e-book Pure Land Haiku: The Art of Priest Issa

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From Amazon Purchases from Amazon go to help the charity, Water, a non-profit organization bringing clean and safe drinking water to people in developing nations. A brief but excellent primer on Jodoshinshu spirituality revealing its basic concepts, vision and scope. The best introduction to the haiku of Kobayashi Issa — from a Jodoshinshu perspective.

Part poetic travelogue, part prose reflection on the spiritual transformation that unfolds naturally within one while walking the Pure Land Jodoshinshu path. At other times, however, the landscape is more forbidding, devoid of the comfort provided by other creatures. Home and Family. Issa spent much time trying to establish a true home in the land in which he was born because he had a strong sense of the importance of family continuity. He regarded the family as a source of strength in a contentious and competitive environment and wrote many poems about the misfortune of his own family situation.

Some of his poems on this subject tend to be extremely sentimental, lacking his characteristic comic stance. What's this? The uncertainty of his position with respect to his family and his ancestors made the concept of home ground especially important for Issa as a fixed coordinate in a chaotic universe. His early rejection by his stepmother was an important event in the development of an outlook that counted uncertainty as a given, but his sense of the transitory nature of existence is a part of a very basic strain of Japanese philosophy.

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The tangible intermixed with the intangible is the subject of many of his poems: "The first firefly. What is seen, discernible, is rarely seen for long and never permanently fixed. The man who reaches for the elusive particle of energy is like the artist who reaches for the stuff of inspiration, like any person trying to grasp the animating fire of the cosmos.

Spiritualism and Faith. The consolation of poetry could not be entirely sufficient to compensate for the terrible sense of loss in Issa's life, but he could not accept standard religious precepts easily either.


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He was drawn to the fundamental philosophical positions of Buddhist thought, but his natural skepticism and clear eye for sham prevented him from entering into any dogma without reservation. One is reminded of the famous Zen description of the universe, "No holiness, vast emptiness," by Issa's determination to keep Buddha from freezing into an icon: "Polishing the Buddha.

A Taste of Issa: Haiku - Issa Kobayashi - Google книги

While most of Issa's haiku are like the satori of Zen awareness, a moment of sudden enlightenment expressed in a "charged image," Issa's "voice" also has a reflective quality that develops from a rueful realization of the profound sadness of existence. What makes Issa's voice so appealing in his more thoughtful poems is his expression of a kind of faith in the value of enduring. He can begin the new year by saying: "Felicitations!

Somber Poems.

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There were moments when the sadness became more than his humor could bear. How close to tragic pessimism is this poem, for example: "The people we know. Poems such as these somber ones must be seen as dark seasoning, for the defining credo at the crux of his work is that his effort has been worthwhile. In his poetry, he was already a "white-wing butterfly," and the tension between the man and the poem, between the tenuousness of life and the eternity of art, energized his soul.

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Blyth, R. Eastern Culture. Tokyo: Hokusheido Press, Discusses Issa in the context of the spiritual origins of haiku in Zen Buddhism and other Eastern spiritual traditions. Sees Issa as the poet of destiny, who saw his own tragic experiences as part of the larger motions of fate. Also interprets him both as a poet within Japanese culture and as a poet of universal appeal.

From the Beginnings Up to Issa. Devotes four chapters to Issa, presenting Issa's work in chronological order, ending in the haiku of Issa's old age. Includes interpretations of Issa's work plus examples of his portrayals of plants and the small creatures of the earth and of meaningful personal incidents, such as the deaths of his wife and children. Kato, Shulchi. A History of Japanese Literature. Translated by Don Sanderson.


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New York: Kodansha International, Includes a short chapter on Issa as a realistic, down-to-earth poet of everyday life and in the context of the Japanese society of the time. MacKenzie, Lewis, trans. London: John Murray, Lengthy and informative introduction by the translator to a selection of Issa's haiku.

MacKenzie assesses Issa's contributions to the haiku form, includes a detailed narrative of Issa's often troubled life, and comments on individual haiku. Includes both English translations of the poems and phonetic Japanese versions. Yasuda, Kenneth. Rutland, Vt. Tuttle, Add to List.

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See our disclaimer. This is the first book-length English-language treatment of this remarkable Japanese poet in relation to his joyful, "priestly" mission. Specifications Publisher Haikuguy. Customer Reviews. Write a review. Ask a question. Pricing policy About our prices.

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