Total Pageviews

Sunday, 12 June 2011

fireflies and master monks (haibun)

                                  Fireflies below Goat Hill

I did end up doing the Goat Hill walk again last night. Set a slower pace than the two major treks of last week, although I still did it in about 1 1/2 hours. It was overcast, with departing rain clouds, so I didn't expect the same magic as experienced last week with the "Green Tara" sunset. But nature always rewards those who visit ... when I got to the foot of Goat Hill, the swampy fields were full of fireflies zipping around. They more than made up for the lack of stars.

                                             no stars
                                  while rain clouds depart
                                      fireflies everywhere

Sylvia relied, "Great haiku, I love it ... probably because I've always found fireflies fascinating." Her enthusiasm inspired me to further reflection.

                                             mating rituals
                                                of fireflies
                                              brief cosmos

I had been doing the walk in a mild, or light, state of meditation. I had started with shamanistic awareness, then gradually raised a cone of meditative energy and entered the next realm of light. I had been walking in this state of awareness when surprised by the fireflies.

                                            night walking
                                        in light meditation:
                                        fireflies ground me

These lighthearted reflections on fireflies and their rituals inspired the final poem.

                                             Zen monk
                                      playing hide and seek
                                           with his soul

published in my 2008 book ZenRiver Poems and Haibun
Hidden Brook Press
isbn 978 1 897475 25 6

June 12/11
I wrote the above haibun this time of year, mid-June, circa 2004. While walking my dog Chase by the Crowe River several nights ago, we saw the first lone firefly of the season. Within a week thousands more will entertain.

Two years ago I made one of my infrequent visit to the Zen Forest Buddhist retreat in Actinolite. I have been visiting the head monk, Thay (Thich Thong Tri), since 2006. Thay asked to visit my little neo-Buddhist retreat, ZenRiver Gardens, in the hamlet of Malone. We were accompanied by another venerated monk, Nando, and a novice, Minh Tri.

The visit was a great and friendly success, and we were greeted on our arrival at ZenRiver by a number of ZenRiver regulars. Thay pronounced powerful fung shui at ZenRiver, and said it was created in part by the powerful minerals underground on the edge of The Shield. All the monks also expressed surprise and some delight at the general absence of insects at ZenRiver.

Thay graciously presented a dharma talk under the crabapple tree on the west lawn of the shaman shack. Morley Ellis played guitar and sang for the small gathering, and everyone enjoyed the spiritual camaraderie buoyed with classical country songs.

I returned the monks to ZenForest, and was invited to a vegetarian supper. While Minh prepared the meal, Thay suggested we visit the large beaver pond where he had spent many years meditating before formally opening the retreat.

Thay, Nando and I sat by the still pond for about fifteen or twenty relaxing minutes. Nature constantly entertained us - a splashing frog, a distant swimming beaver, clouds wafting clear for sunrays to shine, sudden breezes to cool us.

                            master monks  flickering
                                     light thoughts



Conrad DiDiodato said...

Beautiful writing, Chris

Pearl said...

Yes, beautiful. thanks for bringing us along for that mini-retreat.