R. H. Blyth, fully Reginald Horace Blyth

R. H.
Blyth, fully Reginald Horace Blyth

English Author and Devotee of Japanese Culture

Author Quotes

Coming now to the general differences between waka and haiku, we may say once more that waka aim at beauty, a somewhat superficial beauty sometimes, that excludes all ugly things. The aim of haiku is not beauty; it is something much deeper and wider. It is significance, a poetical significance, "a shock of mild surprises", that the poet receives when the haiku is born, and the reader when it is reborn in his mind.

Deep suffering is deep life... Nirvana is often taken as a condition of supreme joy. But it is also that of supreme sadness.

I myself think to have a cat is more important than to have a Bible.

If the tree were strong enough it would manifest nothing. If the wave were rigid, the moon?s nature could not be expressed in it.

In no way mere imitations of Japanese haiku, nor literary diversions. They are (aimed at ) the Zen experience, the realizing, the making real in oneself of the thing-in-itself, impossible to rational thought, but possible", "all poets believe," in experience.

In relation to every circumstance, we are to be like the servants at the Feast of Cana: Whatever he saith unto you, do it.

Can you imagine people like these guards occupying your country?

What is Zen? Zen is looking at things with the eye of God, that is, becoming the thing's eyes so that it looks at itself with our eyes.

What is Zen? Zen means doing anything perfectly, making mistakes perfectly, being defeated perfectly, hesitating perfectly, doing anything perfectly or imperfectly, perfectly. What is the meaning of this perfectly? How does it differ from perfectly? Perfectly is in the will; perfectly is in the activity. Perfectly means that at each moment of the activity there is no egoism in it

What is essential is not the answer but the questions; the answers indeed are the death of the life that is in the questions.

Thus we see that the all important thing is not killing or giving life, drinking or not drinking, living in the town or the country, being unlucky or lucky, winning or losing. It is how we win, how we lose, how we live or die, finally, how we choose.

These are some of the characteristics of the state of mind which the creation and appreciation of haiku demand Selflessness, Loneliness, Grateful Acceptance, Wordlessness, Non-intellectuality, Contradictoriness, Humor, Freedom, Non-morality, Simplicity, Materiality, Love, and Courage.

The sun shines, snow falls, mountains rise and valleys sink, night deepens and pales into day, but it is only very seldom that we attend to such things. . . . When we are grasping the inexpressible meaning of these things, this is life, this is living. To do this twenty-four hours a day is the Way of Haiku. It is having life more abundantly.

There is no greater difference between men than between grateful and ungrateful people.

The importance and unimportance of the self cannot be exaggerated.

The love of nature is religion and that religion is poetry; these three things are one thing. This is the unspoken creed of haiku poets.

Nothing divides one so much as thought.

Or, to express this in another way, suggested to me by Professor Suzuki, in connection with "seeing into our own nature, poetry is the something that we see, but the seeing and the something are one; without the seeing there is no something, no something, no seeing. There is neither discovery nor creation: only the perfect, indivisible experience.

If all men lead mechanical unpoetical lives this is the real nihilism the real undoing of the world.

It is not merely the brevity by which the haiku isolates a particular group of phenomena from all the rest; nor its suggestiveness, through which it reveals a whole world of experience. It is not only in its remarkable use of the season word, by which it gives us a feeling of a quarter of the year; nor its faint all-pervading humor. Its peculiar quality is its self-effacing, self-annihilative nature, by which it enables us, more than any other form of literature, to grasp the thing-in-itself.

Art is frozen Zen.

I leave my heart to the sasanqua flower on the day of this journey. [R. H. Blyth's death poem]

A haiku is the expression of a temporary enlightenment, in which we see into the life of things.

A man’s religion is what he thinks about his relation to the universe, or rather, is what he feels about this relation; or better, it is what he does about this relation; or best it is how he acts.

To teach Zen means to unteach; to see life steadily and see it whole, the answer not being divided from the question; no parrying, dodging, countering, solving, changing the words; an activity which is a physical and spiritual unity with All-Activity.

Author Picture
First Name
R. H.
Last Name
Blyth, fully Reginald Horace Blyth
Birth Date
Death Date

English Author and Devotee of Japanese Culture