Saturday, September 20, 2014

Carpe Diem "Sparkling Stars" #6, Sodo's "There is Nothing"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This week's episode of "Sparkling Stars", the feature in which I bring haiku written by classical haiku-poets, known and not-known to you, is about Zen. What is Zen? Zen is as they say: "Not a thing exists of its own nature", all is bound together and is part of each other. What does this mean? As we think back at our "river"-prompt all and everything has its own Buddha-Nature, but is also bound together. And that's what Zen says: "All and everything has its own spirit. All and everything is God-like/Buddha-like and bound together".

This week I have a wonderful haiku (full of Zen) for you all, for your inspiration, written by Sodo (1642-1716). I think it's a wonderful haiku because of its simple complexity. In this episode I will, hopefully, bring this simple complexity, to real simplicity to let you all understand the meaning of this haiku and all other haiku are at their base a like with this one by Sodo.

yado no haru nanimo koso nanimo are

in my hut this spring,
there is nothing, -
there is everything!

© Sodo

This is poetry only when we take it as a spontaneous gush of feeling at some particular, fresh expression of the infinite meaning of things. A mouse runs over the tatami, and the whole Zoological Gardens cannot manifest more of life. Mildew covers an old piece of leather, and the mystery and power of Nature are revealed. The "philosophy" of the verse may be illustrated by a poem of Hakurakuten (penname of Pinyin Bo Jugi (772-846), a Chinese poet):

A Summer Day

The Eastern window is not hot at dusk;
Through the Northern door comes a cool breeze.
Sitting here, reclining there,
I have not left the room all day;
But if the mind is in its essence attached to nothing,
At home or abroad is just the same.

The Zen expression of Sodo's verse, however, is terser and better:

[...] "Not a thing exists of its own nature". [...]

This is what Mugaku Sogen (a Zen-Buddhist monk who lived from 1226 'til 1286 who also wrote wonderful poems), expresses in the following whimsical but profound way:

I thought
I would like
To give you something, -
But in the Daruma Sect,
We have not a single thing

And this poem says it all I think. Sodo, maybe did know this poem by Mugaku and used it for his inspiration ... who knows ...

Credits: Empty Bowl

To write a haiku in the same tone, sense and spirit as the one by Sodo will not be easy, but I have to try is of course ...

an empty bowl
but in it is the spirit of emptiness -
the spring breeze

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode of "Sparkling Stars" is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until next Saturday at noon (CET).

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