptlist for July, but I love to ask your opinion about something. I love to make a promptlist for July with only haiku for your inspiration and I will only take haiku composed by the four great haiku-poets, Basho, Buson, Issa and Shiki, and thè haiku-poetess Chiyo-Ni. Ofcourse we will have again on Wednesdays the Ghost-Writer post and on Fridays our Tan Renga Challenge. In July there will be no Special episodes. What do you think about that? Please let me know. !! By the way I am looking for Ghost-Writers for July ... so if you will be a Ghost-Writer for July ... let me know or send your Ghost-Writer post to one of the following emailadresses:

Ok ... back to our prompt for today. Today our prompt is Hot Springs and is a very clear prompt I think so I don't have to explain it. Here is the haiku which Jane Reichhold uses as an example for this kigo.

hot springs
not far from the desert sun
fire spirits

bubbling hot springs
in dry desert sands
fire opals
soaked in hot springs
crystal-filled waters
home in the stars

© Jane Reichhold

Well ... Hot Springs ... sounds awesome, don't you think so too? I wasn't inspired to compose a new haiku on this prompt, but I thought "I have to share a haiku, so I have sought through all my haiku", but couldn't find a haiku on this prompt. So I love to share a haiku by Basho:

yuno nagori   kayoi wa hada no   samukara n

tonight my skin
will miss the hot spring
it seems colder
© Matsuo Basho (1644-1694)

There is a nice story behind this haiku by Basho, but I have to think it over, before I am gonna tell you that story and if I am going to share that story.

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until June 22nd at noon (CET). I will try to post our new episode, our 4th CD-Special with music by BrunuhVille, later on ... for now ... have fun!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

I take a few days off

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I am a bit exhausted my friends, so I take a few days off to take some time for myself ... sorry that I tell you all this a bit late. I will publish the delayed posts all together next Monday. Sorry guys ...


Friday, February 21, 2014

Carpe Diem #405, Zenjibuji (Temple 32)

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

My dad is slowly recovering, but he feels good and is glad to be of the IC. He's now on the Urology-unit and is taken good care of, so he's well, but still in the hospital. Thank you all for your kind words and prayers.

Today we enter a new realm in the state of Zen which belongs to haiku. Earlier I told you about Selflessness and today I tell you a bit more about Loneliness.
Loneliness, what is it to you? To me it's being alone in the middle of nature. Alone with the song of birds, the scent of flowering cherry trees, the sound of a babbling brook, alone with the elements, just live with nature, being one with nature.
Loneliness , a state of Zen, but also a state of shamanism or Tengriism (as we discovered in January 2014) or, staying in the sphere of our pilgrimage, alone along the roads and paths between the separated temples on Shikoku Island meditating and contemplating about the things that are important to become Enlightened. The underlying rhythm of thought rather than the thought itself. I can express this feeling of Loneliness with the feeling of Matthew Arnolds of this state:

The solemn peaks, but to the stars are known, but to the stars, and the cold lunar beams; alone the sun rises, and alone spring the great streams.

Or to feel with the arisen Christ,

How good it is to have fulfilled my mission and to be beyond it. Now I can be alone, and leave all things to themselves, and the fig-tree may be barren if it will, and the rich may be rich. My way is my own alone.

This is the real loneliness, but needs to go one step further beyond this into the realm of

and yet I am not alone, because the Father is with me.


It maybe well here to note the use of words in Zen, the way in which silence and speech are one thing. In all true Zen language and conversation, that is to say, whenever two minds are really in communion, any given word connotes its logical opposite as well. So if we say "selflessness", it means, in conjunction, "selffulness". "Loneliness" is also a state of interpenetration with all other things. Thus Basho (1644-1694) says, aspiring to be in this state:

ah, Kankodori,
deepen thou
my loneliness

The Kankodori, by the way, is a bird which lives among the mountains far from the haunts of men, so that its very shape and form are almost unknown. Its voice, however, is somewhat like that of the wood-pigeon and is always heard in the distance. It is said to announce by its cry the approach of rain and of its coming cessation. Kankodori is a kigo (seasonword) for summer.

 loneliness, is the haiku equivalent of Mu in Zen, a state of absolute spiritual poverty in which, having nothing, we possess all.

Kankodori (kigo for summer) woodblock by Raku-Zan Kyo

Basho, in his above mentioned haiku, tells us that for him it is the Kankodori, its cooing voice in the distance, that can work this miracle of loneliness, of grace, in his heart.
Haiku are lonely, with its apparent poverty of form and material, their very appearance and look of richness of tone and rhythm. The loneliness of haiku is not that of the poet as a recluse, not that of desolate places and forgotten men, though it may be induced by them or be in resonance with them.
To end this episode's theme 'loneliness' another great haiku by Basho in which we can feel the loneliness.

along the road
goes no one,
this autumn eve

What has 'loneliness' to do with our temple to visit today, Zenjibuji (temple 32)? Totally nothing (smiles), but I loved telling you all more about Loneliness as a state of Zen. In a way loneliness has to do with Zenjibuji, because are we not all on this pilgrimage as loners? Everyone of you will transform in a way by this Shikoku Pilgrimage and that transforming is something which you have to do alone.

Zenjibuji (temple 32), Nankoku, Kochi Prefecture

left alone
a thrown away bouquet -
heart filled with tears

(c) Chèvrefeuille

through the city park near by
just the wind and me

(c) Chèvrefeuille

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until February 23rd 11.59 AM (CET) and I will (try to) publish our new episode later on today. That new episode will be, Sekkeiji (Temple 33). For now have fun, be inspired and share your haiku with us all.
By the way: For this loneliness theme I gratefully used R.H. Blyth's series of four volumes Haiku.

Thursday, February 20, 2014


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I will publish our next episode, Zenjibuji (Temple 32), tomorrow. Sorry for the delay.

Warm greetings,

Chèvrefeuille, your host.

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Carpe Diem Special #78, Pilgrimage to Santiago De Compostela (or The Way of St. James)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Today we are going further on our pilgrimage to Santiago De Compostela together with Paulo Coelho and his guide Petrus, but first I will tell something else. As you know my dad is in hospital today he has left the IC and was replaced to a normal unit. It turns out that he had a septic infection started in his blatter and has been very ill of that, but 'praise the Lord' he is recovering great and now it's just a matter of time until he can leave the hospital. So thank you all for your kind words and offered prayers they are a blessing to my dad and us.

Today we visit Roncesvalles, a wonderful monastery along the Road to Santiago. Paulo and his guide Petrus are visiting this monastery and Paulo will learn an important lesson.
Roncesvalles is a small village and municipality in Navarre, northern Spain. It is situated on the small river Urrobi at an altitude of some 900 metres in the Pyrenees, about 4 kilometres from the French frontier as the crow flies, or 21 kilometres by road.
Roncesvalles is famous in history and legend for the defeat of Charlemagne and the death of Roland in 778, during the battle of Roncevaux Pass, when Charlemagne's rear guard was destroyed by Basque tribes.


The small collegiate church contains several curious relics associated with Roland. The battle is said to have been fought in the picturesque valley known as Valcarlos, which is now occupied by a hamlet bearing the same name, and in the adjoining pass of Ibañeta (Roncevaux Pass). Both of these are traversed by the main road leading north from Roncesvalles to Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, in the French Basque Country.
Since the Middle Ages, this collegiate church has been a favorite resting place for Catholic pilgrims along the Way of St. James, since it is the first place to have a rest after crossing the French Pyrenees. Every year thousands of pilgrims begin their way to Santiago de Compostela at Roncesvalles. (Source: Wikipedia)

They, Paulo and Petrus, are entering the collegiate church of the monastery and are part of the Holy Mass which is busy at the moment they enter. Here they stay for a while feeling blessed by the Virgin of Roncesvalles. After the Holy Mass Paulo meets one of the monks, Father Jordi, who is not only a monk, but also a sorcerer in The Tradition.
Father Jordi performs a kind of ritual and tells Paulo that the Road to Santiago is just one of the four roads who will lead to Enlightenment. He, Father Jordi, calls this the Road of Spades and tells Paulo about the other three roads. The second Road is the Road to Jerusalem, or the Road of Hearts. The third Road is the Road to Rome, or the Road of Clubs. And finally he reveals to Paulo the fourth road. That last Road is the Road of Diamonds and that's The Secret Road. Here we see the four decks of the Tarot, not the ''Major Arcana", but the "Minor Arcana''. It's very common in The Tradition to use the Tarot.

[...] "Than Father Jordi performs another ritual, a magical one. He asks for the scallops of Paulo. He opens his knapsack and takes out the shells on which stood the image of Our Lady of the Visitation. He put the figure on the table. He held his hands over it and began to concentrate. He told me to do the same. The perfume in the air was growing stronger. Both the monk and I had our eyes open, and suddenly I could sense that the same phenomenon was occurring as had taken place at Itatiaia: the shells glowed with a light that did not illuminate. The brightness grew and grew, and I heard a mysterious voice, emanating from Father Jordi’s throat, saying, ‘Wherever your treasure is, there will be your heart.’
It was a phrase from the Bible. But the voice continued, ‘And wherever your heart is, there will be the cradle of the Second Coming of Christ; like these shells, the pilgrim is only an outer layer. When that layer, which is a stratum of life, is broken, life appears, and that life is comprised of agape.’
He drew back his hands, and the shells lost their glow. Then he wrote my name in the book that was on the table. Along the Road to Santiago, I saw only three books where my name was written: Mme Lourdes’s, Father Jordi’s, and the Book of Power, where later I was to write my own name.‘That’s all,’ he said. ‘You can go with the blessing of the Virgin of Roncesvalles and of San Tiago of the Sword.
‘The Jacobean route is marked with yellow pointers,painted all the way across Spain,’ said the monk, as we returned to the place where Petrus was waiting. ‘If you should lose your way at any time, look for the markers – on trees, on stones, and on traffic signs – and you will be able to find a safe place." [...] (Source: The Pilgrimage by Paulo Coelho)

The Virgin of Roncesvalles

After his encounter with Father Jordi, Paulo and Petrus are going on with their pilgrimage to Santiago De Compostela gratefully accepting lodging at several places along the Road to Santiago.

secrets revealed
in a magical and mysterious way -
the sound of babbling water

the sound of babbling water
brings the mind into ecstasy
secrets revealed

Another Carpe Diem Special has come to it's end and we will go on with our Shikoku Pilgrimage tomorrow. Than we will visit Zenjibuji (Temple 32). For now ... be inspired and share your haiku here at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until February 21st 11.59 AM (CET).

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Carpe Diem #404, Chikurinji (Temple 31)

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

First I love to thank you all for your kind words and offered prayers for the recoverin of my dad (85 yrs), who is still in the hospital because of a strange illness for which the doctors don't have a diagnosis yet. My dad is still on the IC and gets a lot of medicines. It's still uncertain if my dad will recover soon, but we all paray and hope that he will be healthy again.
Second ... I have decided to place our second Carpe Diem Haiku Kai Special weblog on hold, because I don't have time now to stay up to date with the posts there. So ... if you have visited that second weblog already and have shared there ... than I will not comment there or publish new posts for a while. Maybe in time, as I have more time and my dad is well again, I will publish there again. Meanwhile, if I have new ideas for new features I will publish them here at our Carpe Diem Haiku Kai and maybe I will publish a few episodes of our Special features here again.

Chikurinji (Temple 31)
Today we are going on with our Shikoku Henro (Pilgrimage) and we will arrive at Chikurinji (Temple 31). Chikurinji is devoted to Monju Bosatsu, the boddhisattva of transcendent wisdom. He is often seen as a meditational deity. His mantra 'om a ra pa ca na dhih' enhances wisdom. In ancient Japan it is said that Monju Bosatsu 'invented' nanshoku. The Japanese term nanshoku is the Japanese reading of the same characters in Chinese, which literally mean "male colors." The character (color) still has the meaning of sexual pleasure in China and Japan. This term was widely used to refer to some kind of male–male sex in a pre-modern era of Japan. Nanshoku was very common in the ancient Japanese world of arts and there are sources who state that Basho (1644-1694) was very much in nanshoku. There are even haiku composed by Basho who in a way refer to this nanshoku.

As I can recall ... I wrote at the start of this pilgrimage that I would like to tell you all more about the influence of Buddhism on haiku. By the way haiku is also influenced by e.g. Confucianism, Taoism and Shinto, but also has a lot of Zen hidden in it.
Zen as it is related to the mind of the haiku poet is dealt with under thirteen headings. These headings I will try to intwine in the upcoming episodes of Carpe Diem. Which headings are they?

Well ... Selflessness, Loniliness, Grateful Acceptance, Wordlessness, Non-intellectuality, Contradictoriness, Humour, Freedom, Non-morality, Simplicity, Materiality, Love and Courage. These are some of the characteristics of the state of mind which the creation and appreciation of haiku demand.


It is a condition of Selflessness in which things are seen without reference to profit or loss, even of some remote, spiritual kind. An example of Selflessness caught in a haiku by master Basho:

misty rain;
today is a happy day,
although Mt. Fuji is unseen

In this haiku the Selflessness is caught in the true happiness which Basho feels as he remembers the sight of Mt. Fuji, it's majestic beauty against a blue sky, a blue sky he now cannot see because of the misty rain. He is beyond himself or out of himself.
As we are in this condition, outside of ourself, we can look at anything and everything and see with its eyes, hear with its ears, fly with its wings. Wafu, a not so wellknown haiku poet, wrote in a state of Selflessness the following haiku:

the butterfly having disappeared,
my spirit
came back to me

"the butterfly having disappeared"

In this Selflessness there is only nature and the butterfly, but in the following verse, composed by another not so wellknown haiku poet Ampu, the song of a bird alone remains, nature and skylark all swallowed up in its thrilling notes:

the skylark:
its voice alone fell,
leaving nothing behind

Heard in the calm night of late spring, in their own language, the frogs praise their Creator, without Self and full of happiness that they may praise their Creator in their own way. Buson caught this in the next haiku:

standing still, --
the voices of frogs,
heard in the distance too

In truth, the frogs are silent; it is the frog nature of the poet which is suddenly heard speaking in his breast. This Selflessness is the immediate and sufficient cause of Selffulness, interpenetration with all things. Soshi says:

"Only 'he who has arrived' knows and understands that all things are one. He does not take himself as separate from things, but indentifies himself with them in their essential activity".

Chikurinji (Temple 31)

What has this to do with our Pilgrimage along the 88 temples on Shikoku Island? It has to do a lot with this pilgrimage. While we are on our pilgrimage we meditate and contemplate along the paths and roads between the separated temples and we become one with nature, we are losing our Self ... this Pilgrimage is a Pilgrimage to gain Selflessness and as we have gained that we will be happy and be really one with all things, we become all things, we become Buddha ... we will become Enlightened.

deep silence
in the middle of the night
Nightingale's song

(c) Chèvrefeuille

Nightingale's song

Well ... I hope you did like this post and I am looking forward to all of your wonderful haiku inspired on this post. This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until February 20th 11.59 AM (CET). Our next episode will be another Special in which we will go on further on our pilgrimage to Santiago De Compostela trodding in the footsteps of Paulo Coelho.

Monday, February 17, 2014

Carpe Diem Extra

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I am a bit behind with commenting and I hope to catch up asap. At the moment I haven't time because of private circumstances. My dad (85 yrs) is in hospital, he is very sick and is on the IC ... so I my mind isn't with haiku at the moment. I will try to publish our regular CD episodes, but can't garantee if I am on time with the publishing. I hope to tell you more later on, but on this moment all is possible. The illness of my dad gives the doctors 'head-breakers', because the can't give a diagnosis ... so it's all uncertain.

sunflowers bloom
facing towards the sun
in silent prayer

(C) Chèvrefeuille, your host


Carpe Diem #403, Zenrakuji (Temple 30)

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

Today we arrive after a long walk at the Zenrakuji Temple in Kochi, the capital of Kochi Prefecture. This temple is devoted to Amida Nyorai or Buddha Amida. It's very well known as part of several haiku written by Issa for example this one:

in falling cherry blossoms
growling to Amida Buddha ...
temple dog

(c) Issa (1763-1827)

or this one, also by Issa:

if you're praying
pray to Amida Buddha!
summer cicadas

(c) Issa

Basho also wrote several haiku on Amida Buddha or Nembutsu (the strong word for Amida Buddha), but I couldn't retrieve a few examples of those haiku by Basho. Maybe I will recover them later on and than I will share them with you all.

Let me tell you a little bit more about Amida Buddha or Amida Nyorai. Amida Nyorai is widely known for the practice of chanting "Namu Amida Butsu," the six syllables of his sacred name, in the Pure Land tradition of Buddhism. In the Pure Land (Jôdoshû) and True Pure Land (Jôdoshinshû) Schools, Amida Nyorai is the main deity, and spiritual peace of mind lies in being able to attain salvation by relying on his power. By this doctrine, it is explained in the widely read Amida Sutra that "the Buddha's radiance is infinite and illumines all of the countries in the ten directions totally without obstruction. That is why he is called the Buddha of Infinite Light. The life span of the Buddha is infinite, without limit, and never ends; and therefore he is called the Buddha of Infinite Life." The name Amida is from the Sanskrit word meaning infinite life, and because Amida's compassion is infinite and without boundaries, he is also called the Buddha of Infinite Life.

Amida Buddha or Amida Nyorai

Amida Nyorai presides over the Pure Land of the Western Paradise, holds to many vows specified in the Forty-eight Vows of Amida, and is particularly known for "Amida's coming and greeting" by which he will come with a host of attending bodhisattvas to greet a person who is about to die and lead that person to the Pure Land.

at dusk
the colored clouds show the Way
Pure Land calls

Pure Land calls
reaches out to humankind
Eternity awaits

Eternity awaits
as the Western paradise
is seen at dusk

(c) Chèvrefeuille

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until February 19th 11.59 AM (CET). I will post our new episode, Chikurinji (Temple 31), later on today.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Carpe Diem #402, Kokobunji (Temple 29)

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

Today we arrive at Kokobunji Temple (also known as Tosa Kokobunji) at Nankoku in Kochi Prefecture, this the 29th temple on our pilgrimage and it's devoted to Senju Kannon or Avalokitesvara. It is said that Senju Kannon was genderless and that he/she could take 21 different forms. One of this forms is called Tara it's the femine part of this deity. Tara is also known under e.g. names as Green Tara and Red Tara all colors stand for a different aspect of her.
She embodies many of the qualities of feminine principle. She is known as the Mother of Mercy and Compassion. She is the source, the female aspect of the universe, which gives birth to warmth, compassion and relief from bad karma as experienced by ordinary beings in cyclic existence. She engenders, nourishes, smiles at the vitality of creation, and has sympathy for all beings as a mother does for her children.

Green Tara

As Green Tārā she offers succor and protection from all the unfortunate circumstances one can encounter within the samsaric world. As White Tārā she expresses maternal compassion and offers healing to beings who are hurt or wounded, either physically or psychically. As Red Tārā she teaches discriminating awareness about created phenomena, and how to turn raw desire into compassion and love. As Blue Tārā (Ekajati) she becomes a protector in the Nyingma lineage, who expresses a ferocious, wrathful, female energy whose invocation destroys all Dharmic obstacles and engenders good luck and swift spiritual awakening.
Within Tibetan Buddhism, she has 21 major forms in all, each tied to a certain color and energy. And each offers some feminine attribute, of ultimate benefit to the spiritual aspirant who asks for her assistance.
These qualities of feminine principle then, found an expression in Indian Mahayana Buddhism and the emerging Vajrayana of Tibet, as the many forms of Tārā, as dakinis, as Prajnaparamita, and as many other local and specialized feminine divinities. As the worship of Tārā developed, various prayers, chants and mantras became associated with her.

The Mantra of Tara (Om Tare Tuttare Ture Svaha)

These came out of a felt devotional need, and from her inspiration causing spiritual masters to compose and set down sadhanas, or tantric meditation practices. Two ways of approach to her began to emerge. In one common folk and lay practitioners would simply directly appeal to her to ease some of the travails of worldly life. In the second, she became a Tantric deity whose practice would be used by monks or tantric yogis in order to develop her qualities in themselves, ultimately leading through her to the source of her qualities, which are Enlightenment, Enlightened Compassion, and Enlightened Mind.

Tosa Kokobunji (Temple 29)

enlightened soul
remains solid and truthful
full of compassion

full of compassion
Tara inspires her worldly followers -
lotus reaches for the sun

lotus reaches for the sun
finally enlightenment is near
Om Mane Padme Hum

(c) Chèvrefeuille

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until February 18th 11.59 AM (CET). I will publish our new episode, Zenrakuji (Temple 30), later on today if I have time enough ofcourse (I am in the nightshift).