Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Carpe Diem #1210 Tibetan Book Of Dead (Bardo Thodol)


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

This wonderful journey through Tibet is almost over and i think we have had a really wonderful and magical experience here. So it is with sadness that I am creating this penultimate (regular) episode. Today I love to inspire you through the Tibetan Book of Dead, not that one we had for our first Theme Week last year, but that original one in which the rituals are described to give peace to the dying and in which the soul is guided to the right realm were it will wait to be reborn.

Earlier this week I wrote an episode about Shambhala, that magical kingdom somewhere in the Himalayans. Shambhala isn't a physical place in my opinion it is the place were our souls are waiting to become reborn. Another episode was about reincarnation and those two prompts are interconnected with our prompt for today ... the Tibetan Book Of Dead. (Downloadable  HERE)

Tibetan Book Of The Dead

Let me tell you a little bit more about The Tibetan Book Of Dead:

It is meant to be a guide for those who have died as they transition from their former life to a new destination. The work has been traditionally attributed to Padma-Sambhava, an Indian mystic who was said to have introduced Buddhism to Tibet in the 8th century. Legend has it that while visiting Tibet, Padma-Sambhava found it necessary to conceal sanskrit works he had arranged to be written.The Tibetans of that time were not ready for the spiritual teachings contained therein, so he hid his texts in strange and remote locations, leaving them to be discovered at a later time when their spiritual message could be received by those with an open mind.

The most famous of those that discovered and revealed Padma-Sambhava's writings was Karma Lingpa who was born around 1350 CE. According to his biography, Karma Lingpa found several hidden texts on top of a mountain in Tibet when he was fifteen years old. Within those texts, he found a collection of teachings entitled: The Self-Emergence of the Peaceful and Wrathful Deities from Enlightened Awareness. These teachings contained the texts of the now famous Great Liberation upon Hearing in the Bardo. The Tibetan Book of the Dead was first published in 1927 by Oxford University Press, London. (Source: holybooks.com)

Tibetan Book Of The Dead (original)
The above image shows  the part of The Tibetan Book Of The Dead in which the passed away man or woman will be facing the demons to challenge him / her to be "weighted". I think this phase is similar with what in other religions is called "judgement" or "limbo", but that I don't know for sure.

Here is a "quote" from this part of The Tibetan Book Of The Dead:

[...] "O nobly-born, listen undistractedly. Not having been able to recognize when the Peaceful [Deities] shone upon thee in the Bardo above, thou hast come wandering thus far. Now, on the Eighth Day, the blood-drinking Wrathful Deities will come to shine. Act so as to recognize them without being distracted." [...]

aftermath
life weighted by the gods
to be reborn


© Chèvrefeuille

Well ... it is not an easy task I think this time, but I am looking forward to your responses on this prompt.

By the way ... next month we will have all kigo for summer for prompts, classical and non-classical. So that will be another great month of Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. I hope to publish our new prompt-list later this week.

This episode is NOW OPEN for your submissions and will remain open until July2nd at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, Dalai Lama, later on. For now .... have fun!


Monday, June 26, 2017

Carpe Diem #1209 reincarnation the Tibetan Vision


Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

Welcome at a new episode of our wonderful Haiku Kai. this month it is all about Tibet, a Magical Experience, we have seen already the beauty of Tibet and we have read wonderful poems written by the renown Tibetan poet and yogi Milarepa and today we are going to look a little bit closer to one of the "pillars" of Budhism, reincarnation.
In our first CDHK Theme Week the one about the Tibetan Book of Living and Dying, we have already had a quick look at reincarnation, but for this episode I decided to dive into the matter of reincarnation (especially Tibet ideas) a bit more. However ... I couldn't really find a good background on this and so I had to decide to search the Internet. I ran into a nice essay about Tibetan ideas on reincarnation which I love to share here with you.

As you maybe know in Tibetan Buddhism the only one who can recognize a reincarnation is His Holiness The Dalai Lama. His last recognition (as far as I know) was on July 9th 2013. He then recognized a Tibetan boy born in Nepal as the reincarnation of one of his teachers and former head of Nyingma, the oldest tradition of Tibetan Buddhism.
The Tibetan spiritual leader gave his seal of recognition to Ngawang Tenzin Choekyi Lodoe Rabsel, a Tibetan boy born to Choeling Trulku Ngawal Choepal Gyatso and Paylung Tsewang Dolma in Kathmandu on July 25, 2013.

The announcement was made on July 6, 2015 to coincide with the 80th birthday of His Holiness the Dalai Lama.

Ngawang Tenzin Choekyi Lodoe Rabsel, the recognized reincarnation of Trulshik Rinpoche of
It is a bit stronge to see a young boy (above) as the reincarnation of one of the Heart Lamas of Nyingma, the oldest tradition of Tibetan Buddhism. As this little boy was recognized as a reincarnated spiritual teacher he was just 2 years. From the moment of recognition the life of this young boy and his family will change drastical. However the parents of this young boy will be grateful and honored that their son will become one of the leading Tibetan Lamas.

Tibetan reincarnation (tulku)?

The reincarnation system (tulku), a distinguishing characteristic of Tibetan Buddhism, is based on the theory that Buddha's soul never vanishes, but reincarnates in succession to lead his followers and to accomplish his mission. One of the first reincarnations among the Buddhist monks in Tibet is Karma Pakshi. In 1193, before Dusum Chenpa, a religious leader, the first Karmapa of the Karma Kagyu tradition of Tibetan Buddhism, passed away, he told his disciples that he would return as a reincarnated being. His disciples soon led a search for his infant reincarnation in accordance with his will. Several years later, Karma Pakshi turned out as the first reincarnation in Tibet and trained to be Karma Kagyu leader. After Karma Pakshi's reincarnation, the reincarnation system was adopted by other sects gradually to keep a consistent religious leadership. By applying the system, heirs for hundreds of Gyalwas (Living Buddhas) were selected, among whom the Dalai Lama and the Panchen Lama are the most prestigious. The Yellow Hat sect, Gelugpa tradition of Tibetan Buddhism also applied the system to hand down the titles conferred on the third Dalai Lama and the fourth Panchen Lama to keep their established religious and secular title and power. By the end of the Qing Dynasty there were 160 high lamas registered with the Board for Mongolian and Tibetan Affairs, each applying the reincarnation system to identify their next successors.
Lhamo Latso Lake

Religious methods and rituals are used to identify a reincarnation of a late high lama. A search party headed by another high lama begins the search. After a religious retreat, lamas, dispatched in disguise, scour Tibet for special signs: new mothers who had unusual dreams, children who have special knowledge without being taught, and special physical traits, such as big ear lobes. The lamas refer to oracles, portents, dreams and  the late lama's prophesy in order to aid them in their search. Some lamas are sent to Lhamo Latso, the Oracle Lake, to look for prophetic visions to help locate the reincarnation.
Once the High Lamas have found the home and the boy they believe to be the reincarnation, the boy undergoes a series of tests to affirm the rebirth. They present a number of artifacts, only some of which belonged to the previous Dalai Lama, and if the boy chooses the items which belonged to the previous Dalai Lama, this is seen as a sign, in conjunction with all of the other indications, that the boy is the reincarnation.

Many believe the Dalai Lama to be an earthly manifestation of Avalokiteśvara (Chenrezig). Eventhough this thought was only recently formulated by the fifth Dalai Lama, Ngawang Lobsang Gyatso ( 1617 -1682 ). It is said that Padmasambhava prophesied that Avalokiteśvara will manifest himself in the Tulku lineages of the Dalai Lamas and the Karmapas. Another Tibetan source explains that Amitabha Buddha gave to one of his two main disciples, Avalokiteśvara, the task to take upon himself the burden of caring for Tibet. In Tibetan Buddhism, Tara came into existence from a single tear shed by Chenrezig. When the tear fell to the ground it created a lake, and a lotus opening in the lake revealed Tara. In another version of this story, Tara emerges from the heart of Chenrezig. In either version, it is Chenrezig’s outpouring of compassion which manifests Tara as a being.

Avalokiteshvara
As I was preparing this episode I also sought for haiku on reincarnation and I ran into a nice haiku written by Martha Magenta:
reincarnation
each raindrop
lost at sea


© Martha Magenta

And I found another nice haiku on reincarnation by Rajkumar Mukherjee:

future born in me
with love of present for past
who knows what he holds


© Rajkumar Mukherjee

By the way I couldn't find a way to contact them to ask their permissions, so if you know these two poets or you are one of these two poets, please let me know if you are okay with it.

Reincarnation (Dutch website)
Here are a few poems I wrote on reincarnation or related themes:

several lives
once lived and re-lived -
Lotus blooms again
reaching for a new day of life
cherished by the sun
the final frontier
to become newly born -
conquering death
phoenix spreads its wings
after the dark cold winter night
finally spring
© Chèvrefeuille

This episode is open for your submissions tonight at 7:00 PM (CET) and will remain open until July 1st at noon (CET). I will try to publish our new episode, Tibetan Book of Death, later on.

 

Carpe Diem Sunflower kukai, the judging begins

Dear Haijin, visitors and travelers,

I have gathered all the entries for the Sunflower kukai and today the judging starts. You can find all the submitted haiku (without names of course) above in the menu.

You can give points to three of the submitted haiku, of course not your own. You can give 3 points for the best haiku, 2 points for the second best haiku and 1 point for the third best haiku.

You can email your points to our email-address: carpediemhaikukai@gmail.com please write "judging sunflower" in the subject line.

The judging starts right now and closes on July 10th at 10:00 PM (CET)

0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0-0

departure

Here is the theme for our next kukai:

DEPARTURE

You can submit a maximum of three haiku themed "departure" to our emailaddress carpediemhaikukai@gmail.com please write "kukai departure" in the subject-line. The kukai closes on Sunday July 23rd at 10:00 PM (CET).

Have a great week.

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:

Wikipedia
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.

Namasté,

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.