Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Carpe Diem # 413, Iwaya-ji (temple 45)

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

As you all know while we are on our Shikoku Pilgrimage I will (try to) tell you something more about the Zen state of haiku. We had already, selflessness, loneliness, gratefull acceptance, wordlessness and now I will (try to) tell you more about 'non-intellectuality'.
Today we will visit Iwaya-ji, the 45th temple devoted to Fudo Myoo, a powerful deity who protects all life and is one of the five Kings of Wisdom, he is also known as Acala.His vow is to do battle with evil with a powerful mind of compassion and to work for the protection of true happiness. To pray for recovery from illness and for safety while traveling is to rely upon his vow and power to save. Acala is also the guide for the deceased, to help save them and assist them in becoming buddhas for the first seven days after death.And the mantra belonging to him is:

Nômaku sanmanda bazaradan senda makaroshada sowataya un tarata kanman
This means: Homage to the all-pervading Vajras! O Violent One of great wrath! Destroy!

Fudo Myoo (or Acala)

Oke ... back to our state of Zen. Zen is non-intellectual. Keats says: [...] 'Philosophy will clip an angel's wings'. [...]
What a man (or a women) knows, and the only thing he (she) knows, is God (or Spirit, Higher Energy and so on). In so far as he knows God, he is God, since all knowledge is selfknowledge. That is what we mean when we say that all men (and women) have the Buddha-nature. What we think about things is quite different from what we grasp as the thing itself.
Thought, like passion, deepens intuition, but can in no way substitue for it. Through this comes the inexplicability of life, of poetry.
Poetry has as its (unconscious) philosophic basis, the fact that all things are changing, unfixed, unfixable, contradictory, that a mountain is not a mountain, and yet at the same time it is a mountain.
Poetry can make us not only of Zen, but of the absence of it, as we can read in the following haiku by Hokushi (1665-1718):

I sold the field,
and all the more could not sleep,
for the frogs

We do the will of God even in disobeying Him. Enlightenment and delusion are not two different things. The ordinary man is Buddha. Let us take poetry in the same way that we must take life, as it comes, regardless of theories and prepared explanations. The unity will be there, never doubt it,but should we try to force it, our dead interpretations will be condemned by the life of the poetry itself.
When the mind is quiet, it can accept that we can move mountains and be satisfied with it, but once we elaborate it, the mind, the intellectual part of the mind, is aroused to work by itself.
The problem for haiku, both in composition and in appreciation, is the same as for life itself: how to retain and assimilate the intellectual elements that distinguish the upper from the lower animals, into the instinctive life common to all. Sometimes, indeed, we are able to express what we mean better by our silence than in any other way.

New Year's Day:
what I feel, has been to much
for the words.

(c) Daio (?)

The incoherent, chaotic mass of thought-emotion, which is the fount of our existence, sometimes emerges, crystallized into words. In being expressed, it loses something of its primitive vitality. If only we can express by not expressing, we can have our cake and eat it too, and this is what Daio has tried to do in the above verse. Nevertheless, merely to say a thing is inexpressible is not to express it. But our feelings on New Year's Day are peculiarly difficult to put into words, though so insistent. (For this episode I have gratefully used R,H,Blyth's four volumes Haiku).

on New Year's Day
the wind through the bare branches
still the same

(c) Chèvrefeuille

While we are on our pilgrimage along the 88 temples on the Island of Shikoku we will loose our intellectuality, because we are all one with God, with Buddha and so we are all one with nature nevertheless neverthemore.
Writing haiku has to be a part of our life if you are a Haijin. Ofcourse we will use sometimes, just like the classic haiku-poets, the knowledge we have, but it never can be that our knowledge is a constant part of our haiku. Haiku are written straight from the heart, without thinking, without using our mind. It has to come as it has to come. Maybe to re-form your haiku to that masterpiece (which we all hope we will write once in our lifetime) we can use our knowledge, our wisdom.

Using our wisdom, brings us back to our temple for today, Iwaya-ji, devoted to Fudo Myoo (or Acala) one of the Kings of Wisdom.

Iwaya-ji (temple 45)
Maybe this episode feels like a 'haiku-sermon', but that wasn't my thought as I prepared this episode. So I hope you all will forgive me if you have the feeling that I have given a 'haiku-sermon'.

deep hidden thoughts
reaching for the morning sunlight -
Lotus opens her heart

(c) Chèvrefeuille

Well ... I hope you did like the read. This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until March 6th 11.59 AM (CET). I will (try to) publish our new episode, Joruriji (temple 46), later on today. For now ... have fun, be inspired and share your haiku with us all here at our Haiku Kai.


  1. I won't be able to link until much later today, so here's my haiku:

    The field to the north
    is filled only with cacti
    and one red blossom.

  2. The last haiku is stunning, Kristjaan.

  3. luv this
    " Haiku are written straight from the heart, without thinking, without using our mind. It has to come as it has to come. "

    much love...

  4. Thank you for sharing this... It opened my heart

  5. Wow! What a post...a culmination... And.....Hmmm I have a slightly different opinion than Sky....your first haiku is one of the very best you have ever written.................same word...stunning. Very..

  6. I love the wind through the branches poem!! Perfectly evocative of New Years Day!