Friday, March 7, 2014

Carpe Diem #416, Jodo-ji (temple 49)

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

While we are on our pilgrimage along the 88 temples trail on Shikoku Island we are celebrating the state of Zen of our beloved haiku. Until now we have talked about selflessness, loneliness, grateful acceptance, wordlessness, non-intellectuality, contradictoriness and yesterday we talked about humor. Today we are talking about freedom while on our way to the 49th temple, Jodo-ji, but what is freedom?

We say we live in a free world, but there are still countries were freedom isn't obvious. For example there are still countries were you can not or may not be homosexual or were you may not say what you are thinking. There are still countries (including the US) were the government is censoring the news. We, the whole world, are not really free and maybe we will never reach a world in which freedom is for all and everything.

Freedom is ... breaking the chains

What is freedom?

Freedom is not doing what you like, but liking what you do. When we are in pain, grief and loneliness, we are safe. We can think as Satan did in Hell,

[...] 'Here at least. We shall be free; the Almighty hath not built. Here for his envy, will drive us hence'. [...]

This is the freedom that Buson felt one day, sitting alone in the darkness, remembering his father's face, his mother's voice:

it is evening, autumn;
I think only
of my parents

It is freedom from likes and dislikes, not in the sense that we become indifferent or unsensitive, but that likable things are not sentimentalized or falsified.

Shiki wrote the following haiku to which the above refers:

beaten at battledore and shuttlecock,
the beautiful maiden's

Freedom from morality, from notions of progress, from all abstract ideals, from preconceived values that the mind is supposed to bestow on things is what Issa says in this haiku:

simple trust:
do not the petals flutter down,
just like that?

We must have freedom from the idea, and freedom from the fact of seeking for happiness, seeking for beauty or significance. So Buson says:

an autumn eve;
there is joy too,
in loneliness

To escape from the feeling that happiness is an end in itself is a lifelong task. But we can at least be free of the notion, implanted in us indirectly from our earliest years, that we have a right to certain things, among them and perhaps chief, happiness.

Jodo-ji (temple 49)

Freedom is what we all need, freedom is our right to be free ... as haiku-poets we may use the freedom of speech and art to promote freedom for everyone and everything.
Maybe freedom is a political statement, but freedom is freedom.
Here we are ... on a pilgrimage along the 88 temples on Shikoku Island walking and talking, meditating and contemplating the most important right of humankind ... freedom.

In freedom we have arrived at Jodo-ji temple, the 49th temple on the Shikoku trail, devoted to Shaka Nyorai or the Shakyamuni (Siddhartha Gautama) the prince that founded Buddhism. So this temple is very important on our pilgrimage.
Siddhartha lived at a palace and was shielded from the world outside the palace. He took his freedom to leave the palace and became Shakyamuni. Siddhartha took his freedom, his right to feel and be free ... as we have talked about during our walk to Jodo-ji.

stray dog seeking food
between the garbage of Mc Donalds -
rambler under the bridge

(c) Chèvrefeuille

Not a strong one, but it's in tune with the theme for today. A rambler maybe he choose for his freedom, maybe he didn't, but at least he can do what he wants ... sleeping under a bridge, swimming naked in the pool ... he feels free.

This episode will be open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until March 9th 11.59 AM (CET). I will (try to) publish our next episode, Ishiki-ji (temple 51), 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.


  1. This post is so excellent I don't know where to start with my comment. Stunning. Well done dear friend.

  2. Another wonderful post with a very contemplative topic ~ freedom ~ lovely photos also ~ sending more healing hugs to your Mom, Dad and family ~ peaceful weekend to all. xxx
    artmusedog and carol

  3. Kristjaan, this is a wonderful, wonderful theme to work with. My brain works a bit slowly sometimes and this is a concept that is going to have me thinking for some time. I'm not up to responding right now. I do, however, appreciate the opportunity to ponder 'freedom' from an angle I haven't considered before.

  4. Kristjaan, this is a wonderful concept to work with. My brain works a bit slowly sometimes so I will consider this aspect of freedom for a while. I appreciate the opportunity to think differently.