Judgement, Duality


Judgement, Duality (yin and yang)

***** Location: Worldwide
***** Season: Non-seasonal Topic
***** Category: Humanity


Human beings tend to classify things, black and white, day and night ...



Quietening the heart, ridding yourself of anxiety,
casting out categories
of what pleases and displeases,
of likes and dislikes, and
not thinking in categories of "what is valuable" ...

These judgements cling to the very depth of your heart
and prevent you from a full life experience.

Noguchi Haruchika Sensei

The last line could read:

These judgements cling to the very depth of your heart
and prevent you from a full haiku experience.

Gabi Greve


source : www.windwatrcanada.com

Worldwide use

Things found on the way

In Germany we say:

One hair in your soup is relatively much.
One hair on your head is realvitely little.


yin and yang
sleeping in one bed
my two cats

© Gabi Greve, 2004


tsumu mo oshi tsumanu mo oshi ki sumire kana

To pluck it is a pity,
To leave it is a pity,
Ah! this violet!

tr. Blyth

A shame to pick it
a shame to leave it--
the violet

tr. Stephen Addiss


Rich and Poor - a judgement ?

“A rich man visited a farmhouse.
The farmer gave him a piece of cake and boasted: ‘This is the best cake in the whole world!’
The rich man tasted it, and commented, ‘It is all right. I would like, however, to invite you to my home and to taste the cake we serve there.’ The farmer returned his visit, later on. When he tasted the rich man’s cake, he exclaimed,
‘I never knew there was such good cake in existence!’

“The other replied,
‘I didn’t want to hurt your feelings, but you were familiar only with that dry cake of yours. I know many varieties. That is how I knew that yours was by no means the best in the world.’

“So it is when you get a taste of divine bliss: You know that nothing else in existence can equal it. Temptation then becomes dry and loses all its attractiveness. The best way to conquer temptation is to have something better to compare it with.”

Parhamahansa Yogananda,
Conversations with Yogananda
source : Richard Jelusich, Ph.D.


Anything can be a good subject for haiku.
This is what I learned through years of haiku practice. I want you, my readers to be always alert for little things around you and appreciate them. I may dare say that haiku poems are not haiku in the true sense of the world which you cannot make unless you visit some scenic spots.

Like so many different faces and bodies, Personality determines what is reflected on your heart and how it is reflected. Personality, when expressed in haiku, presents itself in unique feeling and viewpoint, rendering haiku all the more interesting."
Inahata Teiko 稲畑汀子
president of the Japan Traditional Haiku Association

- WKD - Haiku Definitions -


the backyard
of a poor man's home -
summer heat

I wrote this a while back.
Many started growing vegetables in pots to get over the recession


tonari sumu hinshi ni mochi o wakachi-keri

with the poor man
who lives next door
I share some mochi

Masaoka Shiki  正岡子規


monogoi 物ごい / 物乞い beggar, begging
binboonin 貧乏人 Bimbo, "a poor person"
gokutsubushi 穀つぶし, 穀潰し, ごくつぶし a person without a job or income
hoomuresu ホームレス homeless
Poor Monk (dooshinboo 道心坊) .
konjiki, kojiki, kotsujiki 乞食 beggar, Bettelmönch

- - - - - Kobayashi Issa - - - - -

konjiki mo fuku Daikoku no tsumori kana

even the beggar
hopes to get rich...
god of wealth singers

Daikoku is a god of wealth.
In Issa's time, the daikokumai were troupes of begging musicians who performed between the 11th day of First Month and the first day of Second Month.

. Beggars and being Poor .

gokutsubushi sakura no shita ni kurashi keri

the vagrant
lives under a cherry tree
now in bloom

Tr. Chris Drake

I've been scolded by learned people for being a good-for-nothing parasite, but at this point there's not much I can do about it.

mata kotoshi shaba-fusagi zo yo kusa no ie

hey, again this year
I'm a worthless bum
in a wretched grass hut

Issa wrote this wryly half-humorous hokku on New Year's day in 1806.
Although the year has changed, Issa hasn't, and he will continue his impoverished life as a haikai poet who is mostly on the road or staying at patrons' houses. He's been trying hard, but he hasn't yet been able to establish himself as a haikai master after resigning from his job as the scribe for the master of the Katsushika school of haikai, and he must travel here and there to keep up his relationship with his scattered students. On top of that, some Confucian scholars seem to have criticized Issa as a worthless drifter and a burden on society, words they normally reserve for Buddhist priests and gamblers, but his answer to them is that he will remain the same. Issa has no steady job and lives outside the four main classes of society -- the warriors, farmers, artisans, and merchants -- and is regarded by Confucianists as being not much better than an outcaste, but Issa is not about to give up being a haikai poet, both because it's the only thing he's good at and because he feels sure that haikai actually does have social value. The hokku is a clear statement of his intention and, while making a virtue of necessity, is a tiny manifesto.

At the same time, Issa, the son of a farmer, did feel a certain amount of guilt for not working the earth and creating food for other people to eat. The month before Issa wrote the above hokku he wrote this:

tagayasanu tsumi mo ikubaku toshi no kure

another year ends
without tilling the soil --
my guilt grows

Issa never felt guilty for writing haikai, which most Confucianists considered worthless, but he does feel dissatisfied with himself for being unable to grow or buy his own meals instead of going so often to his patrons' houses at dinner time.

Issa has several other hokku that criticize himself for his lack of economic independence, and his experience of poverty made him sensitive to the perspectives of the many unemployed people struggling to get by in Edo. For example, on 2/24 (March 20) of 1806 he wrote:

harugasumi kuwa toranu mi no mottaina

spring mist --
how disgraceful are we
who don't pick up hoes

Watching misty fields, Issa feels a surge of guilt as well as gratitude to farmers for growing the food he eats and feels that he and other city people who never touch a hoe are so indebted to farmers that they will never be able to raise their heads in front of the farmers. Yet he knows very well that farmers are almost invisible to people in the city.

Or this hokku from 2/25, the next day. It is the first of three hokku about people viewing cherry blossoms:

gokutsubushi sakura no shita ni kurashi keri

the vagrant
lives under a cherry tree
now in bloom

The contemporary haiku poet Kaneko Touta reads this hokku as being indirectly about Issa himself. This is a challenging interpretation, but my take is different. The hokku is in a series of objective hokku in Issa's diary about geese leaving for the north and about humans viewing blossoms, and this verse doesn't seem to be an exception. When Issa wants to talk about his own situation, he is able to do that directly and often. Moreover, he is critical of his present lifestyle and doesn't think his present life resembles cherry trees in bloom. Issa surely sympathizes with and is attracted to the homeless man (or woman) and uses "vagrant" ironically, highlighting the discrimination directed at him -- and at impoverished haikai poets.

This hokku seems to suggest the deep joy Issa feels at seeing a fellow human being who is also, like Issa, criticized for not being employed but who asserts his right to enjoy the cherry blossoms in spite of what most people think. Issa probably also admires the homeless man's love of beauty and toughness -- his ability to live outside. Issa uses only sakura (cherry [tree]) here, though he uses "blossoms" in the next two verses, perhaps to stress that the homeless man will go on living under the tree after the blossoms fall. Perhaps the strength and toughness of the man gives Issa a gift: a model Issa can use in his own difficult life from now on.

Chris Drake

. Kobayashi Issa 小林一茶 in Edo .


kigo for early autumn

binboo kazura 貧乏葛(びんぼうかずら) "poor man's vine"
bushkiller. Cayratia japonica.


Strong emotions
like melancholy or sadness (kanashisa 悲しさ) and others are usually not used directly in traditional Japanese haiku, which tend to simply describe the scene but not interpret it in human terms.
A suitable KIGO is used to bring out the underlying mood / emotion of the haiku.

There are however exceptions from these guidelines (yakusokugoto), as we will explore below.

. Emotions in Kigo and Haiku .

Related words

***** MU, Nothingness, the Void..... the ALL

. My Haiku Theory Archives .




1 comment:

Gabi Greve - Issa said...

Kobayashi Issa - kotsujiki beggars

thicket shadows --
in the beggar village, too
people change their robes

yabu-kage no kotsujiki mura mo koromo-gae

COMMENT by Chris Drake