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.


  1. So glad your Dad is doing better ~ lots of distant reiki healings energy and hugs to you both and family ~ xxx
    artmusedog and carol

  2. Infections are sometimes repeat invaders. Full and swift recovery to your Dad.
    My in-law had some issues as well in advance years. It is hard to monitor everything, even when in a full care unit. Always be proactive when caring for a loved one. Make sure you understand all the details and options.

    Glad my kaeru adventures are keeping you delighted. :)

  3. beautiful haiku, beautiful post. all the very best for you and your father. <3

  4. missed the link window, thought I had another hour. here is my post about this

    1. I will link your link to the list.

    2. Thanks Kristjaan,I didn't want to create extra work for you, just thought you'd like to read. :)

  5. I'm too late again!
    Very glad your father has been doing better; I hope he's home soon!