Haiku For You?

In the fog of my mind that is this winter cold, it has been occurring to me over and over to revisit this old blog and to see about putting some life into it, and so here goes my latest attempt at doing a bit of writing.

Each Ango, we take up ways to deepen our practice of the BuddhaDharma. This deepening can take many forms.  In fact, it can take on as many forms as our lives take, but to access that freedom it helps to draw a magick circle and proclaim to ourselves and the world "This is Practice!" This helps, because if we try to simply go right away to 'everything I do is Zen' inevitably we miss it.  

So one of the magick circles that we make is Art practice, and I love it.

In fact, Art practice was one of my main entry ways into the BuddhaDharma.  As a Jazz musician I could see the resonance between what I did with the music and what my teacher was pointing to, but beyond that I learned from his pointers how to realize this for myself. 

Now most zen practitioners are not Jazz musicians, nor need they be.  But we all would benefit from engaging the creative process as part of our inquiry into seeing our self nature and living it out in the world.  

So I would like to encourage each of the Ango participants, and anyone else who would care to do so, to take up the simple practice of Haiku matched with an image.  Of course you can do other poetry forms or non forms, just do images alone or drop the use of the image altogether if you like, but there is something helpful about working within the traditional 5-7-5 set up of the Haiku and paring it with a well curated pic. 

The topic of the work should simply be some moment of experience, a snapshot of one instant that you are practicing.   Ideally, the combined text and image should give us a window into this experience, with out limiting the readers ability to participate and fill in the gaps themselves.   In Zen art, one suggests and points but never completely spells out the topic.

Diado Roshi when he was teaching this would often point to the contrast between a Norman Rockwell painting and a traditional Zen art piece.

Notice how everything is spelled out for you here, what's going on, who feels what and how you are supposed to feel about it:


in contrast with the invitation to discovery laid out with this one:


Both of these are great examples of what they are, and yet there is something about the Zen art that very much aligns with the experience of Awakening.  The question "What is it?" stays alive and well within the Zen art, and so it should within our practice of Zen itself. 

So as a starter, what haiku would you add to the zen art piece above?

Mine today is:

"Misty peaks arise
from the cloud covered waters
of my favorite spot..."

As a practice for Ango, I suggest that you set an intention to keep your eye open to moments that would be worth taking a moment to stop and notice as you move throughout your day, and to then snap a pic and add a few lines of poetry and share them to the temple FB page so that we can all engage with and enjoy them.

I've done 2 so far and I look forward to reading yours!



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