Basho's thoughts on...
• Woman Central: Basho Honors Women and Girls

• 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 Tsukeku 芭蕉付句
• BAMHAY (Basho Amazes Me! How About You?)
• New Articles


Matsuo Basho 1644~1694
matsuo
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  >  Woman Central: Basho Honors Women and Girls  >  L-16


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

 

In 1689, Seifu begins with a fantasy, 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

 

Haruru hi wa / ishi no i naderu /ten otome

En naru mado ni / hokke yomu koe

 

(BRZ 6: 15) In the Noh play The Feather Mantle a celestial maiden caresses the spring water in praise for the beauty of a sunny day on Earth equal to that in Heaven. 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.


The woman in Basho’s stanza 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 her CD Beyond. She

says:

 

“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.


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 says 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.


Buddha’s Birthday
on this day is born
a baby deer

 

Kambutsu no / hi ni umareau / kanoko kana

 

(BRZ 397) On the Buddha’s Birthday (May 7 in 1688), his followers worship a statue of the Compassionate One as an infant. Also in this season fawns conceived in autumn are born, 18 inches from head to tail, weight 13 pounds. If Basho can connect the birth of a baby deer with the birth of Buddha, maybe women today can find this connection in their own birth-giving.  See Topic 5:  Pregnancy to Birth.

 

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

 

Rō ni hanashi no / tsuide arikeri

Ai amaru / sutego hirohi ni / tsuawashite

Tosato nii shiko no / suso hikite iru

 

(BRZ 2: 261) Kyorai provides an open space with boundaries – her old age, femininity, devotion to the

Buddha, and enthusiasm in telling the story – yet no 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 of that.

 

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


Kikaku’s stanza separates from Kyorai’s, yet also continues in harmony with it, for deer are associated with

Buddhism:

 

Telling the truth
Of Buddhism is sad
field of graves
Chased, the doe flees
leaving behind her fawn

Doushin no / toute kanashiki / nobe no haka

Owarete shika no / ko o sutete yuku

 

(BRZ 5:63) The first poet writes a masculine, literary verse – philosophical, religious, inanimate – then Basho jumps away from abstractions to the intense activity and raw life experience of females and their young. Rather than abandoning her child to save her own hide, she is drawing the attacker away from the baby hidden in the bush.

 

Her hair gone,
chamberlain’s daughter
became weary
Storm over Nonomiya
ladies’ temple bells

 

Kami orosu / jijuu no musume / otoroete

Nonomiya no arashi / Gio tera no kane

 

(BRZ 4: 11) 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). Close to the Ninomiya Shrine is the temple Gioji. In the 12th century, Gio, a white-rhythm dancer 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 Buddhist nun practice.

 

Nirvana ceremony
between wrinkled hands
prayer beads click

 

Nehan-e ya / shiwa te awasuru / juuzu no oto

 

(Kon 845) 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 worshipper uses a string of 108 sacred beads to keep count of the repetitions without thinking about numbers, 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 the vastness and antiquity of Buddhism, to the smaller yet vivid tactile image of two aged female hands moving beads between them, then ends in the simple sound sensation of their 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.

 

Till her hair grows back
she must hide her self
In the bitterness
of betrayal, squeezing out
milk to throw away
Beside unfading stupa
in distress she cries
Shadow figure
in the cold of dawn
lights a fire

 

Kami hayasu ma o / shinobu mi no hodo

Itsuwari no / tsurashi chi o / shibori-sute

Kienu sotoba ni / sugo sugo to naku

Kagebōshi no / akatsuki samuku / hi o taite

 

(BRZ 3: 185) He seduced her with promises of love and devotion, but when she gave birth to a son, he took the boy to be his heir and abandoned her. With no place else to go, she entered a Buddhist temple which takes in such women. She had to cut her hair and stay in a cell. Only if she lets her hair grow back, can she can re-enter society. Her breasts still have milk which she has to squeeze out and throw away – while she recalls the baby that milk is produced for – such is the bitterness which fills her heart.

 

Kikaku separates from the imagery of woman abandoned and baby taken away from her, to instead have the

woman squeezing out milk to throw away because her baby died. A stupa is a pagoda-shaped wooden tablet set up by a tomb with phrases written for the repose of the dead's soul..This, unlike her baby, will remain.

 

Mourners spend the night in a hut beside the grave. Basho backs away from the overt heaviness of Kikaku’s

stanza. I believe we can see in his stanza the spirit of the child who has returned for a moment to console mother, building a fire to warm her – so later in life when she builds a fire she will feel her child’s presence.


Fuji pilgrim’s
straw backpack become
pillow of grass
Buddha of my mother
For a while I entrust

 

Fuji mōde o / hine tawara o / kusa makura

Haha no hotoke o / kari ni asukeru

 

(BRZ 5: 192) On a spiritual pilgrimage to the summit of Mount Fuji, he travels light, at night resting his head on the straw bag he carried on his back. In the bag was his mother’s hotoke, something that represents her Buddha nature after death; the KBZ says this is a rei-i, a “mortuary tablet.” He entrusts her soul to the avatar of Mount Fuji for as long as he is up here on the mountain.

 

In Basho’s stanza WHAT THE MIKO THINKS on page 59, a Shinto female shaman in a trance speaks for the

deceased and divine. Etsujin continues and Basho follows:


She has left
yet still where she sat
fragrance lingers
Hidden in the corner
of temple at Hase

 

Hito sarite / imada omashi no / nioikeru

Hase ni komoru / dou no kata sumi

 

(BRZ ) Etsujin’s stanza has no gender, but omashi suggests a person of prominence, so male scholars, ever

eager to see an image of themselves, add a man to the scene, a man who came to the miko to communicate with his deceased lover and has now left, leaving behind an elegant fragrance – not an odor, but rather an aura which lingers from his presence. In Basho poetry, however, women are the ones who have and leave auras (see page 254), so I suggest that the miko is the prominent one who has left. Basho transfers the scene at the Buddhist Temple in Hase (famous as a place of pilgrimage for women; see NIGHT IN SPRING on page 55), he changes to a woman who came here to pray to the magnificent 30-foot tall statue of Kannon, the Buddhist Goddess of Mercy. Again we wonder who she is, and what she is prayed for. Having left, her aura remains in the place where she sat, hidden in time, remaining forever with Kannon-sama.

 

Evening dusk
startled by a frog
in thick grass -
To pick buds of coltsfoot
lantern shaken goes out
Her devotion
arose when blossoms
were in the bud

 

Kusa mura ni / kawazu ni kowagaru / yuumagure

Fuki no to tori ni / andon yuri kesu

Doushin no / okori wa hana no / tsubomu toki

 

(BRZ 7: 97) A servant goes to gather flower buds of coltsfoot, like small artichokes, an early spring delicacy

which emerges where snow has melted. Fried or boiled they are eaten with salt or miso. The frog startles her so she jumps back in surprise, knocking out her lantern flame. There she is, hidden in the twilight, her heart

trembling within her. The woman’s experience, her actions and her feelings, are central, yet hidden, in

Basho’s vision.

 

The lantern leads Kyorai to Buddhism; instead of a light going out, he has a light turn on, the “light” of devotion guiding a woman to become a nun. This happened either in spring as the dark buds on cherry branches turned pink and white, or when she herself was beginning to blossom sexually; Kyorai, the son of a medical doctor, recognizes the conflict between Buddhism and adolescent female hormones.

 

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

 

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

 






<< Erotic Flowers (L-15 ) (L-17) Oppression of Women >>


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...
• Woman Central: Basho Honors Women and Girls

• 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 Tsukeku 芭蕉付句
• BAMHAY (Basho Amazes Me! How About You?)
• New Articles


Matsuo Basho 1644~1694
basho
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

 





basho