Haiku is the archetypal Buddhist poetry, at least to most Americans. And certainly the compressed form, the emphasis on experience and now, are very much in keeping with Buddhism. As are many of the early practitioners: Buson, Issa, Bashō.
So I thought today it would be good to visit with at least one of the masters. Take a short trip down Haiku Road, as it were (I couldn’t resist).
Here’s one of my very favourites, by Issa. It says ‘contemporary Buddhist’ better than anything since his time, the 18th century.
All the time I pray to Buddha
I keep on
The conflict between what I know about Buddhism — do no harm, cherish all life — and everyday life is nowhere clearer. And that, to me, is the best part of poetry: it reminds you what you already know.
Which is a premise at the heart of Buddhism: you already are a Buddha. You just have to remember…