Haiku – Zen Morality

Fences at dawn

Fences at dawn

man-made fences
enclosing life and springtime
judging prisons

straight-jackets created
imprisoning fear of life
olive trees and blooms

dawn awakened angst
walking near the olive grove
mind’s illusions


“Here we are at Unpenji, temple 66, being back in Tokushima Prefecture (the first Prefecture we entered) were we started. It’s just for today that we are back at the beginning of our Shikoku Pilgrimage. Another day has passed away and it’s time to explore another theme of the Stata of Zen of Haiku.
Today we will explore non-morality. Zen is non-moral. About morality as such, pure morality, there is something hard and mechanical and dead often makes us wish to do without it. So-called ‘good’ actions are, as far as the morality of them is concerned, cold, and move us to a merely cold admiration. It is in this manner, rather than then the action or its results, the manner of the person who does it, that the value lies.
At bottom, this ‘manner’ is the poetry of the action. It has nothing to do with the morality of it. An example written by Oshima Ryota (1718-1787), a not so well-known haiku-poet:

angry and offended,
I came back:
the willow tree in the garden”

Carpe Diem #424, Unpen-ji (temple 66)

8 thoughts on “Haiku – Zen Morality

  1. Something I’ve seen with a few man-made fences around here is that they seem to help some plants growing bigger. Forgot the term, but it’s basically giving them support to avoid falling over from their own weight.


    • Thanks…as Zen has no morality goals…even the objection to fences would be a form of morality…so no problems with fences, only a metaphor for not being able to live without outside moral guidelines.


in shadows light - walking under weeping pines - spring rain

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