Friday, June 10, 2016

Carpe Diem Tan Renga Challenge #102 "the plum blossoms gone" by Ryokan Taigu

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode of our weekly Tan Renga Challenge in which I will challenge you to make the Tan Renga complete by adding the second (two-lined) stanza towards it.
This week I have a nice "hokku" by Ryokan Taigu for you.

Let me first tell you something about Ryokan Taigu:

Ryokan was born in 1758, the first son in a noble family in Izumozaki in the Echigo District. He entered the priesthood at the age of 18 and was given the Buddhist name "Ryokan" when he was 22 years old. He kept searching for the ultimate truths through his life. Leaning the Chinese classics and poetry at Entsu Temple of the Soto Sect in Tamashima in the Bichu District, he practiced hard asceticism under Priest Kokusen for 20 years. After this, he traveled all over the country on foot and returned to his home village just before the age of 40. He lived at the Gogoan hut in Kokujyo Temple on Mt. Kugami, and then moved down to a thatched hut in Otoko Shrine at the foot of the Mountain. It is said that he enjoyed writing traditional Japanese poetry, Chinese poetry and calligraphy all through his simple, carefree and unselfish life. He was also called "Temari-Shonin (The Priest who Plays with a Temari ball)" and was much loved by children, since he often played with a Temari ball (Japanese cotton-wound ball), Ohajiki (small glass counters for playing games) together with children in the mountain village. Much of his poetry and letters which still remain, all of which are full of his sympathy and affection for children, describe his joyful times with children and also reveal his high personal qualities as a man who devoted his life to meditation. Ryokan was a Zen priest, but he never established his own temple, and lived by alms. Instead of preaching, he enjoyed companionship and conversation with many ordinary people. In 1831, he ended his 74-year life as an honest priest respected and loved by all he knew.

Gogō-an, the cottage where Ryōkan lived from 1804 to 1816  
Here is the "hokku". the first stanza of this new Tan Renga Challenge:

The plum blossoms gone, 
They look older than they are,
Ancient cottage eaves.

© Ryokan Taigu (1758-1831)

And now it is up to you to make this Tan Renga complete. have fun!

This episode is open for your submissions today at noon (CET) and will remain open until next Friday June 17th at noon (CET). Have fun!

1 comment:

  1. Carpe Diem Tan Renga Challenge # 102:

    the plum blossoms gone
    they look older than they are
    ancient cottage beams Ryokan Taigu

    pouring more tea for just one
    where will you be this long night Joyce Lorenson