Basho's thoughts on...
• What Children Do: Basho Honors the Young
• Introduction to this site
• The Human Story:
• Praise for Women
• Love and Sex in Basho
• Children and Teens
• Humanity and Friendship
• On Translating Basho
• Basho Himself
• Poetry and Music
• The Physical Body
• Food, Drink, and Fire
• Animals in Basho
• Space and Time
• Letters Year by Year
• Bilingual Basho 日本語も
• 芭蕉について日本語の論文
• Basho Renku, 芭蕉連句
• Women in Basho
• BAMHAY (Basho Amazes Me! How About You?)
• New Articles


Matsuo Basho 1644~1694

The only substantial
collection in English
of Basho's renku, tanka,
letters and spoken word
along with his haiku, travel
journals, and essays.

The only poet in old-time
literature who paid attention with praise
to ordinary women, children, and teenagers
in hundreds of poems

Hundreds upon hundreds of Basho works
(mostly renku)about women, children,
teenagers, friendship, compassion, love.

These are resources we can use to better
understand ourselves and humanity.

Interesting and heartfelt
(not scholarly and boring)
for anyone concerned with
humanity.


“An astonishing range of
social subject matter and
compassionate intuition”


"The primordial power
of the feminine emanating
from Basho's poetry"


Hopeful, life-affirming
messages from one of
the greatest minds ever.

Through his letters,
we travel through his mind
and discover Basho's
gentleness and humanity.

I plead for your help in
finding a person or group
to take over my 3000 pages of Basho material,
to edit and improve the material, to receive 100%
of royalties, to spread Basho’s wisdom worldwide
and preserve for future generations.

Quotations from Basho Prose


The days and months are
guests passing through eternity.
The years that go by
also are travelers.



The mountains in silence
nurture the spirit;
the water with movement
calms the emotions.


All the more joyful,
all the more caring


Seek not the traces
of the ancients;
seek rather the
places they sought.



Basho Spoken Word


Only this, apply your heart
to what children do


"The attachment to Oldness
is the very worst disease
a poet can have."


“The skillful have a disease;
let a three-foot child
get the poem"


"Be sick and tired
of yesterday’s self."


"This is the path of a fresh
lively taste with aliveness
in both heart and words."
.

"In poetry is a realm
which cannot be taught.
You must pass through it
yourself. Some poets have made
no effort to pass through, merely
counting things and trying
to remember them.
There was no passing
through the things."


"In verses of other poets,
there is too much making
and the heart’s
immediacy is lost.
What is made from
the heart is good;
the product of words
shall not be preferred."


"We can live without poetry,
yet without harmonizing
with the world’s feeling
and passing not through
human feeling, a person
cannot be fulfilled. Also,
without good friends,
this would be difficult."


"Poetry benefits
from the realization
of ordinary words."


"Many of my followers
write haiku equal to mine,
however in renku is the
bone marrow of this old man."


"Your following stanza
should suit the previous one as an expression
of the same heart's connection."


"Link verses the way
children play."


"Make renku
ride the Energy.
Get the timing wrong,
you ruin the rhythm."


"The physical form
first of all must be graceful
then a musical quality
makes a superior verse."

"As the years passed
by to half a century.
asleep I hovered
among morning clouds
and evening dusk,
awake I was astonished
at the voices of mountain
streams and wild birds."


“These flies sure enjoy
having an unexpected
sick person.”



Haiku of Humanity


Drunk on sake
woman wearing haori
puts in a sword


Night in spring
one hidden in mystery
temple corner


Wrapping rice cake
with one hands she tucks
hair behind ear


On Life's journey
plowing a small field
going and returning


Child of poverty
hulling rice, pauses to
look at the moon


Tone so clear
the Big Dipper resounds
her mallet


Huddling
under the futon, cold
horrible night


Jar cracks
with the ice at night
awakening



Basho Renku
Masterpieces

With her needle
in autumn she manages
to make ends meet
Daughter playing koto
reaches age seven


After the years
of grieving. . . finally
past eighteen
Day and night dreams of
Father in that battle


Now to this brothel
my body has been sold
Can I trust you
with a letter I wrote,
mirror polisher?


Only my face
by rice-seedling mud
is not soiled
Breastfeeding on my lap
what dreams do you see?



Single renku stanzas


Giving birth to
love in the world, she
adorns herself



Autumn wind
saying not a word
child in tears


Among women
one allowed to lead
them in chorus


Easing in
her slender forearm
for his pillow


Two death poems:


On a journey taken ill
dreams on withered fields
wander about

Clear cascade -
into the ripples fall
green pine needles




basho4humanity
@gmail.com




Plea for Affiliation

 

Plea For Affiliation

 

I pray for your help

in finding someone
individual, university,

or foundation - 
to take over my

3000 pages of material,   
to cooperate with me 

to edit the material,
to receive all royalties 

from sales, to spread

Basho’s wisdom worldwide,
and preserve for

future generations.


basho4humanity

@gmail.com

 



Home  >  Topics  >  Women in Basho  >  L-17


Women in Buddhism

Five Basho Verses of Women Practicing Buddhism

Legend:
Words of Basho in bold
Words of other poets not bold

”I feel that chanting for thirty-five years has opened a door inside me, and that even if I never chanted again, that door would still be there. I feel at peace with myself.”  Tina Turner

 

Women in Buddhism

I can see clearly now, the rain is gone,
I can see all obstacles in my way
Gone are the dark clouds that had me blind
It's gonna be a bright, bright, sun-shiny day

                                                                                          Bob Marley

 

In a renku composed in 1689, Seifu begins with a fantasy female and Basho follows with the voice of a living woman:

 

Sunshiny day
celestial maiden caresses
the rock spring
Chant of Lotus Sutra
at the window elegantly

 

はるる日は / 石の井なでる / 天おとめ
艶 なる 窓 に / 法華 読む 声

 

Haruru hi wa / ishi no i naderu /ten otome
En naru mado ni / hokke yomu koe

 

In the Noh play The Feather Mantle, a celestial maiden, in praise for the beauty on a sunny day on Earth equal to that in Heaven, caresses the world and the splendour never ceases. In his stanza, Seifu has this angel caress the rock spring which never stops flowing.

 

Basho has a female voice chant the Lotus Sutra, which for many East Asians contains the ultimate and complete teachings of Buddha. The sutra, declares that a woman need not reincarnate as a man to reach Nirvana; rather she can do so from being a woman.

 

She chants the Lotus Sutra, beginning with the famous nam myoho renge kyo, not in the monotonic drone of priests, but rather elegantly, musically, as a celestial maiden caresses a spring of clear water. In both stanzas the material and spiritual blend through the female, but Basho especially focuses on her voice.


Tina Turner, who has practiced Buddhism since the 1970s, chants the Lotus Sutra on YouTube and on her CD BeyondShe says, in an interview (at https://micademijatovic.wordpress.com/2013/03/31/tina-turner-on-her-buddhist-practice):

 

“Nam-myoho-renge-kyo” is a song. In the Soka Gakkai tradition we are taught how to sing it. It is a sound and a rhythm and it touches a place inside you. That place we try to reach is the subconscious mind. I believe that it is the highest place and, if you communicate with it, that is when you receive information on what to do. Singing a song can make you cry. Singing a song can make you happy. That’s spirit—the spirit inside of you.

 

I noticed that saying the Lord’s Prayer and chanting a mantra had a similar effect on me. But I was chanting a mantra for longer periods of time and more often than I had ever said the Lord’s Prayer. I didn’t have this system for the Lord’s Prayer and it’s a system that works for me.

 

 

Basho portrays the woman’s path to Enlightenment not inside a temple, but rather beside the window watching the world in sunshine while she sings the words of Buddha. Tina Turner likewise tells how she found the precursor of her Buddhist practice in nature when she was a child.


I looked to nature and found love because love is in nature. If you go there, hurt and angry, it can transform you. I went with nature, with animals, and I found love and harmony.


Both Basho and Tina Turner blend the Lotus Sutra, the heart of Buddhism, with sunshine and nature’s glory to encourage women to enlighten themselves – which takes us back to Bob Marley:


                                No, Woman, No Cry

 

                          --------------------------------------------------

 

The aged nun has
a story to tell us
Filled with pity,
her message to rescue
abandoned child
A deer pulls the sleeve
of someone in the village

 

老尼はなしの / 叙ありけり
哀余る / 捨て子ひろひに /遣して
外里に鹿の裾引きて入る

 

Rō ni hanashi no / tsuide arikeri
Ai amaru / sutego hirohi ni / tsuawashite
Tosato nii shiko no / suso hikite iru

 

The first poet provides an open space with boundaries – her old age,  her devotion to the Buddha, and her enthusiasm in telling the story – with no word or hint of story content. Basho fills this empty space within the boundaries set. He has the old nun recall a night long ago when she commanded a temple servant to go out and rescue that baby crying outside the temple gate.


Some in Buddhism tell us to let go of attachments and accept the passage of life and death – but Basho’s nun chose instead to rescue a life. She generates a feminine Buddhism, based on compassion, “the virtue of empathy for the suffering of others.”  She feels the glory of her deed, and we share her consciousness.

 

Kikaku transfers the compassion in Basho’s stanza to a deer – probably female – who found the abandoned child in the mountains, and was “filled with pity” for this baby of another species. Realizing the absolute inability of her paws to help, she walked, carrying compassion with her, to a village where she chose a human being with a warm heart, and pulled on her sleeve, to get her to come up to where the child was. (Could this really happen?)


The poet separates from the temple and nun, transferring the “pity” and “message to rescue” from Basho’s stanza into a different species and reality, so compassion transcends the barriers between humanity and another life form. This is renku at its zenith.

 

−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−−

 

A lone nun’s
thatched hut so austere
white azaleas

 

独り尼 / 藁屋すけなし / 白躑躅
Hitori ama /waraya sukenashi /shiro tsutsuji

 

This nun has created her own private monastery of total Buddhist austerity. She has given up on all feminine pursuits, all sensuality. Yet before her hut is a bush of white azaleas in full bloom. Azaleas are  usually pink or soft red. White means no color, no sensuality or passion — however they are still azaleas; they have that same suggestive funnel and long pistils. The nun is the same way. She has, inside her robes, the usual female equipment, but with absolutely no pink or soft red: White Azaleas.

 

We cannot determine what Basho means here. We can only experience the impressions we get from his words. 

 

                                      -------------------------------------

 

Her hair gone,
chamberlain’s daughter
became weary
Storm over Nonomiya
Lady Gio’s temple bell

 

髪 下す/ 侍従 が 娘 / おとろえて
野々宮 の あらし / 岐王寺 の 鉦

 

Kami orosu / jijuu no musume / otoroete
Nonomiya no arashi / Gio tera no kane

 

The Grand Chamberlain’s high rank does not prevent his daughter from experiencing the travails of life. Weary, she cuts her hair and escapes to Saga, at the foot of Mount Arashi (Storm Mountain).  The Ninomiya Shrine is one of the most famous places in Saga, and the temple Gioji within walking distance. Gio was a dancer of the 'white-rhythm' style of slow rhythmic dancing while singing  Buddhist prayers. In the 12th century (as told in the Tale of the Heike)  Gio, escaping from the arrogant patriarch Kiyomori, came here to live as a nun, and her mother, sister, and another woman, all white rhythm dancers, joined her. They lived together, prayed together, and all reached enlightenment.


Notice the opposition of storm and bell. The storm wild, violent, uncaring; the bell deep, steady, and unifying. The storm represents the arrogance and intimidating behavior of men such as Kiyomori; they change their minds at an instant, betray women who have trusted them, and go on tantrums whenever they feel like it. The bell tolls with the steady focused energy of women, of these four women who developed and concentrated their energy in the discipline of white-rhythm dancing, then further developed and focused themselves with the meditation and temple work of Buddhist nuns.

 

                                       -----------------------------------------------


Nirvana ceremony –
between wrinkled hands
prayer beads click

 

涅槃会や / 皺手合する / 数珠の音
Nehan-e ya / shiwa te awasuru / juuzu no oto

 

On the 15th day of the 2nd Moon (in 1694, March 10th), is the anniversary of Gautama’s Death and Entrance into Nirvana. The temple is crowded, mostly with old people sitting on their heels, heads bowed to an image of Buddha, chanting a mantra over and over again while they meditate. Each one uses a string of 108 sacred beads to keep count of the repetitions without thinking, so they can focus on the meaning or sound of the mantra. Women live longer than men, so usually are more numerous in an aged population. Also, in old age women turn more to religion, while men turn to alcohol. The verse does not indicate gender, but I think Basho will allow us to see these hands as female. With devotion accumulated through years of worship, she turns her thumb clockwise around another bead each time she repeats the mantra.


The verse takes the mind on a journey from vastness and antiquity of Buddhism to the smaller yet vivid tactile image of two aged female hands moving beads between them, then ends in simple sound of clicking. Now, in Basho’s final spring, even a verse about Buddhism focuses on body parts – again the hands – and physical touchy-feely sensations along with clear distinct sound. Basho provides a physical sensory experience of Buddhism.

 

                  ----------------------------------------------

 

Basho’s several hundred poems about women children, friendship, love, and compassion

may be the most pro-female, child-centered,and life-affirming works in world literature.


I pray for your help in finding a person or group to take over my 3000 pages of

Basho material, to edit and improve the presentation, to receive all royalties from sales,

to spread Basho’s wisdom worldwide and preserve for future generations


basho4humanity@gmail.com
https://www.basho4humanity.com
Twitter: @Basho4H

 






<< She Has a Name (L-16) (L-18 ) Erotic Flowers >>


The Three Thirds of Basho

 

 

I plead for your help in finding a person or group to take over my 3000 pages of Basho material, to edit and improve the presentation, to receive all royalties from sales, to spread Basho’s wisdom worldwide and preserve for future generations.

 

basho4humanity@gmail.com
Basho's thoughts on...
• What Children Do: Basho Honors the Young
• Introduction to this site
• The Human Story:
• Praise for Women
• Love and Sex in Basho
• Children and Teens
• Humanity and Friendship
• On Translating Basho
• Basho Himself
• Poetry and Music
• The Physical Body
• Food, Drink, and Fire
• Animals in Basho
• Space and Time
• Letters Year by Year
• Bilingual Basho 日本語も
• 芭蕉について日本語の論文
• Basho Renku, 芭蕉連句
• Women in Basho
• BAMHAY (Basho Amazes Me! How About You?)
• New Articles


Matsuo Basho 1644~1694

The only substantial
collection in English
of Basho's renku, tanka,
letters and spoken word
along with his haiku, travel
journals, and essays.

The only poet in old-time
literature who paid attention with praise
to ordinary women, children, and teenagers
in hundreds of poems

Hundreds upon hundreds of Basho works
(mostly renku)about women, children,
teenagers, friendship, compassion, love.

These are resources we can use to better
understand ourselves and humanity.

Interesting and heartfelt
(not scholarly and boring)
for anyone concerned with
humanity.


“An astonishing range of
social subject matter and
compassionate intuition”


"The primordial power
of the feminine emanating
from Basho's poetry"


Hopeful, life-affirming
messages from one of
the greatest minds ever.

Through his letters,
we travel through his mind
and discover Basho's
gentleness and humanity.

I plead for your help in
finding a person or group
to take over my 3000 pages of Basho material,
to edit and improve the material, to receive 100%
of royalties, to spread Basho’s wisdom worldwide
and preserve for future generations.

Quotations from Basho Prose


The days and months are
guests passing through eternity.
The years that go by
also are travelers.



The mountains in silence
nurture the spirit;
the water with movement
calms the emotions.


All the more joyful,
all the more caring


Seek not the traces
of the ancients;
seek rather the
places they sought.



Basho Spoken Word


Only this, apply your heart
to what children do


"The attachment to Oldness
is the very worst disease
a poet can have."


“The skillful have a disease;
let a three-foot child
get the poem"


"Be sick and tired
of yesterday’s self."


"This is the path of a fresh
lively taste with aliveness
in both heart and words."
.

"In poetry is a realm
which cannot be taught.
You must pass through it
yourself. Some poets have made
no effort to pass through, merely
counting things and trying
to remember them.
There was no passing
through the things."


"In verses of other poets,
there is too much making
and the heart’s
immediacy is lost.
What is made from
the heart is good;
the product of words
shall not be preferred."


"We can live without poetry,
yet without harmonizing
with the world’s feeling
and passing not through
human feeling, a person
cannot be fulfilled. Also,
without good friends,
this would be difficult."


"Poetry benefits
from the realization
of ordinary words."


"Many of my followers
write haiku equal to mine,
however in renku is the
bone marrow of this old man."


"Your following stanza
should suit the previous one as an expression
of the same heart's connection."


"Link verses the way
children play."


"Make renku
ride the Energy.
Get the timing wrong,
you ruin the rhythm."


"The physical form
first of all must be graceful
then a musical quality
makes a superior verse."

"As the years passed
by to half a century.
asleep I hovered
among morning clouds
and evening dusk,
awake I was astonished
at the voices of mountain
streams and wild birds."


“These flies sure enjoy
having an unexpected
sick person.”



Haiku of Humanity


Drunk on sake
woman wearing haori
puts in a sword


Night in spring
one hidden in mystery
temple corner


Wrapping rice cake
with one hands she tucks
hair behind ear


On Life's journey
plowing a small field
going and returning


Child of poverty
hulling rice, pauses to
look at the moon


Tone so clear
the Big Dipper resounds
her mallet


Huddling
under the futon, cold
horrible night


Jar cracks
with the ice at night
awakening



Basho Renku
Masterpieces

With her needle
in autumn she manages
to make ends meet
Daughter playing koto
reaches age seven


After the years
of grieving. . . finally
past eighteen
Day and night dreams of
Father in that battle


Now to this brothel
my body has been sold
Can I trust you
with a letter I wrote,
mirror polisher?


Only my face
by rice-seedling mud
is not soiled
Breastfeeding on my lap
what dreams do you see?



Single renku stanzas


Giving birth to
love in the world, she
adorns herself



Autumn wind
saying not a word
child in tears


Among women
one allowed to lead
them in chorus


Easing in
her slender forearm
for his pillow


Two death poems:


On a journey taken ill
dreams on withered fields
wander about

Clear cascade -
into the ripples fall
green pine needles




basho4humanity
@gmail.com




Plea for Affiliation

 

Plea For Affiliation

 

I pray for your help

in finding someone
individual, university,

or foundation - 
to take over my

3000 pages of material,   
to cooperate with me 

to edit the material,
to receive all royalties 

from sales, to spread

Basho’s wisdom worldwide,
and preserve for

future generations.


basho4humanity

@gmail.com