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Tuesday, September 08, 2009

Haiku: Literary Meditation.

I write a lot of haiku and enjoy reading them just as much. Haiku seems to fit Buddhism and Zen in general quite well due to the stripped down structure and word usage. A good Haiku in my view is one, which grabs your attention by way of several impressions upon one or more of the senses. In addition, one, which paints a picture but then, presents a concluding line, which pulls the poem together for a feeling of balance.

This gives the reader a sense of closure to the scene and without the contrasting yet somewhat parallel ending it leaves the reading feeling abandoned. Thus, Haiku in my view is similar to the Buddhist/Taoist concept of oneness where two seemingly dissimilar concepts connect to form a well-rounded view of the present reality experienced at the time the writer experienced it. The first two lines provide a detailed, micro, mindful scene with a more open-ended conclusion to leave you with something to contemplate upon further.

Also, I find that writing a haiku is like a meditation as you contemplate a scene in your mind you must be very mindful of the sounds, smells, sights and sensations upon the skin. Only having a few words to use channels the author’s focus so that each word is mindfully chosen to give the haiku a clean, simple, yet strong and insight provoking essence. Its short form eliminates unnecessary wording, which can take away from the focused insight that haiku is so appreciated for. It makes haiku easily digestible for our scattered minds. In longer poetry the mind tends to wander and miss words, thus missing the essence of the writing. Haiku, like Zen Buddhism strips away the clutter to get right to the heart of things. No unnecessary distractions.

Since traditionally Haiku include nature as a theme it is like having the essence of nature anywhere you might find yourself such as in a big city where nature is very limited in between the concrete and steel. Haiku allows you to be right in the middle of a Japanese garden while riding the subway. In addition, being simple and concise also enables you to be in that Japanese garden but still remain quite aware of your present surroundings. That's the great thing about haiku meditation. Its form lends itself well to maintaining a Buddhist mindset even in our fast paced world where we don’t have as much time to contemplate more in-depth Dharma talks as often as we might want. In closing I wanted to leave you with my latest haiku:

shrine bamboo fountain
water descends drain pipe
monk washes old hands

~Peace to all beings~

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1 comment:

Marco said...

I love the Haiku you wrote. I hope I can make one soon. free mp3

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