English Author and Devotee of Japanese Culture
R. H. Blyth, fully Reginald Horace Blyth
English Author and Devotee of Japanese Culture
The expression of a temporary enlightenment, in which we see into the life of things.
Zen means doing ordinary things willingly and cheerfully.
The flowers say ?Bloom!? and we bloom in them. The wind blows and we sway in the leaves.
The life of Don Quixote was a life of Zen; indifferent to the opinions of his fellows, without a single thought of self, of self-aggrandizement or self-expression. he Lived twenty four hours every day, following his instincts (his ideals) as wholeheartedly, as truly, as naturally, as the blooming flowers in spring, as the falling of leaves in autumn.
The object of our lives is to look at, listen to, touch, taste things. Without them, - these sticks, stones, feathers, shells, - there is no Deity.
The tree manifests the bodily power of the wind; the wave exhibits the spiritual nature of the moon.
The world, of which Japan is a part and a microcosm, has set for itself goals totally different from those of Basho. His Way of Haiku can hardly be said to exist now, for almost nobody walks on it. As a Way, it was in many respects better than that of Taoism, Christianity, Confucianism, Buddhism, and so on. Its desuetude is a monument to the stupidity, vulgarity, sentimentality, and unpoeticality of human beings.
There is a Hindu myth about the Self or God of the universe who sees life as (play). But since the Self is what there is and all there is and thus has no one separate to play with, he plays the cosmic game of hide-and-seek with himself... all the time forgetting who he really is. Eventually however the Self awakens from his many dreams and fantasies and remembers his true identity, the one eternal Self of the Cosmos who is never born and never dies.
Think of Zen, of the Void, of Good and Evil and you are bound hand and foot. Think only and entirely and completely of what you are doing at the moment and you are free as a bird.
This is one of those profound sayings [?Haikai has for its object the setting to rights of common parlance and ordinary language which can and should be interpreted in a variety of ways.?] Bash? wanted our daily prose turned into poetry, the realization that the commonest events and actions of life may be done significantly, the deeper use of all language, written and spoken. Our lives are slovenly, imitative. We live, as Lawrence said, like the illustrated covers of magazines. Comfort is our aim, and dissatisfaction is all we achieve. The aim of haiku is to live twenty four hours a day, that is, to put meaning into every moment, a meaning that may be intense or diffuse, but never ceases.
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 lucky or unlucky, winning or losing. It is how we win, how we lose, how we live or die; finally, how we choose. We walk, and our religion is shown (even to the dullest and most insensitive person), in how we walk. Living in this world means choosing, and the way we choose to walk is infallibly and perfectly expressed in the walk itself.A certain monk asked Hyakujo, ?What is Truth?? Hyakujo said, ?Here I sit on Daiyu Peak!
Waka began as literature, haiku as a kind of sporting with words. Bash? made it literature, and yet something beyond and above literature, a process of discovery rather than creation, using words as means, not ends, as a chisel that removes the rock hiding the statue beneath.
We know in our bones that there is something odd, something queer, about everything, and when this contradictoriness has a deep, religious, poetical quality, when the whole thing stands revealed and we see right through it to this side, we weep with uncontrollable joy, or laugh with irrepressible grief.
We may reach the same conclusion from the other end of the scale. In so far as a tomato exists, God exists. When a tomato rots, God rots.
Moments of vision come when least expected, unbidden, and in most men, pass into oblivion, unnoticed and unremembered.
We must not write haiku, we must not write, we must not live, to fulfil ourselves, or to share our experiences with others. We must not aim at immortality or even timelessness; we must not aim. Infinity and eternity come of themselves or not at all
Mud is the most poetical thing in the world.
What is the most important thing that we possess? Nothing is so precious that we cannot afford to throw it away.
Perfect does not mean perfect actions in a perfect world, but appropriate actions in an imperfect one.
When he reared his head and neighed from his deep chest, like deep wind-bells resounding, she seemed to hear the echoes of another, darker, more spacious, more dangerous, more splendid world than ours, that was beyond her, and there she wanted to go.
A haiku poet is born, not made, and of a 'nationality' which has nothing to do with the ordinary conception of it.
A poet sees things as they are in proportion as he is selfless.
A pure animal man would be as lovely as a deer or a leopard, burning like a flame and straight from underneath. And he'd be part of the unseen, like a mouse is, even. And he'd never cease to wonder, he'd breathe silence and unseen wonder, as the partridges do, running in the stubble. He'd be all the animals in turn, instead of one fixed automatic thing which he is now, grinding on the nerves.
Be not weary in well-doing. I myself feel lonely sometimes, but remember 'the great cloud of witnesses'.
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.