The Cuckoo – Troiku – April 27, 2016

above the roof-tops
looking for a mate and host
the cuckoo calls

above the roof-tops
the cuckoo flies like a hawk
small birds hide

looking for a mate and host
thief and Romeo
cuckoo – cuckoo

the cuckoo calls
lazily from dawn to dusk
through spring and summer

© G.s.k. ‘16

Carpe Diem Theme Week 3: Magnolia Blossoms, haiku by Soseki Natsume: episode 7

classical kigo hototogisu (cuckoo)

kaero to naka zu ni warae hototogisu

laugh, not cry

© Soseki Natsume

naku nara ba mangetsu ni nake hototogisu

if you want to sing
sing under the full moon

© Soseki Natsume

Common cuckoo

Carpe Diem Theme Week 3 – Watch Birth and Death – April 23, 2016

sprout to fruit
even as these cherries bloom
like snow – petals fall

© G.s.k. ‘16

Carpe Diem Theme Week 3: Magnolia Blossoms, haiku by Soseki Natsume; 4 watch birth and death

watch birth and death:
the lotus has already
opened its flower.

© Soseki Natsume (Tr. Soiku Shigematsu)

Carpe Diem Theme Week (6) Harmony and Death – February 23, 2016

perfect harmony
is absent in living things
such is life
there’s time for perfection
after your funeral

© G.s.k. ‘16

Carpe Diem Theme Week #1 episode 7: The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying Insight 6 balance isn’t always necessary

Learning how to practice shiatsu and the usage of the various elements in Chinese cornucopia of theories and techniques we were warned that perfect harmony is impossible in a living creature … all things change and it is impossible to stop the ebb and flow of qi in order to pose a person in perfect yin-yang harmony.  Here is what one of the most famous practitioners in the history of Chinese medicine has to say:

‘Zhaolin had a malignant illness that physicians were unable to cure, so he went and asked [Sun] Simiao, “What principles do the famous physicians employ to cure illness?” Simiao answered, “I have heard that if one is skilled at talking about Heaven, one must substantiate it in the human realm; if one is skilled at talking about humans, one must also root it in Heaven. In Heaven, there are four seasons and five phases; winter cold and summer heat alternate with each other. When this cyclical revolution is harmonious, it forms rain; when it is angry, wind; when it congeals, frost and snow; when it stretches out, rainbows. These are the constancies of Heaven and Earth. Humans have four limbs and five internal organs. They alternate between being awake and sleeping. In exhaling and inhaling and spitting out and sucking in, essence and qi leave and come. In their flow, they constitute the constructive and protective [influences of the body], they manifest as facial color, and they erupt as sound. These are the constancies of humanity. Yang employs the form, yin employs the essence. This is where Heaven and humanity are identical.

When [the constancies] are lost, if [qi and essence] steam upward, they cause heat [in the body]; if they are blocked, they cause cold; if they are bound, tumors and excrescences; if they sink, abscesses; if they scatter wildly, panting and shortness of breath; and if they are exhausted, scorching and withering. Their symptoms arise on the face, and their transformations move around in the body.
When one extends this analogy to apply to Heaven and Earth, it is also likewise. Thus the waxing and waning of the Five Planets, the irregular motions of the constellations, the eclipses of the sun and moon, the flight of shooting stars, these are Heaven and Earth’s symptoms of danger. Unseasonable winter cold and summer heat are the ascent or blockage [of qi and essence] in Heaven and Earth. Uprighted boulders and thrust-up earth are the tumors and excrescences of Heaven and Earth. Collapsing mountains and caved-in ground are the abscesses of Heaven and Earth. Scattered winds and violent rain are the panting and shortness of breath of Heaven and Earth. Dried-up streams and parched marshes are the scorching and withering of Heaven and Earth.
An excellent physician guides [qi and essence] with medicines and [lancing] stones and rescues with needles and prescriptions. A sage[ly ruler] harmonises [qi and essence] in order to perfect his power and uses them for support in order to manage the affairs of humanity. Thus, the human body has illnesses that can be cured, and Heaven and Earth have calamities that can be dispersed.”’

Journal of Chinese Medicine

Carpe Diem: Death and Compassion – Double Tanka – February 22, 2016

old farm house

farm and fields
abandoned in the sunset
fading memories
lost laughter echoes still
in an old woman’s smile

the sweet balsam of love
her compassion
touches all who see her
empty fields blossom

© G.s.k. ‘16

Carpe Diem Theme Week #1 episode 5 Tibetan Book of Living and Dying: Insight 4 the power of compassion is limitless

The idea of the Bodhisattva is that one attains a high degree of spiritual  growth and then decides to remain in the world instead of attaining Nirvana so as to help others attain their own spiritual awakening.  His Holiness the Dalai Lama for example is considered a Bodhisattva of compassion. Another idea that is true to all forms of Buddhism is that everyone is a Buddha … this is because everyone can attain enlightenment or satori, and to be a Buddha is to be an enlightened person.

In my tanka I’m imagining a woman who is a Bodhisattva who has attained satori and with her very life is able to transmit compassion.  Here is what Sogyal Rinpoche has to say about compassion and death:

[…] “It is not simply a sense of sympathy or caring for the person suffering, not simply a warmth of heart toward the person before you, or a sharp clarity of recognition of their needs and pain, it is also a sustained and practical determination to do whatever is possible and necessary to help alleviate their suffering. Compassion is not true compassion unless it is active. Avalokiteshvara, the Buddha of Compassion, is often represented in Tibetan iconography as having a thousand eyes that see the pain in all corners of the universe, and a thousand arms to reach out to all corners of the universe to extend his help.”[…] (Source: The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying – Sogyal Rinpoche)

Carpe Diem: Death as Peace of Mind – Tanka – February 20, 2016

Eternal Voyage

in a morning
yet unknown and yet unseen
my voyage ends
before me the universe
behind me the world

© G.s.k. ‘16

Carpe Diem Theme Week #1 episode 4: The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying: Insight 3 “thinking about death gives life meaning”


finding peace of mind
the soothing sound of rippling water
the rustling of leaves
strengthens my tired mind
that’s fortitude
deep inner peace, the beating of my heart,
the music of life
caught in the rippling stream –
finding peace of mind

© Chèvrefeuille

Carpe Diem Theme Week (3) – Troiku – February 18, 2016


in an instant
the hills are gone – a bright light
intense darkness

in an instant
the passing of a life

the hills are gone – a bright light
all remembered
all understood

intense darkness
the wheel of Samsara turns
a new life is born

© G.s.k. ‘16


Carpe Diem Theme Week #1 episode 3 The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying Insight 2 “through the chinks comes the light”

Carpe Diem Theme Week (Introduction: Reincarnation) – Haiku- February 17, 2016


what was

what was or will be
clouded reflections
of what is

© G.s.k. ‘16

I suspect that if we do reincarnate it will be our consciousness that survives – our eternal present …

Carpe Diem Theme Week #1 episode 2 The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, Insight 1 We are travellers


“We are travelers

Reincarnation is one of the central ideas of Tibetan Buddhism and The Tibetan Book of Living and Dying. I hope to explain this (with the help of Soygal of course).

Rinpoche makes a difference between our “ego”, our daily personality, our “I”, the form / shape our psyche has in our body in which we live our life, and the deeper, natural consciousness, which is our essence.

What happens when we die? In fact only our body dies, but our consciousness “rises” to another new state of being, another dimension maybe. That is our rigpa, the absolute nature of mind (spirit), the consciousness before thoughts and emotions occur / rise. Later it will be reborn in another body.

Death is not the absolute end. Our body doesn’t exist anymore, but our consciousness travels on. The idea of dying can be paralyzing, but in this vision death is just a moment of transition. That makes the idea of death lighter: we are travellers, continuous on our way from one world to another.”

A little Dharma humour: