Morning Haiku and Waka – April 20, 2015


tumbling water
falling creates new paths
feeding the river
meeting water creatures – flows
and finally reaches the sea

the rain falls
upon the stones and flowers
soft water falls

life’s web
every creature united
by unseen strands

majestic ocean
tumbling water fall
placid lake
all united in life’s web
– this tiny drop of rain

sweet melody
in the warm summer forest
waterfall symphony
with an insect chorus
a hymn to joy

© G.s.k. ‘15


This post was inspired by Carpe Diem Haiku Kai – Time Glass Challenge and is linked to Haiku Shuukan as well.  From Haiku Shuukan:

“All conflicts around the globe emerge from the same delusion, the illusion of separateness, but all is connected and we all are part of it. To recognize and acknowledge that we are part of it is the first what we have to do. And not only based on the concept. We have to decide that we are touched by it”.

Joan Halifax

I was looking for the waterfall scene from the French film “Minuscule” which I couldn’t find … but I found this series of shorts about the little creatures created by Hélène Giraud e Thomas Szabo and thought I’d share it with you all!

Shuukan – haiku – April 2, 2015

moon set
not even a blackbird

© G.s.k. ‘15

“The upcoming weeks I love to bring to you the ideas and insights of Joan Halifax. She is one of the greatest female Buddhist teachers of our time and she “gave birth” to “Grace, enlarge your capacity of compassion”. Grace is an acronym and it means the following:

G Gathering attention
R Recalling intention
A Attuning to self other
C Considering
E Engaging

Joan Jiko Halifax (born 1942) is an American Zen Buddhist roshi, anthropologist, ecologist, civil rights activist, hospice caregiver, and the author of several books on Buddhism and spirituality. She currently serves as abbot and guiding teacher of Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico, a Zen Peacemaker community which she founded in 1990. Halifax-roshi has received Dharma transmission from both Bernard Glassman and Thich Nhat Hanh, and previously studied under the Korean master Seung Sahn. In the 1970s she collaborated on LSD research projects with her ex-husband Stanislav Grof, in addition to other collaborative efforts with Joseph Campbell and Alan Lomax. She is founder of the Ojai Foundation in California, which she led from 1979 to 1989. As a socially engaged Buddhist, Halifax has done extensive work with the dying through her Project on Being with Dying (which she founded). She is on the board of directors of the Mind and Life Institute, a non-profit organization dedicated in exploring the relationship of science and Buddhism.

Now you know a little bit more about Joan Halifax, so I love to start with her first “rule” of her GRACE model. G stands for “Gathering Attention”. And this is what it means:

Pause, breathe in, give yourself time to get grounded. Invite yourself to be present and embodied by sensing into a place of stability in your body. You can focus your attention on the breath, for example, or on a neutral part of the body, like the soles of your feet or your hands as they rest on each other. You can also bring your attention to a phrase or an object. You can use this moment of gathering your attention to interrupt your assumptions and expectations and to allow yourself to relax and be present.”

Carpe Diem Haiku Shuukan

And our host writes:

after the rain
that sweet perfume of the earth –
cherry blossoms bloom

© Chèvrefeuille

Shuukan – February 27, 2015


[…] The arrow is the intention. It is what unites the strength of the bow with the centre of the target. The intention must be crystal-clear, straight and balanced. Once the arrow has gone, it will not come back, so it is better to interrupt a shot, because the movements that led up to it were not sufficiently precise and correct, than to act carelessly, simply because the bow was fully drawn and the target was waiting. […]   “The Way of the Bow”: Paulo Coelho

breath in breath out
centered and now serene
give your advice

the rain
falls throughout the valley
on trash heaps and fields
no choices or intentions
rain is a force of nature

a small child
knows no good or evil
its arrows fly
but without clear intentions
the arrows fly astray

here and now
the river flows and wind blows
the flowers bloom
birds sing and fly freely
where are intentions

action reaction
the arrow flies true and pure
the target’s askew
illusive are intentions
in dual reality

the only “one” is Tao
the rest is duality
arrows fly to fail

© G.s.k. ‘15

Theoretically, I understand the point the bow master wishes to make, but there’s a false premise … which is that an individual’s “intentions” are the arrow … of course, you may intend to do something and think your intentions are pure, and maybe they actually are, but without taking into consideration the reality around you, no matter how pure your intentions, you’ll fail to reach your goal and perhaps through no fault of your own … you cannot move in this world of duality without taking into consideration the “other” … whose intentions might not be pure at all.

So I suppose here what I should first be doing is stepping outside of expectations … so we can intend to do this or that … but we mustn’t expect anything … hmmm … lots to mediate on here!


Carpe Diem Shuukan – intentions

Days of Christmas – Choka – December 23, 2014


candles burn bright
Christmas trees twinkle
symbols of rebirth
in dark days of winter
school children home
play in snow-covered lawns
an old beggar stands
alone homeless and cold
angels smile sweetly
on a street corner at dawn
in newspapers
words of peaceful harmony
on the radio
sweet carols play day and night

Christmas card scenes
melt under the heat of hate
we know too well
the children are being good
anxiously awaiting gifts

(c) G.s.k. ’14

Linked to Carpe Diem Haiku Kai – Angels and Carpe Diem Shuukan – Hum

In a world where aggressiveness and competition are exalted as positive qualities and the meek peace-loving people are considered weak we are always just one step from hell so let us chant throughout the year:


Om purifies bliss and pride (realm of the gods); Ma purifies jealousy and need for entertainment (realm of the jealous gods); Ni purifies passion and desire (human realm); Pad purifies ignorance and prejudice (animal realm); Me purifies greed and possessiveness (realm of the hungry ghosts); Hum purifies aggression and hatred (hell realm).

Shuukan – Me – December 12, 2014

the earth
falls from his fingers

even the rain
returns to the ground

kings and paupers
enter the world with nothing
for a short time
they collect coins
then leave with nothing

(c) G.s.k. ’14


This week we are going further with exploring the powerful ‘Om Mani Padme Hum’, mantra. This week it’s the fifth ‘sound’ , “me”  … I will give the mantra here again:

Om purifies bliss and pride (realm of the gods); Ma purifies jealousy and need for entertainment (realm of the jealous gods); Ni purifies passion and desire (human realm); Pad purifies ignorance and prejudice (animal realm); Me purifies greed and possessiveness (realm of the hungry ghosts); Hum purifies aggression and hatred (hell realm).

Carpe Diem Shuukan

Morning Haiku and Waka – Shuukan – November 12, 2014


from black darkness
dreams of envy disperse
washed in purple

(c) G.s.k. ’14

Ma purifies jealousy and need for entertainment (realm of the jealous gods) …  

Imagine the scene: “Well, yes they do dance well together but  ….”  do you hear the jealousy … that but a conjunction which here doesn’t link anything … which just hangs there … whilst the speaker on the one hand is entertained by a vision of the dancers (but not because of admiration), on the other the speaker feels excluded … because he/she is sure that they can dance so much better – this is transmitted by a tone of voice and it’s also transmitted with that but.

Their jealousy is born from their need to be better than others … they need to be entertained, to be kept busy because somehow they feel a lack, they’re searching for something that should be theirs… because they exist –  they need something which helps them to be complete – because their focus is not on being … but competing and overcoming others.

Have you ever lived with someone who needs to be constantly entertained … someone a little paranoiac who feels the importance of his/her own worth …  one who has great intellectual powers but has no other interest outside of their own vision of themselves and needs the outside world to confirm their importance … in the Hindu vision of life there are many levels of life … Karma is the endless series of cycles that can take a living being from being an amoeba to the various realms of godhood and this has been picked up in Tibetan Buddhism:

“The Asura (Jealous God) Realm is marked by paranoia.

Asuras are hyper-competitive and paranoid. They are driven by a desire to beat their competition, and everyone is competition. They have power and resources and sometimes accomplish good things with them. But, always, their first priority is getting to the top. I think of powerful politicians or corporate leaders when I think of Asuras.

Chih-i (538-597), a patriarch of the T’ien-t’ai school, described the Asura this way: “Always desiring to be superior to others, having no patience for inferiors and belittling strangers; like a hawk, flying high above and looking down on others, and yet outwardly displaying justice, worship, wisdom, and faith — this is raising up the lowest order of good and walking the way of the Asuras.”

Asuras, who are also called “anti-gods,” are perpetually at war with the Devas of the God Realm. Auras think they belong in the God Realm and fight to get in, although here it seems the Asuras have formed a line of defense and are fighting the attacking Devas with bows and arrows. Some depictions of the Wheel of Life combine the Asura and God realms into one.

Sometimes there is a beautiful tree growing between the two realms, with its roots and trunk in the Asura Realm. But its branches and fruit are in the God Realm.”



The Wheel of Life: The Realm of Asuras. Jealous Gods and Paranoia.

In the west, we love the idea of Karma … reincarnation.  Hard to believe that for the Hindu, reincarnation is a tragedy and they seek Nirvana to stop the endless cycles (which is what  Siddhartha was seeking when he became the Buddha – Illuminated).  Even the Gods (Devas) eventually must return to a lower life form … so one chants the mantras and hopes one day to be illuminated and reach that state of peace known as Nirvana, which I think most of us in the West would rather not reach just yet … we are still in love with the Wheel …

from the lowly worm
the good Deva manifests
– once an Asura
OMMA  – gone pride and envy
as the dawn sun rises

another turning
another life – meets with death
the wheel turns again

(c) G.s.k. ’14

Linked to: Haiku Shuukan – Where the prompt is to write a haiku for the second segment of the mantra:  Om purifies bliss and pride (realm of the gods); Ma purifies jealousy and need for entertainment (realm of the jealous gods); Ni purifies passion and desire (human realm); Pad purifies ignorance and prejudice (animal realm); Me purifies greed and possessiveness (realm of the hungry ghosts); Hum purifies aggression and hatred (hell realm).


Carpe Diem Shuukan – October 13, 2014

logo haiku shuukan

My son and I went for an evening walk last summer.  That week I’d bought some bubbles to used in some of the photographs I’d taken around town and I still had them in my purse.  He was a little sad and so when we reached Arco I remembered them and asked him to blow some bubbles around the playground so I could take some photographs of the children’s reactions.  He had as much fun blowing the bubbles as the younger children had chasing them … and I got some very nice photos (this one I used a few weeks later on my blog).  In a better mood, we went to have an aperativo.

summer evening
blowing and chasing bubbles
– child’s smiling eyes

bubble smile

Shuukan – September 30, 2014

Among the various stages of my life,  I was a Shiatsu student (and therapist) which was when I first came into contact with Zen in a big way.  I naturally passed through a period when I ate vegetarian and macrobiotic, because I never do anything by halves.  Here’s an excerpt from a site called Sushi Zen that talks about the various condiments one uses when you eat sushi:

The Condiments
The thinly sliced pink ginger on your plate is called gari. Eat just a slice between pieces of sushi to re-enliven your palate. The shredded white radish, called daikon, is for cleansing your palate between different orders. Wasabi is the little green chunk of horseradish paste that some often mix with shoyu as a sauce for dipping sushi. If you aren’t used to eating wasabi, be forewarned: when eaten full strength, it has an electric effect on the sinuses that can make a strong man weep openly.
from Sushi Zen

Sometimes I still make vegetarian meals and I love to make and eat rolled rice sushi in nori algae.  I don’t make wasabi, but I can find it at my local biological food store … and at the “all you can eat” chinese restaurant that specializes in various types of sushi.

rolled black sushi
veggies and rice in nori
hot wasabi paste

(for macrobiotic sushi recipes go here there are some lovely illustrations to help you learn how to roll rice sushi ( photos came from this great blog site) )

Written for Carpe Diem Shuukan

Shuukan – Violin -September 22, 2014

Our new prompt for Haiku Shuukan is:


and this is our host’s haiku:

the sound of violins
resonates through the summer night –
Tchaikovsky comes to life

© Chèvrefeuille


Violen collagequattro stagioni
a Riva del Garda

four seasons
at Riva del Garda


 violins evoke
birth – growth – death
Vivaldi’s four season