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.

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