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.



  1. I love the haiku today and am glad to hear your dad is continuing to recover.

  2. Kristjaan, your ending haiku has everything to do with community.
    Prayer can only be hauntingly beautiful... for you:

    silent sweet prayer
    each of us for all of you
    bliss recovery

  3. I am looking forward to that choir! Thank you for th reminder that spring is coming!

  4. Beautiful entry today.. so glad to hear your Dad is recovering...

  5. ...and they do, they do welcome the sun in this way. I wonder why....a very meditative haiku.