Wednesday, March 18, 2020

Carpe Diem Extra -- March 18th 2020 --- CDHK Lock Down

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I think you all have noticed that I haven't posted this week, or not that much this month. Let me explain it, but I think you all will know.

As you all know I am an oncology nurse and with the Corona virus spreading all over the world it is all hands on deck with caring for our patients, and in my case, the elderly people. So I don't have time anymore to publish our regular posts. You can say that "Carpe Diem Haiku Kai goes in Lock Down.

a summer drink
now turned into a plague
spreading ...

© Chèvrefeuille

I am dearly sorry that I have to "Lock Down" our wonderful Haiku Kai, but ...

Take care my beloved haiku family.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020

Carpe Diem #1824 Yasaka-ji (temple 47)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

First I have to apologize (again). At the moment my life is a bit upside down, because of circumstances in private and at work, so my mind isn't really at our wonderful Kai. So before I give you our Thursday episode I have to tell you all that this month I will not always publish an episode every day. I just can't find the peace to create them for you in the quality you all deserve. I hope you all will accept this choice.

This month we are on a pilgrimage at Shikoku Island, a kind of reprise of our earlier pilgrimage there back in 2014. Today we have a nice episode about Yasaka-ji, the 47th temple of the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

Yasaka-ji (temple 47)

Yasaka-ji temple is dedicated to Amida Nyorai. Let me tell you a little bit more about Amida Nyorai.
Amitābha, also known as Amida or Amitāyus, is a celestial buddha according to the scriptures of Mahayana Buddhism. Amitābha is the principal buddha in Pure Land Buddhism, a branch of East Asian Buddhism. In Vajrayana Buddhism, Amitābha is known for his longevity attribute, magnetising red fire element, the aggregate of discernment, pure perception and the deep awareness of emptiness of phenomena. According to these scriptures, Amitābha possesses infinite merit resulting from good deeds over countless past lives as a bodhisattva named Dharmakāra. Amitābha means "Infinite Light", and Amitāyus means "Infinite Life" so Amitābha is also called "The Buddha of Immeasurable Light and Life".

Kobayashi Issa, one of the big-five haiku poets, was a buddhist in the tradition of the Pure Land Buddhism and he wrote several haiku with that theme, here are a few examples:

"Praise the unshackled
heavenly gods!"
plum blossoms

if you're praying
pray to Amida Buddha!
summer cicadas

one paulownia leaf
good choice!
it falls westward

© Kobayashi Issa

That 2nd and 3rd haiku are very specific themed Pure Land. According to Pure Land Buddhism is paradise situated in the west.

at dusk
the colored clouds show the Way
Pure Land calls
reaches out to humankind
Eternity awaits

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 18th at noon (CET). Have fun!

Tuesday, March 10, 2020

Carpe Diem #1823 The Path Of Enlightenment

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode of our Kai, but before I start with this episode I have to apologize for not publishing last weekend. There were circumstances in private life that needed my attention so I hadn't time to publish our weekend meditation last weekend.

Today I have a more informative episode for you all about the Shikoku Pilgrimage, the pilgrimage that is our theme this month.

The Shikoku Pilgrimage or Shikoku Junrei is a multi-site pilgrimage of 88 temples associated with the Buddhist monk Kūkai (Kōbō Daishi) on the island of Shikoku, Japan. A popular and distinctive feature of the island's cultural landscape, and with a long history, large numbers of pilgrims (known as henro still undertake the journey for a variety of ascetic, pious, and tourism-related purposes.
In addition to the 88 "official" temples of the pilgrimage, there are over 200 bangai — temples not considered part of the official 88. To complete the pilgrimage, it is not necessary to visit the temples in order; in some cases it is even considered lucky to travel in reverse order.

The pilgrimage is traditionally completed on foot, but modern pilgrims use cars, taxis, buses, bicycles, or motorcycles. The walking course is approximately 1,200 km long and can take anywhere from 30 to 60 days to complete. "Henro" is the Japanese word for pilgrim, and the inhabitants of Shikoku call the pilgrims o-henro-san, the o being an honorific and the san a title similar to "Mr." or "Mrs.". They are often recognizable by their white clothing, sedge hats, and kongō-tsue or walking sticks. Alms or osettai are frequently given. Many pilgrims begin and complete the journey by visiting Mount Kōya in Wakayama Prefecture, which was settled by Kūkai and remains the headquarters of the Shingon sect of Buddhism. The 21 km walking trail up to Koya-san still exists, but most pilgrims use the train.

mysterious Island
dedicated to the Path of Enlightenment
four countries* as one

© Chèvrefeuille

(*Shikoku means "four countries")

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 16th at noon (CET). Enjoy!

Friday, March 6, 2020

Carpe Diem #1822 Kanjizai-ji (temple 40)

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This Shikoku pilgrimage took us two whole months (February & March 2014) and I love to share part of the first episode of March 2014, about the 40th temple Kanjizai-ji. (Just to make it myself easy).

Kanjizai-ji (temple 40)
[...] Kanjizai-ji is situated in the town called Ainan and is devoted to Yakushi Nyorai or the Buddha of Medicine and Healing. He is still one of the most important Buddhas especially during rituals which are performed at funerals, because he is also the Buddha who leads the buddhists to Nirvana.

Nirvana calling
Yakushi Nyorai guides you
to Enlightenment

© Chèvrefeuille

Sorry for being late with publishing and that I give you just a short episode.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 12th at noon (CET). Have fun!

Wednesday, March 4, 2020

Carpe Diem Tan Renga Wednesday #16 Basho's "karumi"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode of our special feature Tan Renga Wednesday. Today I have a nice "karumi" haiku by Basho. As you maybe know ... it was Basho's lifetime long goal to share his idea of "karumi". More about "karumi" you can find HERE.

What is karumi?

Bashô developed this concept during his final travels in 1693. Karumi is perhaps one of the most important and least understood principles of haiku poetry. Karumi can best be described as “lightness,” or a sensation of spontaneity. In many ways, karumi is a principle rooted in the “spirit” of haiku, rather than a specific technique. Bashô taught his students to think of karumi as “looking at the bottom of a shallow stream”. When karumi is incorporated into haiku, there is often a sense of light humor or child-like wonderment at the cycles of the natural world. Many haiku using karumi are not fixed on external rules, but rather an unhindered expression of the poet’s thoughts or emotions. This does not mean that the poet forgets good structure; just that the rules of structure are used in a natural manner. In my opinion, karumi is “beyond” technique and comes when a poet has learned to internalize and use the principles of the art interchangeably.

Here is the "karumi" haiku to work with:

White chrysanthemum
I look holding it straight
no dust at all

© Basho

Now it is up to you to make a Tan Renga with this haiku by adding your two-lined stanza of approx. 7-7 syllables.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 11th at noon (CET). Have fun!

Monday, March 2, 2020

Carpe Diem #1821 Ryozenji (the first temple)

Youkoso at Shikoku dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Today we start with our Shikoku Pilgrimage and so I started this episode with "Youkoso", which means "welcome''. From this day on we will make a pilgrimage along a selection of the 88 temples on the Isle of Shikoku and will trod in the footsteps of thousands of O-Henro (pilgrims on Shikoku-route) and in the footsteps of Kobo Daishi (774-835).

The Shikoku Pilgrimage starts at the first temple, Ryozenji, but before we start with our Shikoku Pilgrimage we first have to learn the "Heart of the Great Wisdom Sutra":

Heart of the Great Wisdom Sutra

When a sincere truth seeker attains the wisdom of enlightenment, he realizes that all the five senses are empty and he transcends every suffering.
Listen: All things are no different from emptiness; emptiness is not different from all things. Form is emptiness; emptiness is form. Feelings, perceptions, impulses, consciousness are also like this.
Listen: The original nature of all things is neither born nor extinguished. There is no purity, no defilement; no gain, no loss.
In this world of emptiness there is no form, no feelings, perceptions, impulses, or consciousness. No eye, ear, tongue body, or mind. Therefore, no color, sound, smell, taste, touch, or thought. The world of form does not exist, nor the world of the mind or of ignorance; no old age and no death.
Yet there is continuous ignorance, old age, and death.
There is no suffering, no cause of suffering, no cessation of suffering; no wisdom and no attainment because there is nothing to be attained. The compassionate truth-seeker depends upon the wisdom of enlightenment.
When the mind does not become attached to anything, there are no obstacles and fear does not exist. This mind goes beyond all disruptive views and attains Nirvana. All the Buddhas of the past, present and future depend upon the wisdom of enlightenment--and so attain the supreme, wisdom of enlightenment as the great unexplainable true word, the great shining true word that is able to remove all suffering. It is true, not false. This true word of wisdom says:
Gyate Gyate Hara Gyate Hara So Gyate Bodhi Sowa Ka.

Ryozenji (the first temple)

Well ... as we are prepared now I say again "Youkoso" and I bow for you. In my heart I chant the Heart Sutra to become in tune with Shikoku. We are on our way and will start at the first temple Ryozenji at Naruto in Tokushima Prefecture. It is here were the pilgrimage starts.

Ryozenji Temple is also known as "Vulture Peak" which refers to one of the sermons the Buddha once gave on a mountain with the same name. It was on that mountain that Buddha started with his religion and wrote the Heart-Sutra and e.g. the Lotus-Sutra.
So this first temple is in every way the start of our Shikoku Pilgrimage.
In the upcoming episodes of our Shikoku Pilgrimage I will try to tell you all more about Buddhism as one of the roots for our beloved haiku. As you maybe know ... in the classical rules of haiku is said that there has to be a Buddhistic layer in haiku. Of course I will use haiku examples written by the classical haiku-poets and sometimes written by modern haiku-poets.
OK ... let us start with our Shikoku Pilgrimage and I love to share my first haiku for this new month with you and I am looking forward to all our new insights and wonderful haiku.

Vulture Peak
pilgrims chanting
the Heart Sutra to honor Kukai -
cry of a Vulture
breaks through the serene temple -
pilgrims chanting

© Chèvrefeuille

Well ... our new month has started ... enjoy our small pilgrimage along the 88 temples on Shikoku Island.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 9th at noon (CET). Have fun!

Sunday, March 1, 2020

Carpe Diem #1820 Introduction to Shikoku Island

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Maybe you can remember our earlier Shikoku Pilgrimage months back in 2012 and in 2017, we became Henro (as the pilgrims are called) and walked this wonderful pilgrimage along the 88 temples on Shikoku Island.

This month we are going again to walk this pilgrimage together hoping that Shikoku Island will bring us the inspiration for our Japanese poetry. The Shikoku pilgrimage is a once in a lifetime to do pilgrimage for Buddhists ... so this month we will be Buddhists, Henr-o that walk the pilgrimage along the 88 temples established by Kobo Daishi (774-835).

One of the 88 temples on Shikoku Island, the Sakura Temple

Are you with me this month?

first cherry blossoms
winter is running towards its end --
a new day rises

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until March 8th at noon (CET). Enjoy this new month.