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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 5:45 am 
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The Buddha, the Godhead, resides quite as comfortably in the circuits
of a digital computer or the gears of a cycle transmission as he does
at the top of a mountain or in the petals of a flower. To think otherwise
is to demean the Buddha---which is to demean oneself.
~Robert M. Pirsig~

Kung Yi-tsu was famous for his strength. King Hsuan of Chou went to
call on him with full ceremony, but when he got there, he found that Kung
was a weakling. The king asked, "How strong are you?"
Kung replied, "I can break the waist of a spring insect, I can bear the
wing of an autumn cicada."
The king flushed and said, "I'm strong enough to tear apart rhinoceros
hide and drag nine oxen by the tail---yet I still lament my weakness. How
can it be that you are so famous for strength?
Kung replied, "My fame is not for having such strength, it is for being able
to use such strength."
~Zen Story~

Zen is a wafting cloud in the sky.
No screw fastens it, no string holds it...
~D.T. Suzuki~

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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 5:09 pm 
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A wafting sky in the cloud.. nice


Image

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Collective fear stimulates herd instinct, and tends to produce ferocity toward those who are not regarded as members of the herd.
~Bertrand Russell


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 19, 2008 8:32 pm 
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The decisive cause for this post was the reaction that I got to enquiring why there is a perceived (or otherwise) difference between the haiku form & the senryu. The fact that my spell checker doesn’t even recognise the word ‘senryu’ is interesting in itself. I was beginning to think it may actually be a form indigenous to the continental United States. Webster’s dictionary only notes that the first recorded usage in American English was in 1965.

It turns out that the Edo era Japanese poet Karai Hachiemon gave it the appellation after his own pen-name; ‘River Willow’. It was a development of the haiku but often without the Taoist inspired reference to nature.

I am not sure why it has not caught on in my country (England) more. This perceived, possibly cultural difference has been (& still is) most intriguing to me.

The ultimate origin of Zen poetry seems to have begun with the T’ang through Sung dynasties of China (CE 618-1279). The Sanskrit ‘Gatha’ which was a verse often praising the Buddha inspired a Chinese form. There appears to have been a syncretism between the Buddhism introduced by Bodhidharma in 520 CE & the indigenous Taoist belief system. A story related in the Liu-tsu t’an ching is related of the sixth patriarch Hui-neng’s enlightenment poem. This poem seems to have been very important in the development of the Zen philosophical school. The Book of Odes, a collection of poetry compiled in the 5 centuries before Confucius, divided into 3 sections of; Feng, Ya & Sung also has its influence, primarily with the last division of ritual & religious songs & poems.

So the source has a long lineage. Poems of enlightenment were written predominantly by followers of Zen than by poets. Many of these poems utilised the ‘koan’ or ‘problem’ to solve. We are quite familiar with these concepts now because of the proliferation of Zen culture into the west. The unsolvable ‘one hand clapping’ & ‘Joshu’s Oak’ are non logical problems which demand a non logical approach. They are intended to be meditated upon. I am sure most people are familiar with these concepts now. The famous Butcho-Basho conversation gave us one of the most famous of Basho’s haiku, oddly about a frog.

It seems that haiku were inspired by the simplicity of certain calligraphy forms & artistic minimalism (shubuyi).

The nature references which many people seem to think are so important to haiku as a form may have been inspired by the Taoist need for a harmony with nature. A poem linked to nature is linked to the cosmos; thus, is in harmony with ‘the ten thousand things’. This is a yin/yang type of balance & underpins a lot of Taoist thought.

Eventually a form of poetry which was written in appreciation of the koan appeared in China, Korea & Japan. These employed a variety of line lengths. One of the most famous collections being Hui-kai’s ‘Gateless Barrier’ (wu-men-koan). This form often employed cryptic & ironic concepts which would later influence both haiku & senryu.

The Kendo master poet & lay preacher Yanoka Tesshu (1836-1888) wrote a haiku as he was on the verge of death, which was a tradition in Japan. Later the form became less rigid & poets like Takeda Santoka (1882-1940) a priest of the Soto Zen sect wrote verse in a free form style.

So, am I any wiser? I think it is an interesting subject & I will certainly give it some more thought. I will probably still call my poems haiku. There again, who knows?

Bibliography:

Lao Tzu, Tao Te Ching, Penguin Classics.
The Penguin Book of Zen Poetry, Stryck & Ikemoto.
Zen: Tradition & Transition, Ed, Kenneth Kraft.
The Oxford Companion to English Literature, Ed M Drabble.
A Dictionary of Modern Critical Terms, R Fowler.
Webster’s Ninth New Collegiate Dictionary.


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PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 5:07 am 
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What is your original face before
your mother and father were born?
~Zen Koan~

It is as hard to see
one's self, as to look
backwards without
turning around.
~Thoreau~

Search back into your own vision---
Think back to the mind that thinks.
Who is it?
~Wu-men~

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 Post subject: Haiku
PostPosted: Fri Sep 26, 2008 5:20 pm 
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    a thousand or more
    dried peas hit a dustbin lid --
    a sudden rainstorm

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PostPosted: Tue Sep 30, 2008 11:33 am 
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There is no bodhi tree,
Nor stand of mirror bright.
Since all is void,
Where can the dust alight?
~Hui-neng~

Form is no different from emptiness.
Emptiness is no different from form.
Form is precisely emptiness,
emptiness is precisely form
~Heart Sutra~

A page from a journal of modern experimental physics will be as
mysterious to the uninitiated as a Tibetan mandala. Both are
records of the inquiries into the nature of the universe.
~Fritjof Capra~

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PostPosted: Wed Oct 01, 2008 12:41 pm 
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Location: England
Sun rising today
bright yellow shiny button
the day's eye of hope?

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'They say best men are moulded out of faults, &, for the most, become much more the better for being a little bad': Measure for Measure (V,i)


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PostPosted: Fri Oct 03, 2008 1:03 pm 
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Location: Oklahoma
Soon I was running across the moor to a distant part of the coast of Kintyre.... I felt I was running back to all the primitive joy that my seasons had destroyed.... The gulls were crying overhead and a herd of wild goats were silhouetted against the headland. I could barely distinguish slippery rock from heathery turf or bog, yet my feet did not slip or grow weary now---they had new life and confidence. I ran in a frenzy of speed, drawn on by an unseen force. The sun sank, setting the forest ablaze, and turning the sky to a dull smoke. Then tiredness came on and.... I rolled down a heather-topped bank and lay there happily exhausted.
~Roger Bannister~

Man only plays when in the full meaning
of the word he is a man,
and he is only completely a man
when he plays.
~Friedrich Von Schiller~

When making your
choice in life, do not
forget to live.
~Samuel Johnson~

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PostPosted: Tue Oct 07, 2008 1:55 pm 
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Location: Oklahoma
One day the great Master Huang-po and a monk were walking along, talking and laughing together like old friends. When they came to a swollen river, the monk tried to take the Master across, but Huang-po said, "Please cross over yourself."
The monk walked across the waves as though walking on level field. Once on the other side he called, "Come across! Come across!"
The Master scolded him: "You self-perfected fellow! If I had known you were going to perform a miracle, I would have broken your legs!"
The monk sighed with admiration and said, "You are a true Master of the Great Vehicle."
~Zen story~

The one who is good at shooting
does not hit the center of the target.
~Zen saying~

Great Faith.
Great Doubt.
Great Effort.
~The Three Qualities Necessary For Training~

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PostPosted: Fri Oct 17, 2008 6:02 am 
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Finally out of reach-
No bondage, no dependency.
How calm the ocean,
Towering the void.
~Tessho~

Life as we
Find it-- death too.
A parting poem?
Why insist?
~Ta-hui Tsung-kao~

Four and fifty years
I've hung the sky with stars.
Now I leap through---
What shattering!
~Dogen~

Thus shall ye think of all
this fleeting world:
A star at dawn, a bubble in
a stream;
A flash of lightning in a
summer cloud,
A flickering lamp, a
phantom, and a dream.
~The Buddha~

If it looks like it seems,
then it probably isn't so.
You need to loosen up your grip,
and never let go.
~Tushkahill~

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PostPosted: Sun Oct 26, 2008 1:06 pm 
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Location: England
Views

Sunlight bright beyond
my window, the Venetian
blinds distort the view

just for a second
a land enchanted, appears
before my very

eyes. I turn to see
supernatural vistas,
imagination

unnecessary.
But all that meets my vision
is my old backyard.

Disappointed I
close those blinds, but open my
mind's eye to wonders

greater than day-dream
chimeras & rhapsodic
extravaganzas.

I see that every
moment that we look & breath
is so magical.

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'They say best men are moulded out of faults, &, for the most, become much more the better for being a little bad': Measure for Measure (V,i)


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PostPosted: Thu Oct 30, 2008 1:12 pm 
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Location: England
Birds

I have not seen the
birds fly south this year, maybe
they have decided

to stay at home and
brave the harsh winter weather.
There is a strangeness

with formations of
geese silhouetted against
a bright cloudless sky.

Shading my eyes to
squadrons in formative deltas
with an open hand

I squint and admire
their sheer organisation
and loud debacle.

It is as if they
are privy to chthonic
secrets only known

to a select few
avian adventurers
who lead them away

to a promised land
drenched in exotic flora
and eternal sun.

I sometimes wish that
I was flying with them to
their mysterious

destination in
the islands of the sun or
wherever they go.

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'They say best men are moulded out of faults, &, for the most, become much more the better for being a little bad': Measure for Measure (V,i)


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 11, 2008 5:57 pm 
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Location: Oklahoma
I know what it is,
but when you ask me
I don't know
~Saint Augustine~

If you approach it
you will certainly miss it.
~Nan Chuan~

This is it.
~Zen saying~

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 18, 2008 4:17 pm 
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Posts: 761
Location: Oklahoma
One of the joys in life
is not to look at new things
with old eyes,
but to look at old things
with new eyes.
~Unknown~

This quote reminds me of famous photographers that take pictures of everyday, ordinary objects. I've learned to look at the world with the view of an artist. Everywhere I go, I am astounded at all the beautiful things that pass my senses. I've learned to look at things with new eyes. It's makes life more enjoyable and fun.

The aim of life is to live, and to live means
to be aware, joyously, drunkenly, serenely,
divinely aware.
~Henry Miller~

The mystical is not how
the world is, but that it is.
~Ludwig Wittgenstein~

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PostPosted: Fri Nov 21, 2008 6:43 pm 
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Posts: 761
Location: Oklahoma
I washed my windows
so that I could see more clearly.
~Tushkahill~

When you meet a master
swordsman,
show him your sword.
When you meet a man who is
not a poet,
do not show him your poem.
~Lin-Chi~

Fa-yen, a Chinese Zen teacher, over heard four monks
arguing about subjectivity and objectivity. He joined
them and said: "There is a big stone. Do you consider
it to be inside or outside your mind?"
One of the monks replied: "From the Buddhist viewpoint,
everything is an objectification of mind, so I would say
that the stone is inside my mind."
"Your head must be very heavy," observed Fa-yen, "if
you are carrying around a stone like that in your mind."
~Zen story~

Each portion of matter may be
conceived of as a garden full of
plants, and as a pond full of fishes.
But each branch of the plant, each
member of the animal, each drop of
its humors, is also such a garden or
such a pond.
~Leibniz~

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