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Zen Art


Buson's Poetry and Related Poetry

First digging into the interesting stuff, next seeking to improve it for handy all-round use, is fairly often a good way

YOSA BUSON (1716-83) wrote sturdy haiku poems. There is a whole page of Buson haiku on-site [Link].

Haiku derives from the Japanese verse form tanka, which is one thousand years old. Both tanka and haiku have been developed and changed during the centuries, and seem telegram-like. Thus, they are terse and may be interpreted in different ways. And the rules for composing haiku are detailed and severe.

Advanced methodology pops up from behind at times

YOSA BUSON likes it in this way:
Scampering over saucers -
The sound of a rat.
Cold. Cold.

Spring rain;
telling a tale as they go,
Straw cape, umbrella.

Spring rain:
In our sedan
Your soft whispers.

Sudden shower:
Grasping the grass-blades
A shoal of sparrows.

Whenever honeysuckle
Petals fall.

The above poems illustrate how his poetry looks like in translation. [Jap lx].

Related Poetry

Victims of pesticides?

A shoal of sparrow
petals fall.
(Tomorrow it's too late)

Defeat in small talk

Your soft whispers
The sound of a rat
(I don't like you -)

zen artistry Love to stride for more thriving and less poison and abuse around here [Ve]. If the sparrows fall and the larches are not found singing any more, it may be due to artificial fertilizers or pesticides - probably human-caused reasons. A Danish investigation shows that all other sides of the question being left open, the fields where the farmers used artificial fertilisers and pesticides, contained only half as many larches as the other ones - the ones we desire.

The shoals of sparrows should remain to gladden your granddaughter's days.

Hurried peoples' ratlike stress-sounds in the urban race are not the same as the sounds of a gurgling brook, happy birds singing, waves on the shore, or sea-gulls, and hardly make us so happy either.

It may boil down to this: The more important it has become to appear pretty, tidy and very guarded and careful at all times, the more rat living, and the less likely is great thriving. An idyl is a place where hurry has largely left, remember.

If your style is new, it is hardly liked at first. Picasso was called devilish for over ten years by art critics, for example.[Pap 1-24]

In cases where smooth, round, and delicate tact is included in the "package", the artist may become treasured. But much depends on the markets and their whims, and something on one's circumstances and network of contacts. Picasso was part of a group of fine artists. If you have no congenial friends, save your breath and take care.



Dinky poetry fit for many new pop songs

Jumping over the brook
for water:
Not necesary -

If you spread a proverb over a few lines and peel off some "glue words", you get modern haiku [cf. Jap xxv]. Proverbs assist good upbringing still, and so does telling good tales

Basics on hardness

Giants, gurus, tall trees and Zen roshis could need to be hard.

LoGood souls can be bent or even melted into unsound conformity, and into vicarious life-styles also

Zen is a result of Buddhism that blended with parts of Taoism in China, and next was exported to Japan, as Philip Yampolsky shows. [Tun] (1)

LoHakuin didn't promote tenets at all times, nor did Dogen

ZEN gradually developed methods, teachings, and sects (schools) on its own terms.


  1. WISE SAYINGS BATTER NEGATIVE INFLUENCES, AND PREFERABLY AHEAD OF TIME AS A HELP TO PREVENTIVE, CAUTIOUS MEASURES. Good souls can be bent or even melted into unsound conformity and enter vicarious life-styles. Handy sayings should fit (resonate with) one's heart to be of much use. [Hom]
  2. IT HELPS TO PROMOTE SAYINGS THAT BULWARK AGAINST SECTARIAN FOOLISHNESS. Generally we do well to discharge sect membership, cult-and-boss-ridden monastic discipline and being grossly lorded over.
  3. TOP SAYINGS HELP ADJUSTMENTS THAT COME IN HANDY AND WELL IN TIME. By keeping main outlets simple, you may or should increase your odds for thriving in the long run, if not earlier.
Simple adages Negative persons seek to prevent wise sayings entering their "markets". Sect members often find themselves isolated, and may become hard of heart, as part of the hard adjustments imposed on them.



AFTER HEARING inspiring sermons, never decide to become a forced monastic or give it a try. In he East, being a monk or nun may be okay for what I know, but in the West I have found no reason to say it is all right. Assertiveness and wealth are largely given up, and seniority rules far and wide. Humility is praised as a virtue because it sustains the stiff structure set up, with subservience and humiliations in their wave. Fool's discipline may actually become a hindrance.

There may be much more to learn in a family. You could go for Buddhism-attuned family living instead, and refrain from fine-sounding vows you will regret later, if things do not go well. Buddha teaches a lay person may be enlightened, you do not have to become a silly monastic for it.

Married or otherwise, broken vows may become additional burdens later, unnecessary burdens. There is much to master. The things of sound value to aim at are congenial to your own, deeper nature. And Culture enhancement may work okay.



Japanese Tanka

LoThink you're allowed to get happy and attain to freeer compositions than haikus all your life - to express well is the secret

Tanka and most other facets of Japanese culture derived from China, but found new life. (1)

Looming things need tall means of representation. Japanese tanka summarise and aim for sifted, faceted essence in mainly private, informal modes. Besides, have space for many alternatives in composition.

Haiku derived from the first main unit of the tanka. Tanka can be sung by court-dancers. It has many predecessors, and relates comfortably to "blank verse". (2)

LoSome despair in their jobs, and others because they have not got any.

The rules of tanka have to do with the process of love-making. Tanka survived in Japan, and love-making too . . . Haiku stems from it. Basho is a noted haiku writer, and Issa another. [Fdv]

In Norway, one of fourteen teenagers try to commit suicide, often linked up with drinking alcohol. The Japanese term sabi, loneliness, can have to do with it. Recent research indicates it. But go to the core, no matter what it is, whether the content of textbooks or main problems that impose challenges on you. Terse utterance may be had. See if you can arrange them or some of them to suit you. Norms that bind severely, give little help for liberation, which is a worthy goal to keep well attuned to. Buddha does not command; he encourages and endorses things that suit general development.

LoSensible proverbs may sustain you

DEEP THINGS can be likeably expressed by elegant poetry, including odes and blank verse. Proverbs are often poetic, too, and can be helpful in their own right. In Tibetan Buddhism there is a tradition where proverbs and mottoes and maxims are used as tools of mind development. You may record mind-helping sayings and listen to them for some time before you fall asleep.

A compiler of Japanese tanka has said:

Poetry has its seeds in man's heart ...
Poetry, without effort ...
can touch the gods. [Jap lx] MM (8)

This is a quote turned into haiku-like poetry in its own right.

Good Points

  1. THE WELL LIBERATING ARTIST NEEDS HIS SALARY SO AS NOT TO FLOUNDER. Art is something presented as art (Marc Duchamp). Some use found objects, others assemble, compose, align, and put together parts into a carefully decided on whole, or they just drip paint onto a canvas on the floor (Jason Pollock), or roll in paint naked (happening) and so on. There are many outlets. Get freer and more happy. Not all art activity is for entertainment. There is art that sustains a person's creativity and delight in living too. One may let art outlets serve greater independence and freer expressivity.
  2. HOBBIES OR HOME ACTIVITIES SELDOM TAKE OFF INTO GREATNESS AND ESTEEM, AND WHY SHOULD THEY? Home life needs to be sheltered. Art activities are fit in homes. The art of cooking, of working well together in a group, all are within in the art of living. There is much despair and isolation in the urban West due to the weak family fare with break-ups, divorces, and results of that again.
Simple adages Many young people join sects and alternative groups because they are dissatisifed. Unfortunately many groups do not tell how they really work - that they may debase members and demand unreasonable things on one hand, and promise great rewards to the faithful (fools) on the other hand.

Philip Zimbardo has studied young American students and found that insecurity is a main reason to join alternative groups, or sects. Thus, what is truly needed is to get strengthened individually (meditate), have rewarding teachings or norms to live by (Dharma), and not get fooled, having helpful associates (Sangha). Usually a persons needs associates to go on on his or her own.

These three - sensible meditation, sensible norms of living, and good and rewarding company, are cornerstones of the upward path in life as expressed through Buddhism.

Zen art, Buzon poetry and related matter, END MATTER

Zen art, Buzon poetry and related material, LITERATURE  

Ca: Chan, Wing-Tsit. A Source Book in Chinese Philosophy. New Jersey: Princeton University Press, 1963.

Fdv: Dørumsgaard, Arne. Fra duggens verden. Basho i norsk gjendiktning (1644-1694). Oslo: Dreyer, 1985.

Jap: Bownas, Geoffrey, and Anthony Thwaite. Japanese Verse. Harmondsworth: Penguin, 1964.

Jc: Chang, Jolan. Kærlighedens og seksuallivets tao. Den gamle kinesiske vej til sanselig lykke. København: Borgen, 1978.

Pap: Warnche, Carsten-Peter. Pablo Picasso 1881-1973. Edited by Ingo Walther. Vols 1-2. Køln: Benedikt Taschen, 1995.

Paz: Fromm, Erich: Psychoanalysis and Zen Buddhism. Unwin. London, 1986

Taoz: Addiss, Stephen. The Art of Zen. New York: Abrams, 1980.

Tat: Waley, Arthur, tr. The Way and Its Power. A Study of the Tao the Ching and Its Place in Chinese Thought. New York: Evergreen/Grove, 1958.

Tls: Chang, Jolan. The Tao of Love and Sex. London: Penguin, 1991.

Tun: Yampolsky, Philip, tr. The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch. The Text of the Tun-Huang Manuscript. New York: Columbia University, 1967.

Ve: Capra, Fritjof. Vendepunktet (The Turning Point). Oslo: Dreyer, 1982.

Wic: Yutang, Lin. The Wisdom of China. London: New English Library, 1963.

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