Haiku Shuukan July 15th Bhumisparsha mudra

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Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode of our bi-weekly haiku meme Haiku Shuukan. This week I start with a new series here at Haiku Shuukan … all about Mudras. This episode is the first of those series and it’s about one of the most known hand gestures, or Mudras. Let me first try to explain what a Mudra is:

A mudra in Buddha statues is a gesture and body posture holding special meanings and commemorating few of the important moments in the Buddha’s life. One of the most common and popular mudras which are found depicted in Buddha statues is the Bhumisparshamudra, translated as the earth touching gesture. Buddha statues with this mudra are commonly known as the “earth-witness” Buddha and these iconographic representations are one of the most popular Buddhas you can find anywhere in the world.
In Buddha statues with the Bhumisparshamudra, the Buddha, more specifically, the historical Shakyamuni Buddha is seen seated with his right hand as a pendant over the right knee reaching toward the ground with the palm inward while touching the lotus throne. In the meantime, the left hand can be seen with the palm upright in his lap. This gesture represents the moment of the Buddha’s awakening as he claims the earth as the witness of his enlightenment. Just before he realized enlightenment, it is believed that the demon Mara tried to frighten him with the armies of demons and monsters including his daughters who tried to tempt him to get out of meditation under the Bodhi tree. While the demon king Mara claimed the throne of enlightenment for himself, his demon army claimed to be the witness for Mara’s enlightenment. Mara then challenged Siddhartha about the witness. Then the former prince reached out his right hand to touch the earth as it is believed that the earth itself roared “I bear you the witness!” Hearing the roar from the earth herself, the demon king disappeared. The following morning saw the first appearance of the one who is awakened, the Buddha. Hence, it is believed that the Bhumisparshamudra, or “the earth witness” mudra commemorates the Buddha’s victory over the temptation by the demon King Mara.

bhumisparsha-mudra2

In Buddhism, it is believed that the Bhumisparshamudra helps us to bring about the transformation from rage and anger to wisdom.

in touch with the earth
feeling the soothing coolness
on bare feet

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is open at noon (CET) and will remain open until July 29th at noon (CET). Have fun!

Haiku Shuukan June 18th 2015, G.R.A.C.E. step 5 ENGAGE

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Engage, enact ethically. Then end the interaction and allow for emergence of the next step. This is the final step in Joan Halifax’s G.R.A.C.E. method. And it’s all about closure.

at last
no more tears to shed
new beginnings

© Chèvrefeuille

This last step has two parts and here is a short description of the two parts of “Engage”:

Part 1: Engage and enact. Compassionate action emerges from the sense of openness, connectedness, and discernment you have created. This action might be a recommendation, an open question about values, or a proposal for how to spend the remaining time with this person. You co-create with the other person a dynamic, morally grounded situation, characterized by mutuality, trust, and consistent with your values and ethics; you draw on your expertise, intuition, and insight, and you look for common ground consistent with your values and supportive of mutual integrity. What emerges is principled compassion: mutual, respectful of all persons involved, and as well practical and actionable.

Part 2: End the interaction. Mark the end of the interaction with this person; release, let go, breathe out. Explicitly recognize internally when the encounter is over, so that you can move cleanly to the next interaction or task; this recognition can be marked by attention to your out-breath. While the next step might be more than you expected would be possible or disappointingly small, notice that, acknowledge what transpired. Without acknowledgement of what unfolded, it will be difficult to let go of this encounter and move on.

Joan Halifax

Joan Halifax

We live in a time when science is validating what humans have known throughout the ages: that compassion is not a luxury; it is a necessity for our well-being, resilience, and survival. My hope is that the G.R.A.C.E. model will help you to actualize compassion in your own life and that the impact of this will ripple out to benefit the people with whom you interact each day as well as countless others.

This is were it is all about … compassion … Right now to me this feeling of compassion is only what I feel in my work as an oncology nurse, but that compassion I don’t have towards/with the managers of our unit and hospital. The only thing they see is money … the people on the floor, nurses and doctors are there just to bring money into the pocket.
Of course I have a unit-head, a nice one I would say, but she is the mediator between the people on the floor and the management … for sure not my job. I feel compassion with her, she just acts how she has been instructed by her boss.

compassionate eyes
through tears a smile breaks through
a joyful day

© Chèvrefeuille

This Haiku Shuukan episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until July 2nd at noon (CET).

Haiku Shuukan May 28 2015, Considering, what will serve (G.R.A.C.E. part 4)

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Joan Halifax

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

It’s Wednesday again and it’s time for a new bi-weekly Haiku Shuukan episode. Several weeks ago I introduced Joan Halifax’s model for life G.R.A.C.E. to you all. And this week I will look at the C of this acronym.

The C stands for Considering, what will serve. And this is what it means:

Consider what will really serve the other person by being truly present for this one and letting insights arise.

As the encounter with the other person unfolds, notice what the other person might be offering in this moment. What are you sensing, seeing, learning? Ask yourself: What will really serve here? Draw on your expertise, knowledge, and experience, and at the same time, be open to seeing things in a fresh way. This is a diagnostic step, and as well, the insights you have may fall outside of a predictable category. Don’t jump to conclusions too quickly.

In this part of G.R.A.C.E the focus is on the other. Look at him/her with an open mind and heart. What does he/she radiate to you. Is it sadness, wisdom, happiness, hope and so on. Try to come in touch with the other.

It’s like haiku. Imagine a beautiful garden full of flowers in full bloom and in all the colors we know. Walk into that garden … open all you senses and see, smell, hear, touch and taste what you see, what the garden is offering you. Become one with it … step into the energy of the flowers, the bees, other insects and the warmth of the sun. And than … there it is the surprise, the “aha-erlebnis” that short moment as short as the sound of a pebble thrown into water. Maybe it’s a deer or a cat or some bird which triggered your surprise.

You feel the moment … or as I look again to the C of G.R.A.C.E you feel the other, you really feel the other and you come in close contact with his/her energy … there you both are … in contact with each other and with an open heart and mind … on the same level …

butterfliesalmost as one
courting butterflies on poppies –
summer afternoon

© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is open for your submissions today, May 28th, at noon (CET) and will remain open until June 10th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our next episode, the E from G.R.A.C.E, later on that day.

Haiku Shuukan May 11th 2015 “Attaining to Self Other

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Dear friends and followers,

It’s my pleasure to bring a new episode of Haiku Shuukan. Several weeks ago we started with Joan Halifax’s G.R.A.C.E and this week it’s about the “A” in G.R.A.C.E. The “A” stands for Attaining to Self Other. And this is what it is all about:

First notice what’s going on in your own mind and body. Then, sense into the experience of whom you are with; sense into what the other person is saying, especially emotional cues: voice tone, body language. Sense without judgment. This is an active process of inquiry, first involving yourself, then the other person. Open a space in which the encounter can unfold, in which you are present for whatever may arise, in yourself and in the other person. How you notice the other person, how you acknowledge the other person, how the other person notices you and acknowledges you… all constitute a kind of mutual exchange. The richer you make this mutual exchange, the more there is the capacity for unfolding.

© Chèvrefeuille

© Chèvrefeuille

This part of the G.R.A.C.E. idea is about seeing the other as he/she is part of you and your environment. It brought another idea in mind, a more Christian idea, maybe you have heard from it … JOY … is an acronym for Jesus first, Others next, Yourself at last. In my opinion this is the same as what Joan means in this part of her G.R.A.C.E idea.

What to do with this idea in a haiku? I don’t really know, but I have to give it a try:

a young cherry tree
this spring will be the first
to bloom for Buddha

© Chèvrefeuille

Well …  I hope you did like this (belated) post, sorry for the delay.

 

Haiku Shuukan April 15th 2015, “Recalling Intention”

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Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Two weeks ago I introduced Joan Halifax (1942) to you all. Joan is a Roshi (a Buddhistic teacher) and next to her busy life at the Upaya Zen Center (Santa Fe, New Mexico) she travels a lot with her teacher and close friend the Dalai Lama. Notwithstanding her age (72) she is an energetic and charismatic human being.

Not so long ago I read an interview with her in a Dutch mindstyle magazine which was themed “life in union”. I especially was touched by her answer on one the questions that were ask. That question was: “Do you think that all that’s happening right now around the globe is bound together?”
Her answer was: “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

Joan invented the “GRACE-method” as we saw two weeks ago. GRACE is an acronym and it stands for:

Gathering attention
Recalling intention
Attaining to self other
Considering
Engaging

Our first step on this (let me say) “Grace”-path we did two weeks ago and now we will do our next step, recalling intention or remember the source of your motivation.

Remember where your life is faced to: it’s all about integrity and to respect the integrity of all creatures around you. It’s your task/goal to help and respect others and to open your heart to the world.

In this “recalling intention” we can without a doubt make a connection with haiku. Isn’t haiku what is said above? Having respect and attention for all nature around us including human kind?
Of course this isn’t a new idea, we know that haiku poets are one with nature. We are really part of nature. We can see, feel, hear, smell and touch nature as no one else, because we are, as haiku poets, one with nature.

Maybe you know the Little Creatures feature at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai (CDHK); that’s the ‘part’ of CDHK that especially is meant for this “being one with nature” and being aware of all the creatures (big and small) around us.

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For example this haiku by Basho (1644-1694):

Looking closely,
I see a shepherd’s purse blooming
underneath  the hedge.

Or this one composed by Issa (1763-1828):

opening the window
I see the butterfly off…
into the field

Aren’t they wonderful? I think this is what Joan means …

This Haiku Shuukan episode is open for your submissions at noon (CET) and will remain open until April 29th at noon (CET).

HAIKU SHUUKAN “GRACE, ENLARGE YOUR CAPACITY OF COMPASSION” (part 1)

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Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

It’s my pleasure to present our new Haiku Shuukan episode. As you all (maybe) know I am the host of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, a daily haiku-meme. I started that weblog almost three years ago and during those years I have created several weblogs as part of (what I like to say) the Carpe Diem Haiku Family.
Haiku Shuukan, first started at blogger, was migrated to WordPress at the start of 2015, and is the place to be if you like the spiritual way of haiku composing. At Haiku Shuukan I try to bring that spirituality (as part of the classical haiku) back into the haiku.
The time which I need to create Haiku Shuukan however is more than I had thought. First I created every week a new episode, but I have decided to bring that back to a bi-weekly episode.
This week is the first episode in which I start this bi-weekly creation.

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 Halifax

Joan Halifax

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.

I think this “gathering attention” could be a nice way to take a moment for yourself as you are busy, or as I look at myself … step back, look at what I am doing, I feel that I am in a hurry and now I have to pause, feel the Earth beneath my feet, make my mind empty by focusing on the moment or something. I take a light breath and I can feel how “time is on hold now”.

regularity

Isn’t that great? It only takes a minute or two (for example) to become relaxed and in the moment. That’s what haiku does (at least to me) coming back in the moment. The realization of the moment. What do I see, feel, hear, smell or touch? Isn’t that what Wabi-Sabi is? One of the Haiku Writing Techniques which we have explored at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai?

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

© Chèvrefeuille

Do you feel it? Smell it? Hear it? See it? Touch it? Take a moment to become one with this moment, gather your attention and find peace in your heart, mind and soul.

I hope you did like this Haiku Shuukan episode. It’s NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until April 15th at noon (CET). At that same date I will publish our next “step” in this wonderful model by Joan Halifax … GRACE … that will be “recalling intention“.

Have fun!

Namaste,

Chèvrefeuille, your host.

A Little Change

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Dear friends and followers,

Time is not at my side right now so I have decided to bring Haiku Shuukan temporarely back to a bi-weekly weblog. So this week there will not be a new episode.
Next week I will start with a new series of five episodes in which we will explore the thoughts of a world famous Buddhistic woman.

Namaste,

Chèvrefeuille, your host.