Saturday, April 7, 2012

Satori Haiku


Without satori, according to the great Japanese author D.T. Suzuki, there is no Zen. In other words, it is the raison d'être for practicing Zen Buddhism, and as such is the focus of so many wonderful Zen stories, many promoted in the books of Dr Suzuki. Furthermore, satori is not the sole possession of Zen Buddhists, for it is not sectarian, and although described in different ways, it is the heart of all Buddhist teachings. Indeed, as it is wholly natural, it is found in teachings outside Buddhism, such as those of D.E. Harding, the late British philosopher. If we can have but a glimpse of satori, we are truly fortunate, and if lived from, this vision frees us from the prison of self.

The first satori, upon reading the words of D. T. Suzuki:

Reading this
Words merge with mind

The second satori, when looking out of a window:

Wind-blown bag
Catches awareness

The third satori, using the methods of D. E. Harding:

Pointing here
No-one can be found
*Satori is a Japanese word meaning enlightenment. It is used a lot in Zen Buddhism to refer to the experience of seeing true nature (kensho in Japanese). Despite being found in many Japanese Zen texts, it isn't a word to be used lightly, and isn't here. Neither is it a word to be used as some kind of self-promotion, as the realization that it indicates is itself the antithesis of egoistic outbursts. Nevertheless, at the risk of being accused by some readers of being either frivolous or self-promoting - or both - here, the author feels its use is justified so's to give a flavor of satori to the reader. Poetry can be better at this than prose, for where the latter can tend to get tied up in verbosity or overcomplicating matters, the former's succinctness can hint at a lot more than is actually said. This is especially true of haiku, that wondrous poetic form born of the Zen-influenced Japanese heart. Please forgive the author any indulgences! 

For more on both D.T. Suzuki & D.E. Harding, check on the tabs above.

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