Saturday, February 6, 2016

Carpe Diem #913 spirituality

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

First this: Our 6th Carpe Diem Haiku Kai kukai "time" is already on, but there are not enough submissions yet. You can submit your haiku (a maximum of three unpublished haiku) inspired on the theme "time" until February 14th 10.00 PM (CET) to our email-address: please write kukai time in the subject line. I am looking forward to all of your beautiful haiku.

Secondly: As you all know I am already busy with creating the first real issue of our own e-zine "Souchou". This issue will be published around March 21st, spring. However it is not necessary to submit haiku, tanka,other Japanese poetry forms or an essay themed "spring". If you want to be published in this new issue of Souchou than you can email your submissions to our special "souchou" email-address: please write "spring issue Souchou" in the subject line.

Third: Our second renga-party is on a roll and I have read wonderful links/stanza already. It looks like we are doing it again with each other. So be alert if it is your turn to write a stanza. Our renga-party is still highlighted in the left of our Kai.

Fourth: I hope to publish a new CDHK e-book soon in which I have gathered all the episodes of our second series of Haiku Wruiting Techniques. I will keep you all posted.

Okay ... that were the "household communications" for today, sorry for being prolixed. Back to our CDHK episode of today.

Credits: spirituality


This month we are sharpening our senses together with Hamish and I love to tell you first why I did choose for a nice photo of a Japanese Garden for our CDHK logo of February. We are talking about senses this month and in every Japanese garden you will find "triggers" for all of your senses. That's why I choose for this logo.

Today's episode is about "spirituality". Spirituality is one of the pillars on which I built Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, because it's my belief that haiku (and all other Japanese poetry) are based on spirituality. As we all know haiku is partly built on Zen Buddhism and (every) haiku can be seen as a koan.

Let me tell you all something more about this idea of "koan":

The popular western understanding sees kōan as referring to an unanswerable question or a meaningless statement. However, in Zen practice, a kōan is not meaningless, and not a riddle or a puzzle. Teachers do expect students to present an appropriate response when asked about a kōan.

Koans are also understood as pointers to an unmediated "Pure Consciousness", devoid of cognitive activity. Victor Hori*, Associate Professor, Japanese Religion at McGill University Montreal Quebec, criticizes this understanding:

[A] pure consciousness without concepts, if there could be such a thing, would be a booming, buzzing confusion, a sensory field of flashes of light, unidentifiable sounds, ambiguous shapes, color patches without significance. This is not the consciousness of the enlightened Zen master.

According to Hori, a central theme of many koans is the 'identity of opposites':

[K]oan after koan explores the theme of nonduality. Hakuin's well-known koan, "Two hands clap and there is a sound, what is the sound of one hand?" is clearly about two and one. The koan asks, you know what duality is, now what is nonduality? In "What is your original face before your mother and father were born?" the phrase "father and mother" alludes to duality. This is obvious to someone versed in the Chinese tradition, where so much philosophical thought is presented in the imagery of paired opposites. The phrase "your original face" alludes to the original nonduality.

Comparable statements are: "Look at the flower and the flower also looks"; "Guest and host interchange".

* Victor Sōgen Hori received his doctoral degree in philosophy from Stanford University in 1976 and that same year was ordained a Zen monk. After devoting the next thirteen years to training the Rinzai Zen headquarters temple of Daitoku-ji in Kyoto, he returned to Canada to begin academic life. He has taught in the Faculty of Religious Studies since 1993 and is a member of the Centre for East Asian Research and the Centre for Medicine Ethics and Law. Professor Hori’s research topics include Asian religion and culture, the teaching of Buddhist philosophy, and the kōans of the Zen masters.

As I look back into the history of CDHK than I see and read a lot of spirituality, not only in the posts, but also in the responses on the posts. I think spirituality was strong present in our "Tarot Month" back in May 2013. In that month we explored the divine in the Tarot, which is seen as an occult practice. We discovered that month that the Tarot is more than occult .... it's divine and full of spirituality.

We also had several posts about, for example: pilgrimages and shamanism, in which we discovered the spiritual layers in haiku and we learnt to bring that spirituality into our haiku and that's also the goal of this episode.

universal experience
walking on the path of wisdom
finding the truth

© Chèvrefeuille (2013)

Credits: spirituality

Hamish on Spirituality:

Spirituality means something different to everyone. Often quite a few of us get in touch with their spiritual side through private prayer, yoga, meditation, quiet reflection, or even long walks.

Research shows that even skeptics can't stifle the sense that there is something greater than the concrete world we see. As the brain processes sensory experiences, we naturally look for patterns, and then seek out meaning in those patterns.

Spirituality says that even if you think you're limited and small, it simply isn't so. You are greater and more powerful than you have ever imagined. A great and divine light exists inside of you. This same light is also in everyone you know and in everyone you will ever know in the future. You may think you're limited to just your physical body and state of affairs — including your gender, race, family, job, and status in life — but spirituality comes in and says "there is more than this."

When you're filled with spiritual energy, you feel great inspiration. Allowing yourself to be filled with inspiration translates into love, joy, wisdom, peacefulness, and service. The study of spirituality goes deeply into the heart of every matter. Perhaps the best way to think about a spiritual approach to the world is to contrast it with the more common materialistic world — what can be seen, heard, tasted, touched, or smelled.

Shaman (Altai Mountains)

In contrast, the spiritual way is to see beyond mere outer appearances and the five senses to an intuitive perception of the causes behind outer conditions. Someone with a spiritual approach may change and uplift their world by first transforming and improving his or her own vision. Accordingly, one of the main teachings of spirituality is to look within and find what you seek within yourself. As one becomes more spiritual, animalistic aggressions of fighting and trying to control the beliefs of other people can be cast off like an old set of clothes that no longer fits. Loving and respecting all doesn't mean agreeing with all doctrines. This goes for any teachings encountered along one's path.

A spiritual haiku is seen also in shaman haiku. Today though, show spirituality with your haiku through your description (of nature).

Here are a few shaman-haiku which Hamish published earlier here at CDHK:

scent of falling leaves
-sense of fading dreams
suddenly, a ladybug!

the liquid sunset
touches the sea
I touch the sea, too

© Hamish Managua Gunn

My response

As you all know, you could have read it above, but certainly all over Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, I am a very spiritual being and that's why I started creating haiku, because haiku is in my belief the poetry of spirituality. 

lying down on my back
watching the deep blue night sky -
feeling my spirit

feeling my spirit
wishing to be free forever
like an eagle

like an eagle
free and high in the blue sky
my Inner Path

© Chèvrefeuille

Honeysuckle (or Chèvrefeuille)

And another haiku which I found in my (rich) archive:

scent of Honeysuckle
the smell of dew on her flowers
Holy incense

© Chèvrefeuille (2012)

I was on a roll with this episode, sorry ... it became "to long". This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7.00 PM (CET) and will remain open until February 9th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our next episode, Time, later on. For now ... have fun!

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