Sunday, June 25, 2017

Carpe Diem #1208 Shambhala, the mystical and mysterious kingdom

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I hope you have had a wonderful weekend and I hope you are ready for an all new week of haiku-ing here at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. I had a good weekend, I was on the night-shift, but that is part of my job of course.

Today I love to tell you a little bit more about Shambhala, or Shambala (I don't know which to use, because there are several different ways of writing it). As you (maybe) know I have written a novel several years ago, a kind of fantasy-storty like Tolkiens Ring, and in that novel I used also Shambala as a kind of after world, or heaven. And that is exactly what Shambala is I think. Shambala, as legend tells us, is a mystical kingdom somewhere in the Himalayans, but I don't think it's a real kingdom actually, I think it's more a "kingdom" like "Heaven" and you only can reach that kingdom through dead and living in the righteous way.

The 14th Dalai Lama (Lhamo Dondrub)

As the 14th Dalai Lama noted during the 1985 Kalachakra initiation in Bodhgaya, Shambhala is not an ordinary country:

[...] “Although those with special affiliation may actually be able to go there through their karmic connection, nevertheless it is not a physical place that we can actually find. We can only say that it is a pure land, a pure land in the human realm. And unless one has the merit and the actual karmic association, one cannot actually arrive there.” [...]

Shambhala ... the mystical invisible place of peace somewhere in the Himalayans.

Shambhala, which is a Sanskrit word meaning “place of peace” or “place of silence”, is a mythical paradise spoken of in ancient texts, including the Kalachakra Tantra and the ancient scriptures of the Zhang Zhung culture which predated Tibetan Buddhism in western Tibet. According to legend, it is a land where only the pure of heart can live, a place where love and wisdom reigns and where people are immune to suffering, want or old age. (Sounds like Heaven or the New Jerusalem).

The legend of Shambhala is said to date back thousands of years, and reference to the mythical land can be found in various ancient texts. Hindu texts such as Vishnu Purana mention Shambhala as the birth place of Kalki, the final incarnation of Vishnu who will usher in a new Golden Age. The Buddhist myth of Shambhala is an adaptation of the earlier Hindu myth. However, the text in which Shambhala is first discussed extensively is the Kalachakra.
The Kalachakra refers to a complex and advanced esoteric teaching and practice in Tibetan Buddhism. Shakyamuni Buddha is said to have taught the Kalachakra on request of King Suchandra of Shambhala.
As with many concepts in the Kalachakra, the idea of Shambhala is said to have outer, inner, and alternative meanings. The outer meaning understands Shambhala to exist as a physical place, although only individuals with the appropriate karma can reach it and experience it as such. The inner and alternative meanings refer to more subtle understandings of what Shambhala represents in terms of one's own body and mind (inner), and during meditative practice (alternative). These two types of symbolic explanations are generally passed on orally from teacher to student.

Kalachakra sand mandala (33th Kalachakra Empowerment 2014)
The concept of Shambhala plays an important role in Tibetan religious teachings, and has particular relevance in Tibetan mythology about the future.  The Kalachakra prophesies the gradual deterioration of mankind as the ideology of materialism spreads over the earth. When the “barbarians” who follow this ideology are united under an evil king and think there is nothing left to conquer, the mists will lift to reveal the snowy mountains of Shambhala. The barbarians will attack Shambhala with a huge army equipped with terrible weapons. Then the king of Shambhala will emerge from Shambhala with a huge army to vanquish "dark forces" and usher in a worldwide Golden Age.
Though the Kālachakra prophesies a future war, this appears in conflict with the vows of Buddhist teachings that prohibit violence. This has led some theologians to interpret the war symbolically – the Kālachakra is not advocating violence against people but rather refers to the inner battle of the religious practitioner against inner demonic tendencies.

Over many centuries, numerous explorers and seekers of spiritual wisdom have embarked on expeditions and quests in search of the mythical paradise of Shambhala, and while many have claimed to have been there, no one has yet provided any evidence of its existence or been able to pinpoint its physical location on a map, however most references place Shambhala in the mountainous regions of Eurasia.
In Altai folklore, Mount Belukha is believed to be the gateway to Shambhala. Modern Buddhist scholars seem to conclude that Shambhala is located in the higher reaches of the Himalayas. Some legends say that the entrance to Shambhala is hidden inside a remote, abandoned monastery in Tibet, and guarded by beings known as the Shambhala Guardians.

Somewhere in the Himalayans according to legends you will find Shambhala
It's a wonderful story, a mysterious kingdom hidden somewhere in the Himalayan Mountains ... well it all sounds like a dream, but ... well if there is nothing left to dream of what will be there ...?

It was really a joy to do the research for this episode and I have found a lot about Shambhala all over the Internet. I used several sources for this episode. I will give you the URL's at the end.

high in the mountains
through the streets of Shambhala
the cry of an eagle
welcoming new citizens
who finally found their path

© Chèvrefeuille

I love it as a tanka works ... in this case it wasn't easy to create it, but ... well ....

Used sources:

Ancient Origins
Collective Evolution

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7:00 PM (CET) and will remain open until June 30th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, reincarnation, later on.

Chèvrefeuille's Gift To You To Celebrate Our First Luster Of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai #5 Use That Quote

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I had some spare time so time again for a new episode of "Chèvrefeuille's Gift ..." This episode I love to challenge you to create a haiku or tanka inspired on a quote given. Maybe you can remember our special feature "Use That Quote"?

Today I have a nice quote for you by one of my favorite philosophers Rabindranath Tagore:

[...] "Clouds come floating into my life, no longer to carry rain or usher storm, but to add color to my sunset sky." [...]
© Rabindranath Tagore
Rabindranath Tagore

Rabindranath Tagore (1861 – 1941), was a Bengali polymath who reshaped Bengali literature and music, as well as Indian art with Contextual Modernism in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Author of Gitanjali and its "profoundly sensitive, fresh and beautiful verse", he became the first non-European to win the Nobel Prize in Literature in 1913. Sometimes referred to as "the Bard of Bengal", Tagore's poetic songs were viewed as spiritual and mercurial; however, his "elegant prose and magical poetry" remain largely unknown outside Bengal.
Tagore wrote wonderful prose, poetry and songs. In his "Gitanjali" (Song Offerings) he included lots of beauties with a deep spiritual meaning. For his "Gitanjali" he got the Nobel Prize in Literature and I just love to reproduce one of his songs taken from the "Gitanjali":

On the day when the lotus bloomed, alas, my mind was straying, and I knew it not. My basket was empty and the flower remained unheeded.
Only now and again a sadness fell upon me, and I started up from my dream and felt a sweet trace of a strange fragrance in the south wind.
That vague sweetness made my heart ache with longing and it seemed to me that it was the eager breath of the summer seeking for its completion.
I knew not then that it was so near, that it was mine, and that this perfect sweetness had blossomed in the depth of my own heart.

Well ... I hope you did like this "gift" and that it will inspire you to create haiku, tanka or other Japanese poetry form inspired on the quote given.
This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until June 30th at noon (CET).

Saturday, June 24, 2017

Carpe Diem Extra June 24th 2017 "writer's block"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I love to ask you something if you don't mind? I have a kind of "writer's block", because I have not a clue what theme I could use for our next month of haiku-ing. Do you have an idea for prompts for our upcoming month July. Please share them with me through the comments field.

Thank you for participating in CDHK.


Chèvrefeuille your host

Thursday, June 22, 2017

Carpe Diem's Writing and Enjoying Haiku #1 Introduction

Cover / Logo

!!! Open for your submissions next Sunday June 25th at 7.00 PM (CET) !!!

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

It is with pleasure and pride that I introduce to you an all new feature for the "weekend-meditation". Recently I tried the "Haiku Puzzler" as a "weekend-meditation", but it was a too difficult "puzzler" or you didn't like the idea of a "Haiku Puzzler" for the "weekend-meditation", so I decided to skip the "Haiku Puzzler" and bring up our new feature in honor of Jane Reichhold (1937-2016).
Maybe you know her hands-on-guide for haiku "Writing and Enjoying Haiku", from which I have extracted the title of this new "weekend-meditation" feature.

In "Writing and Enjoying Haiku" Jane brought up the idea of haiku writing as a kind of meditation and a way to find spiritual peace. And that's what the goal is of this new "weekend-meditation" feature.

Jane Reichhold, Queen of Haiku and Tanka
A few years ago I was send a gift by Jane for my birthday, a nice box full of books written by her. For example she gave me "Basho, the complete haiku", one of her best books in my opinion, but she also gave me a copy of her Hands On Guide "Writing and Enjoying Haiku". This small book was an eye-opener ... I had never looked at haiku as a way of finding peace, but after reading it I was overwhelmed by her beautiful mind and her knowledge. So it was then that a seed was sown for a new feature. I never had thought that I would use this idea that soon ... well it was through her death that this idea started to grow and finally blossomed ....

I love to start with a quote taken from the back-cover of Jane's Hands On Guide:

[...] "Writing and Enjoying Haiku shows how haiku can bring a centered, calming atmosphere into one's life, by focusing on the outer realities of life instead of the naggings of the inner mind, by gaining a new appreciation for the world of nature, and by preserving moments, days, and events so that they are not lost forever in the passage of time." [...]

the passage of time
[...] "Though the word "enjoying" is the third word in the title (of this book), for me enjoying anything and everything is the primary function of our lives. True, the function (of this book) is to teach you how to write haiku, but I want you to first learn to touch a point of pleasure within yourself with haiku.
To do this, you will need to open the arms of your mind to take in some haiku already snapped up out of the art and written down." [...]

The above quote is from the introduction of Jane's Hands On Guide and she already gives us a task in these words "learn to touch a point of pleasure within yourself with haiku". Let us start again with being a "rookie" in haiku world and let us learn to appreciate haiku right now by reading a few beauties collected from Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. To learn to appreciate haiku we have to learn how to read again, and re-read again ... making the haiku come to life and let it be part of you, let it be your pleasure ... maybe while reading these examples you have the urge to change something ... feel free to do so ... bring the haiku to life through your mind, your heart and your pencil.

goosefeather pen (image found on Pinterest)
I have the following haiku for you to "contemplate" and "meditate". Read and re-read them and try to bring the scene(s) to life. Try to become one with the haiku.
And as I wrote earlier in this post ... feel free to change the haiku if you have the urge to change them, that you can only achieve through "living" the haiku.

wisteria sways -
pendulous blossoms in breeze
unspoken promise

© Jazzy

petal lanterns —
a waterfall of flowers
her lips touch mine

© Hamish

scent of summer
jasmin blooming on the fence
bees hum in the daisy bush

© Cressida

summer heat
no shadows to turn to
rain at last

© Chèvrefeuille

Four haiku extracted from our CDHK E-book "Petal Lanterns". Written by four of our CDHK family members (including myself).

What is the goal of this "weekend-meditation"? Well to "learn" to read  haiku, to become one with haiku and trying to be the haiku. And if you had the urge to change something than share your "re-done" haiku with us. The second goal is to create haiku (or tanka) in which the reader can find, feel, touch, hear or see the scene as you have seen it and maybe your readers will also try to become one with your haiku, or will give words to their urge to change something.

Well ... I hope you did like this new "weekend-meditation" feature in honor and tribute of Jane Reichhold.

!!! Submissions for this "weekend-meditation" can be linked to the linking widget next Sunday, June 25th at 7.00 PM (CET). and will remain open until June 30th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, Shambhala, later on. For now ... have fun and have a wonderful creative weekend.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Carpe Diem Theme Week "The Songs of Milarepa" (4) like a summer flower

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at this last episode of our Theme Week about "The Songs of Milarepa", a renown Tibetan poet and yogi. I think I have made a nice selection this week and today I love to share another beauty written by Milarepa.

This song is part of the bigger song "The Fleeting Bubbles" a song about Dharma:

Youth is like a summer flower -
Suddenly it fades away.

Old age is like a fire spreading
Through the fields - suddenly 'tis at your heels.

The Buddha once said, "Birth and Death
Are like Sunrise and sunset -
Now come, now go."

Youth is like a summer flower (image found on Pinterest)

Sickness is like a little bird
Wounded by a sling.
Know you not, health and strength
Will in time desert you?

Death is like an oil-dry lamp
(After the last flicker).

Nothing, I assure you,
In this world is permanent.

© Milarepa

In this poem you can read what we all know ... we all live in a fleeting world, nothing is permanent. Nothing is permanent at all ... so enjoy your life ...

It was really a joy to create this Theme Week for you all and I hope you did like it. This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until June 26th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new "weekend-meditation" later on. For now .... have fun!

Tuesday, June 20, 2017

Carpe Diem Theme Week "The Songs of Milarepa" (3) The Shepherd

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Maybe you can remember our CDHK month in which I used prompts extracted from "Manuscript Found In Accra", by Paulo Coelho in July 2013, or maybe you know "The Prophet" written by Khalil Gibran. Both are books in which people question prophets or spiritual people, or just wise people. This Theme Week "The Songs of Milarepa" the prompts are extracted from "Hundred Thousand Songs by Milarepa". This book is written in the same way as the both I mentioned above.

In "The Songs of ..." Milarepa answers different questions by people around him and today I love to share a part of "The Songs of ..." in which a young shepherd asks him a question:

[...] A young shepherd boy came to Milarepa and said:, "Dear Lama, last night I tried to find out what my mind is and how it works. I observed it carefully and found that I have only one mind. Even though one wants to, one cannot kill this mind. However much one wishes to dismiss it, it will not go away. If one tries to catch it, it cannot be grasped; nor can it be held by pressing it. If you want it to remain, it will not stay; if you release it, it will not go. You try to gather it; it cannot be picked up. You try to see it; it cannot be seen. You try to understand it; it cannot be known. If you think it is an existing entity and cast it off, it will not leave you. If you think that it is non-existent, you feel it running on. It is something illuminating, aware, wide-awake, yet incomprehensible. In short, it is hard to say what the mind really is. Please be kind enough to explain the meaning of the mind." 

Tibetan shepherd
In response, Milarepa sang: 

Listen to me, dear shepherd, the protector [of sheep)!
By merely hearing about sugar's taste, 
Sweetness cannot be experienced; 
Though one's mind may understand 
What sweetness is, 
It cannot experience directly; 
Only the tongue can know it. 
In the same way one cannot see in full the nature of mind, 
Though he may have a glimpse of it 
If it has been pointed out by others.
If one relies not on this one glimpse, 
But continues searching for the nature of mind, 
He will see it fully in the end. 
Dear shepherd, in this way you should observe your mind. 

© Milarepa

The boy then said, "In that case, please give me the Pointing-out-Instruction*, and this evening I will look into it. I shall return to-morrow and tell you the result." Milarepa replied, "Very well. When you get home, try to find out the color of the mind. Is it white, red, or what? What is its shape? Is it oblong, round, or what? Also, try to locate where in your body it dwells."
The next morning when the sun rose, the shepherd drove the sheep before him, and came to Milarepa, who asked, "Did you try last night to find out what the mind is like?" The boy replied, "Yes, I did." 
"What does it look like?" [...] (Source: The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa, page 123 & 124)

*) Lit.: "Through the 'Pointing-out-Instruction' one may glimpse it." The Pointing-out-Instruction is an essential practice of Mahamudra. The main concern of Mahamudra is the unfoldment of the essence of one's mind. To accomplish this, the disciple is given by his Guru the "Pointing-out" demonstration. This can be done in different ways with different gestures-a smile, a blow, a push, a remark, etc. This is strikingly similar to the “koan”-tradition of Zen, though the style and process appear somewhat different.

An amazing song ... I hope to read wonderful haiku and tanka inspired on this Song by Milarepa in which we can see the hidden spiritual meaning of our nature, of our beautiful little poems.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until June 25th at noon (CET). I will try to publish our last episode of this Carpe Diem Theme Week, an other song by Milarepa, later on. For now ... have fun!

Monday, June 19, 2017

Carpe Diem Theme Week "The Songs of Milarepa"(2) "flying clouds"

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at our second episode of this month's Theme Week "The Songs of Milarepa". This week I will share a few of the poems (or part of the poems) written by the renown Tibetan poet and yogi Milarepa. All poems (or partial poems) are extracted from "The Hundred Thousand Songs of Milarepa. In this wonderful book the life of Milarepa is told and his wisdom shared. Milarepa's Songs are full of secret and sacred wisdom ... and for sure it isn't easy to "run" through his wisdom to find a poem suited for here at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai, but today I found another nice poem. The part I share here is about the wisdom of Milarepa which he shared to converse Lodun, a Scholar.

Versatile are flying clouds, 
Yet from the sky they're not apart. 
Mighty are the ocean's waves, 
Yet they are not separate from the sea. 
Heavy and thick are banks of fog, 
Yet from the air they're not apart.
Frantic runs the mind in voidness, 
Yet from the Void it never separates. 
He who can "weigh" Awareness 
Will understand the teaching 
Of Mind-Riding-on-the-Breath.
He who sees wandering 
Thoughts sneaking in like thieves, 
Will understand the instruction 
Of watching these intruding thoughts. 
He who experiences his mind wandering outside, 
Will realize the allegory 
Of the Pigeon and the Boat at Sea*.

© Milarepa

*Flying off from a boat in the sea, a pigeon cannot fly very far before it is forced to return to the boat because no landing-place is in sight. This metaphor alludes to the fact that wandering thoughts, no matter how wild and uncontrollable they are, will eventually return to the Mind-Essence, as there is nowhere else to go.

Imagine this ... see the story unfold in front of you and she the meaning of this partial poem. All is One and inseparable. Isn't that what we, haiku (and tanka) poets see in the world, the nature around us? Are we not all one with nature ... all created with God-stuff.

through the mist
I hear the cry of an eagle
seeking for prey
aware of his surroundings
he catches a little mouse

© Chèvrefeuille

Hmm ... not as strong as I had hoped, but well ... I have given it a try. And now ... it is up to you. This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until June 24th at noon (CET). I will (try to) publish our new episode, our third Theme Week episode, later on. For now .... have fun!