Haibun – “The purpose of our lives” – March 11, 2016

Water Drops

Water Drops

Walking in the rain, one can often be distracted from the bigger picture of what life is all about.  I was thinking about the living lesson which is the Dalai Lama one morning as the damp winter chill penetrated my old bones and specifically : “The purpose of our lives is to be happy”.

How odd to think that our purpose isn’t to save the world from hunger perhaps or injustice and how wise.  Living in the world, in our proper place, that of being one of the infinite bits of the whole, is so much better than the grandiose ideal of semi godhood we seem to want to impose upon ourselves. If our purpose is to be happy we should remember that being happy promotes happiness.  Have you ever seen the infectious reaction around a truly happy person.

inside a raindrop
infinite worlds evolve
in happiness

© G.s.k. ‘16

Carpe Diem Tokubetsudesu #72 Use that quote

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 #393, Kumadaniji (Temple 8)

Logo CD February

I usually don’t copy but link to the Carpe Diem stories which inspire the haiku I write for this blog, but this one particularly interested me because recently I happened to speak to a good friend of mine of the bodhisattva of compassion.

Guanyin or Senju Kannon in Japanese is the bodhisattva associated with compassion as venerated by East Asian Buddhists, usually as a female. The name Guanyin is short for Guanshiyin, which means “Observing the Sounds (or Cries) of the World”. She is also sometimes referred to as Guanyin. Some Buddhists believe that when one of their adherents departs from this world, they are placed by Guanyin in the heart of a lotus, and then sent to the western pure land of Sukhāvatī.”


compassionate heart
listening – understanding
stopping the stigma


along your pathway
where to turn in troubled times
she is waiting there
a calm compassionate friend
with her understanding ear

Carpe Diem Haiku Kai

Written for a bodhisattva in training…