Tuesday, January 27, 2009
from the Poetic Journal of Princess Haiku
Kuan Yin Temple is known for its spectacular garden of "long-legged harvest men" of the spider chrysanthemum.
I am susceptible to their strange and compelling allure.
They induce waking dreams
On one occasion, I was certain the chrysanthemum that I was looking at turned into the eye of Ameratsu; goddess of the sun. I saw myself in a strange future and landscape that I cannot begin to describe.
I asked myself, Princess Haiku, why did you see the goddess here in the chrysanthemum garden of Kuan Yin Temple rather than by the tiny Shinto Shrine next to the ancient ginkgo?
I had no answer.
Who can explain such things.
Kuan Yin Temple is located high in the hills outside Nara and is a one hour walk from my household. I follow a secret pathway that emerges from the farthest boundary of our estate. The path vanishes and reappears as mysteriously as fog and mist swallow the hillside and giant blackberries that grow in summer on brambles.
One must watch where one walks.
At the summit of the hills leading to the Temple a Tori gate of vermillion red opens its arms on the edge of a cliff, towards the vastness of the sky. From a far distance one can see glimpses of ocean.
Or is that just the glitter of azure sky, I wonder?
Princess Haiku, I ask myself, is the ocean a pool of frozen tears falling from the sky?
The Tori gate leads to ukiyo or the floating world. Here, the transcendent world of impermanence is so close that I can feel its cool touch on my forehead and eyes.
I close my eyes and extreme beauty enters my mind.
It is always different.
On one occasion there will be cool, drifting clouds with mother of pearl lining.
Or pherhaps briliant gold sun pierces the landscape.
It is always a wonder.
I stop for a moment, bow my head and clap two times to acknowledge the nature spirits before I continue.
What strange fate awaits as I pursue my karma?
You must follow along as my tale must be entered.