Simply Haiku: A Quarterly Journal of Japanese Short Form Poetry
Spring 2008, vol 6 no 1

 

TRADITIONAL HAIGA
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Nantembo (1839-1925)
Ippitsu Daruma

1919
Ink on paper
132,5 x 30,2 cm

Wooden box with an old inscription:
Old Nantemb˘'s Yawata Poem in two lines.

One continuous brushstroke (J. ippitsu) depicts the meditating patriarch seen from behind. Nantemb˘ in his poem seems to make fun of Daruma comparing him with the delicious gourds and aubergines from the fertile Yawata plains, south-east of Kyoto. (Nantemb˘ knew that region from his early days as a monk when he began his practice at Empuku-ji.)

Do not disregard vegetable: Since ancient times the important monastic office of cook (J. tenzo) has been held by realized monks. And in Zen understanding there is no spiritual difference between meditation, sutra lecture, and cooking. But cooking unlike other kinds of practice served others in a very direct way. Eihei D˘gen in his Tenzo-ky˘kun (Instructions for the tenzo) admonishes: Do not disregard vegetable, but estimate it. Those who want to guide must be able to foster others' enlightenment with simple vegetable. Vegetable contain the essence of Buddha nature.
 
 

 


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