KaiHan Zen Magazine -- Haiku Section

Subject: Zen and Haiku From:

Gerald Hebert

Date: Sun, 8 Oct 1995 14:23:22 GMT

Under the water,
On the rock resting,
The fallen leaves.

This is by Joso (1661 - 1704), one of the chief disciples of Basho. Superficially and ordinarily, most of us are liable to think nothing of the fallen leaves of autumn finding their final resting place on the rocks in the stream. They are now all discoloured, showing none of the yellowish or reddish tinge they had while on the trees, but after being hurled up and down, here and there, in the corners of the garden, or upon the roofs of the house, they are finally settled under the water and safely over the rocks. Perhaps some further fate may be waiting for them, but as far as the poet sees they are quietly resting as if this were their final place. He does not venture to think of anything beyond. He just sees them there and gives no intimation as to what he has in his mind. It is this very silence of the poet that makes the verse all the more eloquent. We also stop here with the poet, yet we feel that there is something much more than we can expressly utter. This is where the haiku is at its best. We see here the suchness of things. I should like to see the mystery of being.

(something to meditate during this autumnal season)

A branch shorn of leaves, A crow perching on it-- This autumnal eve.

--Gerald Hebert

Kaihan Zen Magazine