With every gust of wind, the butterfly changes its place on the willow.
I pay homage and give tribute to Matsuo Basho, for he taught me how to find beauty in the transitory flow of all life.
Basho , probably the greatest poet Japan has ever known, is known for his Haikus but to me Basho represents the eternal appreciation of the moment , the full attention of awareness to a moment of beauty.
Basho in his inimitable fashion, tried and successfully managed to pinpoint a transient reality into a momentary glory.
His Haikus perform a kind of magical transportation of the state of mind of the reader into a grasp of significance and importance.
I first met Matsuo Basho many years ago, and read this statement :
“Do not seek to follow in the footsteps of the wise; seek what they sought.”
And truth to tell, it took me many years of pondering to unravel the mystery of this apparently simple statement.
The so called straightforward explanation “to seek what they (the wise) sought”, seemed an impossible task. How could I possibly know what they sought?
The answer came to me a few years later when re reading one of Basho’s most famous Haiku:
“Nothing in the cry
of cicadas suggests they
are about to die”
What I realized at that point was “Muga” that only later I came to understand as the act of self forgetting. Only at that point did I recognize the meaning of ‘what they sought’. They sought to join the (transient and empty) nature of all phenomena via the act of self forgetting. Basho in his simple observations required of me and of each and everyone of us to allow ourselves the freedom of being.
“There is nothing you can see that is not a flower; there is nothing you can think that is not the moon.”
― Matsuo Basho
Whilst Ursula Le Guin I consider a warrior poet, Basho I think of as a warrior monk (a poet monk). Busy in his solitude, continuously re-inventing the meaning of being himself.
A wandering poet, forever re-describing the necessary conditions for the realization of beauty.
I therefore pay homage and give tribute to Basho, for he changed my mind, moment by moment , into eternity. Through Basho I have discovered the interdependence inherent in all life.
“Real poetry, is to lead a beautiful life. To live poetry is better than to write it.”
This is the 4th installment in my series of “ Homage to” Minds that changed my mind.