Outside the window / evening rain is heard / it is the banana leaf that speaks of it first
Bashō arrived with a Plop! as the water celebrated the culmination of his art. The great haiku master broke the old pond’s surface in unison with a frog.
It is like a stab that collapses the body in shock; the momentary spark that blazes drowning passion when two gaze each other from the sides of the room. The reader is impacted without wordy effort, in spontaneous accord with the starkness of the scene. A haiku imparts concrete and sensate reality to the exclusion of philosophizing or abstraction. With this resistance against elaboration, at most, the poet suggests, and the grounds for connection between writer and reader only sprouts harvest if the seeds for such an experience are already contained.
The haiku is felt immediately upon reading, faster than conceptual thought can process. Any resonance after the fact: thoughts, imaginings, speculations, are the birthing of the thinking mind. Regardless of their form, only one distinction is worth being made — they follow. Even if for the tiniest amount of delay, close to imperceptibility, a lapse is noticed. And preceding that absence is the domain of untainted immediacy. The power of haiku lies before the lapse. To explain or interpret with words and ideas is to diminish this power. Likewise, to clarify the punchline of a joke reveals its futility in the polite laughter of a listener who understands only what is after the lapse.
And so, these are the grounds for transmitting what is originally indescribable. The aha! comes seamlessly. Or it never comes.
The strongest force of this seamless coming results in a union with life as it is — just as it is. It removes the gap between the immediacy of reality and what cerebrations arise to claim the realm of now. In the aha’s expanse, dissolution of that lapse continues onward to all thoughts, diffusing even the foundation of a thinker. Wherein no-gap is natural, thoughts and concepts are unoriginated, and the barrier between event and viewer also returns to no-gap. What remains is no-person and no-world, purely life — just happening.
No-one heard Plop! Thus Bashō came with his frog.
Droplets rain down in successive percussion. Yet the banana leaf speaks of them first. Who then, pauses for momentary silences between each drop’s sounding? Can the mind as barrier withstand the impact of their rapping en masse? Or does their momentum carry with seamless force, dissolving all: the gap between one and the next; the breadth between droplet and leaf; the lapse between the leaf’s utterance and that sounding perceived; the space between that resonance and a one who now exclaims aha! the evening rain.
Against the pace of rain all labels divulge their lethargy, arriving an eternity after the unmoving now. Always after the gap.
When I lost my mind and lost the world the banana leaf spoke of it first. Thus I came with the evening rain.