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haiku evolution

Here’s my own personal take on global haiku’s mess and an understanding of what can possibly be done about it. . . .

We need to isolate the one essential ingredient of haiku and build from there in the absence of self. The ‘haiku engine’. This fundamental is not haiku, it is applied to generate haiku along with the addition of a fistful of basic and essential, formal and procedural elements.

Unless we build from this foundation up, haiku is doomed to consumerism’s self-obsessive debauchery. This is psychologically harmful if practiced over time, especially so on a daily basis (or lifestyle). (Check it out on the social network sites and elsewhere on the internet.) We have a great responsibility to correct this absurd situation – it’s not a small thing:


Google: HAIKU About 66,600,000 results (0.21 seconds)


Haiku functionality requires, as we know (or should know), a powerful form of meditation (rarely mentioned directly or seriously in the literature). If any meditation technique is performed wrongly it will cause harm to the student over time. This harm manifests in an insidious, overweening vanity, which produces strife, both within the student and in the social arena of their influence. (Consider the history of haiku in the West.) Wrongly applied, meditation, in the form of haiku-vision, will produce or amplify a subliminal psychotic mental state with concomitant phsysiological malfunction. So gradually incursive that it can be imperceptible to the practitioner. However, as we know, correctly applied, haiku-vision will (not can) evolve the student.

The openly concealed clue to all this is in Basho’s powerful statement regarding the pine and shifting consciousness, via concentration and meditation, into an empathic contemplation, by merging  with the object of attention:



“Go to the pine if you want to learn about the pine, or the bamboo if you want to learn about the bamboo. And in doing so, you must leave your subjective preoccupation with yourself. Your poetry issues of its own accord when you and the object have become one – when you have plunged deep enough into the object to see something like a hidden glimmering there. However well-phrased your poetry may be, if the object and yourself are separate – then your poetry is not true poetry but a semblance of the real thing.”



He knew what he was talking about. The floating world of Edo, as showcased in the social literary gatherings of that Japanese cultural period, had become what we are experiencing currently in global haiku. We have no records (to my knowledge) that this great man taught the deeper mysteries and techniques of Nippon mysticism (and the consequential results of malpractice). What we do know is that he revolted against the historical elitism of prior forms of social versification and, subsequently, the street-level decadence which replaced it. (His conclusion is writ large in the quote above.)

We need to build it all again, from the bottom up. Only then can we develop and evolve haiku into a post-Basho future – for the benefit of the people (and, I must add, with a clear conscience).



"A high priest says:
"A superficial knowledge of Zen causes great harm."
I appreciate his comment"


—  Basho




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