Kundalini Splendor

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Tuesday, January 02, 2007

A Poem from Basho 

Ivan Granger offered this poem from Basho today, along with a very thoughtful commentary. I think together they provide an excellent opening for the new year.

Here's your Daily Poem from the Poetry Chaikhana --

Year's end,
By Matsuo Basho(1644 - 1694)
English version by Lucien Stryk and Takashi Ikemoto

Year's end,
all corners of this floating world, swept.

-- from Zen Poetry: Let the Spring Breeze Enter, Translated by Lucien Stryk / Translated by Takashi Ikemoto

(now, from Ivan)
Well, we are back! My "semi-retreat" turned out to be a time of responding to several personal and family crises, including more than one death in the family. Such experiences are difficult but profound (and humbling) teachers...I have been reminded that when a loved one passes, the things they embodied for us begin to sprout in a mysterious way within our own selves. Their passing gives us one final gift: the recognition that their goodness is alive within ourselves and not lost. We are blessed and challenged to discover their best qualities in our own hearts. So, for that final gift at year's end, I thank all those who have passed and gone before me... and, in so doing, opened the way for the new year.Today's poem seemed like a nice meditation on that still point at year's end, just as the new year is ready to be born.That final word -- "swept" -- you almost trip over it with its abrupt stop. "Swept" can imply several things, such as a ritual year-end cleaning, everything put in its place and ready for the new activity of the new year. But on a deeper level I think Basho is suggesting the Buddhist realization that everything is fundamentally empty, free, "swept" clean of thing-ness. When perceived deeply, the entire world reveals itself to be a fluid, "floating" phenomenon of becoming and interconnection. No object is truly solid or stable in solitary existence, other than in relationship to perception. The outer world is found to be symbolic game of the mind. At the heart of everything is a pure, still, blissful spaciousness, pregnant with awareness; but it is only through the activity of the mind that anything is born into the appearance of form. At "year's end," at mind's end, when the surface consciousness rests and its projections cease, the weight of things are "swept" away, leaving us standing in an amazing world that "floats" and dances upon open sky.I hope that this new year is filled with joy, adventure, and spiritual opening for each and every one of you. Have a wonderful day!Ivan

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