February Pilgrimage: Anrakuji Temple, Day 5

Walking on the Shinkoku 88 temple pilgrimage path, our guide, Chevrefeuille from Carpe Diem Haiku Kaileads us to the sixth Shingon temple in Kamiita, Japan called the Anrakuji Temple. 

Built to honor Bhaisajyaguru, the Buddha of Healing and Medicine, this doctor, according to legend, heals mainly through chanting mantras.

I find, at times, drinking tea in quiet solitude the best moment to seek Divine healing. When do find your best time for spiritual connections?

fresh ginger root tea,
brew in ceramic tea-cup
while chanting monks pray

ancient sounds vibrate –
in sacred healing rhythm,
tear drops mix with tea

haiku, carpe diem, February pilgrimage, tea,



February Pilgrimage: Dainichji Temple – Day 4

While doing this virtual pilgrimage to discover the roots of Buddhism and the influence on haiku, our host and guide, Chevrefeuille, mentions we will skip a few of the 88 temples on the Island of Shikoku.

Today, however, we travel off the main road and walk a bit into a mountain valley to find the Dainichi-ji Temple.

Although the original temple no longer stands due to repeated destruction forces – you know how that always happens – Matsu, a 17th century monk, reconstructed the temple.

The temple honors Vairocana Buddha or the Buddha of Emptiness.

walking straight ahead,
ten toes wrestling with blisters…
on empty stomach 

Dainichi-ji, haiku, February pilgrimage, writing challenge,

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Inspiration:  Carpe Diem #391, Dainichji (Temple 4)

Photo credit: Wikimedia.org| Chris Harber via Flickr

February Pilgrimage: Konsenji Temple on Day 3

Day three and we visit the Konsenji, or third temple, in the Ohenro 88 temple pilgrimage. According to legend, Kobo Daishi, a Japanese monk and founder of Shingon Buddhism, visited Konsenji and found sacred healing water when his staff struck the ground.

Supposedly, today, there is a well next to the Daishi Hall, and if you see your reflection in the water, you will live until 92 years old. (hmm, do we want to live that long??) But, not seeing your reflection only means, eek!, you will die within the next three years.

It is only a legend. You can breathe easy now. [laughing]

As I walk the pilgrimage path up to the temple entrance, the haiku guide, in a soft voice says:

follow ritual
clean hands and mouth with water
then bow down to pray

haiku, pilgrimage, Carpe Diem haiku kai, healing water, prayer

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Inspiration:  Carpe Diem #390, Konsenji (Temple 3)

Photo credit: Wikimedia.org


The Way of St. James

Opening the old latch on the rusty metal Spanish Gate, the pilgrim steps meditatively forward. His own heartbeat thumps in exciting rhythms. So many years in prayer hoping to walk The Way of St. James pilgrimage. Finally, the answered prayer. He imagines the historical footsteps marching along the path. First, the Roman invaders knee-deep in snow, trudge along as commanding leaders, Charlemagne and Napoleon, follow; bringing up their stomping armies from the rear. The bright orange-yellow sunlight obscures the horizon and then, a real voice echoes with surprise into his ears.

HELLO! a guide shouts
in the early morning fog –
thirty holy days

Monte do Viso, Santiago de Compostela, haiku, writing challenge, haibun, pilgrimage

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Inspiration: Carpe Diem Haiku Kai Special – Pilgrimage to Santiago De Compostela or The Way of St. James.

Photo source: Wikimedia.org

February Pilgrimage: Day One, Ryozenji Temple

February first and a new episode, Shikoku Pilgrimage, starts over at Carpe Diem Haiku Kai. Chevrefeuille plans to host a month-long series to include the “88 temples on the Isle of Shikoku and…more about Buddhism as one the roots for our beloved haiku…[since]…in the classical rules of haiku [it] is said that there has to be a Buddhistic layer in haiku.”

Gaining new insights to attain wisdom and enlightenment can be a daunting project especially with limited opportunities to take an actual spiritual pilgrimage; however, a virtual journey could be the perfect alternative.

Let us join the thousand other O-Henro pilgrims on the Shikoku-route, shall we? First stop: Ryozenji Temple.

penniless pilgrim,
finds her worn rosary beads
oil stained in prayers

Ohenro, haiku, carpe diem challenge, pilgrimage, prayer

Inspiration:   Carpe Diem #389, Ryozenji.

Photo credit: Wikimedia.org


logo, carpe diem, haiku

On the Fifth Morning…

Today, being a quiet and rather lazy kind of Sunday, I found the “Special” haiku challenge from Carpe Diem Haiku Kai quite delightful for the imagination.

The goal is to write a new haiku in the same tone, sense and spirit as the haiku by *Alexey Andreyev.

morning awakening:
among window curtains’ flowers
a blade of gray sky*

Perhaps the awakening comes with the pain of reality when one notices a change in a love relationship.  A lover draws away, affections growing elsewhere and what is left…only memories to start again anew.

truth dawning brightly
as the melting snow reveals
secret rendezvous

haiku, carpe diem special, writing, Japanese poetry, fifth morning

It’s the last week in January, can you believe it?

January is also National Soup Month in the United States…I’m thinking a nice hot bowl of French Onion Soup sounds good right about now.

How about you?

What’s your favorite bowl of soup? 😛

Photo Credit: Wikimedia.org