ABSTRACT: Especially in his Journals, a spontaneous Ralph Waldo Emerson reflects on Zen experiences that also find expression in classical haiku. More than coincidental flashes of poetic insight seem involved in the deeper correspondences between hundreds of Emerson lines and haiku.
To the extent we discover the expression of Zen “haiku moments” in Emerson, we can make a comparative determination of Emerson’s commitment (unconscious or no) to the way of Zen.
Some critics prefer an Emerson of rational inquiry but distrust the Emerson given to spontaneous “Ah-ha!” moments. He himself laments the loss of wholeness when the rational mind dissects.
by Donald Eulert
On a withered branch
a crow has settled —
At night the frogs were loud,
but the eagle was silent
in his cliff . . .
Both these examples are superb expressions of the direct but subtle Zen spirit which infuses and finds expression in haiku. The first “haiku moment’’ is from the ancient Japanese master of Zen and haiku, Bashō. The second (which I have put into haiku form) is an experience recorded without further explanation in the journal of Ralph Waldo Emerson.1
Almost everyone has experienced moments of “awe” in the presence of natural things. But there is a great deal more than coincidental flashes of poetic insight involved in the deeper correspondences between hundreds of Emerson lines and the haiku. Not that Emerson had Zen sources for his ideas or attitudes. In fact, as Robert Detweiler has pointed out in the most suggestive paper to date on Emerson and Zen,2 no work of the Zen masters was translated into English in Emerson’s time, nor into European languages. What Emerson did know of Buddhism was mostly in the form of Brahmanism and generally had too much fatalism and despair to be very palatable for him.3 He might have found Zen more compatible; as a later development of Buddhism, Zen has more compassion, more belief in human possibilities, and more joy than the older systems.
However, the question is not whether Emerson would have been converted to Zen had he known it.4 What we have is Emerson’s finished work — sometimes contradictory, with its own evolutionary and sometimes ungainly structure. What we require is a clear light in which to see how and where the inconstancies exist: viewing Emerson against the traditions of haiku and Zen can give a new illumination for that study. The apparent contradictions have long been a kind of embarrassment to Emerson supporters and would-be admirers.Jonathan Bishop, dealing with Emerson’s term “Soul,” recognizes at the beginning of Emerson on the Soul that terms like Reason, Understanding, and Instinct are often opposing and inconsistent, and result in a “persistent ambiguous inclusiveness.”5 One dichotomy which he tries to synthesize will be highly relevant to our discussion: Emerson’s statement of the common, direct relationship of the Soul to nature seems true, and the moment is a release of natural joy — but often Emerson the meditative speaker, “the I, is innocently absurd at best.”6
Paul Elmer More7 and Irving Babbitt8 both indicate ambivalence in their reactions to Emerson’s spontaneity. Babbitt is especially hesitant, approving an Emerson of rational inquiry but distrusting another Emerson given to spontaneous sentiment. Stephen E. Whicher, describing Emerson’s attraction to both intuitive Buddhism and the balanced mind of Plato, implies that Emerson’s use of both meant a synthesis of them, since they represent “the necessary duality of human life.”9
I have no sense of need to synthesize two Emersons, if two exist.Mindful of F. O. Matthiessen’s warning that describing the reasons for the cleavage between Emerson’s two lives “of the understanding and of the soul” would require a book, I submit only that comparison of his intuitive-Transcendental ideas against the intuitive-mystic system of Zen can help define Emerson’s inconsistencies and even suggest their evolving structure.
The way of Zen is anti-intellectual, intuitive in a resolution of dualism through a belief in and expression of the universal One-ness of all creation. Zen is not so much a belief as it is a way of life, and thereby Zenists express it directly in all their activities, most notably in their art-forms. Of the Japanese art forms inextricably bound up with the way of Zen, the one most directly expressive of the attitude is haiku.
In a cause-effect oversimplification, what we have is haiku as a result of a Zen experience, a Zen insight. To the extent to which we discover the expression of Zen “haiku moments” in Emerson, we can make a comparative determination of Emerson’s commitment (unconscious or no) to the way of Zen. This comparison should prove illuminating to the study of Emerson, since such key Emerson words as “unity,” “intuition,” and “oneness” are the terms of comparison.
Haiku is often defined as an ancient Japanese verse form having a 5-7-5 arrangement of its 17 syllables. However, this discipline in Japanese language doesn’t translate in the way we count syllables in English. The three-line arrangement can provide the tension of an internal comparison in two lines, then a turn to . . . a kind of resolution that leads on. Emerson’s expressions may not fit to haiku form, but they capture the haiku experience. One might say a “haiku moment” is a momentary glimpse into the Oneness of things, as discovered in an experience or fact of nature. Things come together so that their being/meaning is realized, and the intuitive realization comes as an indivisible whole. The essence of this “haiku moment” is expressed in as few strokes as possible, unembellished by analytic intellect, or by subjective coloring.
On a withered branch
a crow has settled
Harold Henderson10 uses this Bashō haiku to demonstrate two things about the haiku experience. First of all, how two parts of nature occur, or are experience brought together, as phenomena in their own right, but at the same time indicating a larger likeness — in this case the night, the universe, and the dark bit of life against the larger blackness. Secondly, the poem is plainly direct, telling us in concrete words how things are in nature, but giving a sudden, striking “haiku moment” that is a starting place for thought and emotion. It would be a mistake to go on the say, “How things are in the world, and what they mean.” Whether in terms of Zen or Emerson’s Transcendentalism, we would be perverting the ideal of Oneness. The key point of the haiku in our ensuing discussion will be that there is no separation of things into “being” and “meaning.” To do so would separate things from meaning, and intuition from intellect.
A direct reflection of how things are in the world is profoundly religious. It unifies the many into the One (Emerson’s “perfect whole,” in “Each and All”). Such a view finds its explicit corollary in Blyth. “. . . where there is religion there is poetry, where there is poetry there is religion; not two things in close association, but one thing with two names.11 Haiku is the direct expression of moments of Zen illumination (satori) for which there are really no words, but which we know only as a kind of realizing of reality (“how things are in nature”) which some Christian theologians have praised as being “the highest form of natural mysticism.”12
To find haiku in Emerson, we will be looking for records of such experienced moments in which he was totally engaged with the unity in “being.” He describes the intuitive basis for his philosophy in the well-known lines from “Self-Reliance.”
For the sense of being which in calm hours rises, we know not how, in the soul, is not diverse from things, from space, from light, from time, from man, but one with them and proceeds obviously from the same source whence their life and being also proceed.13
We can glean from Emerson’s Journals the most unworked expressions of this “being.” To compare traditional haiku, we look for similarities in Zen attitudes:
- Expression of the beautiful in things themselves not beautiful (nothing in Nature is impure);
- Simplicity (no didacticism or moralizing);
- Zest for life, wonder in the ordinary;
- The knowledge that nothing is alone or unimportant;
- Wide sympathy and compassion;
- Avoidance of the violent for the small moment of insight;
- Expression of “nonattachment” (acceptance the particular opposite of competitive “getting” for oneself);
- Everything taken religiously (what is, and the humble life-process of doing, contains all meaning).
All these avail the intuitive moment previously discussed. Whether defined as the “haiku moment” or “moment of Ah-ness,’’ or satori or transcendence, it is the intuitive glimpse into the Oneness of all things. But the partitions provide some recognizable attitudes so that one can distinguish Zen experience from random effusion about nature.
Particular attitudes are embodied in Emerson’s writings. For that, he fished in the larger pond of Zen intuition, in classic expression by Bashō:
The old pond.
A frog jumps-in
This translation is Blyth’s. His explanation of the haiku is worth noting because it is such a pointed transition to our search for haiku in Emerson.
It is just the old pond and the frog and the “plop” and no more and no less. “No more” means there is no symbolism, no mysticism, no diving into infinity, no listening to the voice of Universal Nature. “No less” means that the mind is spread out in a smooth glassy surface; the mind is green . . . with goggle eyes and webbed feet. It is “Plop!” The real pond, the real frog, the real jumping were seen, were heard, were seen/heard, when Bashō’s eyes were flicked open by the “plop” of the water. This is the state of being undivided from a thing, from all things, a state in which we are as Divine as God himself . . .
He goes on to give a second level of meaning.
At the moment of the “plop” the sound and the silence, the movement and the stillness, were perceived unseparated, uncontrasted, unantagonised as they were before the Spirit of God blooded over the Chaos. And if you have seen one piece of reality, you have seen it all, for the parts are not less than the whole.”14
The “Zen Emerson” believes that the moment of experience contains everything, annihilates time and space, and solves the problem of immortality because the perceived object expands to cosmic dimensions — very much as Bashō was the frog-experience with the moment containing all the ages.
This kind of intuitive Emerson satisfied himself best in self-reliance and transcendence before his strong intellect posed dualistic paradoxes that led him into tortuous paths. The serene Emerson knows that “The relations of the soul to the divine spirit are so pure that it is profane to seek to interpose helps” (“Self-Reliance,” II, 65). He wrote, “The moment is all . . . I sit on a stone and look at the pond and feel that having basked in a nature so vast and splendid I can afford to decease . . .” (Journals, VI, 44). His experience from immediate moments was a knowledge that there was no difference between divine and human, but a totality. The following lines give a direct expression of such a Oneness.
As sings the pine tree in the wind,
So sings in the wind a sprig of the pine.15 (Journals, VI, 203)
He writes of simplicity and singleness of insight:
The little boy who walks with me to the woods: has no design in his questions, the question which is asked in his mind he articulates to me — over him, over me, — we exist in an element of awe and singleness. In Nature there is no emphasis. (Journals, VI, 35)
Issa’s haiku expresses very much the same apprehension of awe without design:
What a red moon !
and whose is it,
Emerson’s Journals, (perhaps because they are the more spontaneous records) are very rich in “haiku moments.” The two above and several of the following, for example, can all be gleaned from a single volume, covering the years 1841 – 1844. Compare the following:
And yet all truth Life?
is ever the new morn
risen on noon.
(Journals, VI, 14)
on a swaying grass, that’s all —
They both express a deep sense of the way Nature is, in sufficiency. So does Emerson’s following statement, which matches precisely the Zen belief in the “thingness of things.”
. . . the turnip grows in the same soil with the strawberry; knows all the nourishment that it gets, and feeds on the very same itself; yet is a turnip still.18
The following Shiki haiku is matched by an Emerson insight.
The autumn wind :
for me there are no gods;
there are no Buddhas.
. . . I love the peeping of a Hyla in pond in April . . . better than all . . . the turtles of whole Palestina (Journals, VI, 195).
A poem from Hakurakuten goes:
As I wandered round the lake and gazed at the fishes gliding to and fro,
I came across some boys fishing in boat.
Both they and I loved the fish — but our state of mind was different:
I had come to feed the fish, they to catch them.20
The boys wanted something, as opposed to the attitude of “non-attachment.”21 Emerson’s attitude of non-attachment is worth a full examination on its own, since his attitude that “nothing can give you peace but yourself” (like Wordsworth’s conviction that those concerned with “getting” lay waste to their powers) is very much the way of Zen. Emerson images the larger attitude, writing of a farmer much concerned about making a crop:
You do not break off your flowers.
You plough your crops in. (Journals, VI, 68)
Emerson makes a “haiku” statement indicating that humble life-processes contain all meaning:
The prayer of the farmer kneeling in his field to weed it, the prayer of the rower kneeling with the stroke of his oar . . . (“Self-Reliance”, II, 77-78)
The scene and its metaphor are reminiscent of Raizon’s famous haiku:
Women planting rice —
Ugly every bit about them
But their ancient song.
Since nothing’s evil or bad, there is beauty in things of themselves not beautiful, as seen by Emerson and by Rōko.
Even the corpse
has its own beauty.
(“Nature,” I, 16)
After last night’s snowfall,
the sky is clear —
how the corpse glistens!
Any number of Emerson and Japanese haiku could be compared to illustrate the sense of simplicity, concreteness, and acceptance of the “religion” of everyday life — the large truths in simple being.
Water is good to drink,
coal to burn,
wool to wear . . .
(“Nature”, 1.i 38)
Cherry blossoms, more
and more now I Birds have two legs!
Oh, horses have four!
These roses under my window make no reference to former roses or to better ones . . . There is simply the rose . . . (“Self-Reliance”, II, 67)
Without unnecessary parsing, the reader can relate the following haiku to the attitudes mentioned earlier. Hundreds of others examples of religiously poetical Zen-haiku moments can be found in Emerson’s works.
Every day, the sun;
and, after sunset,
Night and her stars.
(“The American Scholar,” I, 84)
Deeper grows the night!
Over the paddy-fields
The milky way.
Blue Heron, loon, and sheldrake come to Fairhaven Pond; raccoon and otter to Walden. (Journals, VI, 66)
. . . dew gives to the morning
meadow, the fireflies
give to the evening meadow
(Journals, VI, 211)
Slipping off a blade of grass,
flies up again.
. . . certain stars open
before us, and certain stars
close up behind us.
(Journals, VI, 93)
They blossom, and then
we gaze, and then the blooms
scatter, and then . . .
All insects are out, all birds come forth,-the very cattle that lie on the ground seem to have great thoughts, and Egypt and India took from their eyes. (Journals, VI, 114)
. . . the blue east . . . and the stars of the dead calices of flowers, and every withered stem . . . mute music. (“Nature,” I, 18)
. . . when today is great
I fling all the world’s future
into the sea.
(Journals VI, 216)
worth to me
a thousand pieces.
. . . I appear to myself
to dig parsnips
with a dung fork . . .
(Journals, VI, 191)
My hut in spring!
True, there is nothing in it —
there is Everything!
They nod to me, and I
to them. The waving of the boughs
in the storm . . .
(“Nature,” I, 10)
In terms of our earlier cause-effect proposition (that true haiku are necessarily the result of Zen experiences) we can discover an Emerson who not only participates in the way of Zen, but is imbued with it. And when we more formally take the philosophical tenets of Zen and compare them with Emerson (particularly in the earlier years), a thorough parallel is revealed. Robert Detweiler’s “Emerson and Zen” makes this sort of philosophical comparison and finds that as to belief in God-as-mind, in universal acceptance, in the experience of intuitionally knowing the miracle of being, in reverence for life, in love of nature, in his drive for unity and passion for totality, “. . . Zen indicates a way that Emerson might naturally have taken . . .”31
We can add other correspondences. For Zen, one thing is as good as another in this world; for Emerson, nothing is good or bad. In Zen and in Emerson infinity can be found in a grain of sand. Zen is a methodical destruction of Self-full thinking and acting to Unself-conscious realization, and Emerson’s greatest transcendence is a mindless sally of the over-soul into the infinite. Zen implies that the usual Western way of discovering truth is futile, tied as it is to separating mind from object. And as Emerson writes, “Intellect always puts an interval between the subject and the object’’ (Journals, VI, 242). Both Emerson and Zen are unconcerned with after-life and concerned with total all-in-one, infinite, present: Emerson says, “. . . there is no other world; here or nowhere is the whole fact . . .” and he goes on to decry those who invent “this old double, Creator-creature, mind-matter, right-wrong” (Journals, V1, 219).
Emerson sometimes experienced the Oneness of Zen and he records the distillation in haiku moments. But the dualistic Emerson also did something else, and something more. Compare this haiku, which gives the concrete things as they are
Across the water —
such a deep sound of water —
in the darkness.32
with Emerson’s “a pound of water in the ocean tempest or in the land-flood has no more momentum than in a midsummer pond” (Journals, VI, 11). His error in physics aside, the difference reveals how Emerson, though he originally must have been intuitively moved into the actual presence of the “thing ness” of water, has the habit of mind which immediately begins to weight, interpret, intellectualize; to get away from the things to concepts. Or to analogies, or to moralizing: “The unstable estimates of men crowd to him whose mind is filled with a truth, as the heaped waves of the Atlantic follow the moon” (“The American Scholar,” 105-106).
Furthermore, the fact that Emerson’s intellect is separate from the intuitive moment is hinted in lines like, “But if a man would be alone, let him look at the stars. The rays that come from those heavenly worlds will separate between him and what he touches (“Nature,” I, 7), and becomes explicit in statements like, “There is still another aspect under which the beauty of the world may be viewed, namely as it becomes an object of the intellect” (“Nature,” I, 22). The latter statement describes what Emerson believes is a high order of Nature’s uses. He goes on to say that it is the intellect which searches out the absolute order of things as they stand in the mind of God. Such a position seems far from the “mindlessness” of a transparent eyeball.33
Finally, although he realizes in transcendent experiences that moments and things are all of one spirit (and he calls for a reunion of man with things, saying all is made of one hidden stuff), still he does not seem to make the final resolution of Zen that the divine (Buddha or God) is not just in the thing perceived, it is the thing. Nature for Emerson often is only a divine analogy or cipher: “Every natural fact is a symbol of some spiritual fact: Every appearance in nature corresponds to some state of the mind (“Nature,” I, 26). (The italics are mine.) It is because of this point that Henry B. Parkes, like other critics, declares that Emerson did not experience true mystic enlightenment.34
These three areas of differences (his conceptualizing, his intellect distance, and his sense of things as symbols) are inconsistent with the Emerson who wrote haiku — inconsistent enough that they seem to show at the least a dichotomy, at the most a contradiction. Consider that the living way of Zen is supreme matter-of-fact engrossment in what one is doing, so that the way of truth is in the everyday mind, and the religious life is to eat when hungry and sleep when tired. Emerson seems to embrace this view, as in the quoted “There is no other world; here or nowhere is the whole fact,” or when he says, “A Fact is the end or last issue of the spirit” (“Nature,” I, 34). But then he contradicts himself, “The foundations of man are not in matter, but in spirit” (“Nature,” I, 70). His dualism, the differentiation, is almost too much to assimilate. The answer must be that at the same time his instincts prefer the direct intuitive and transcendent “sense of being which arises” from the each-and-all in things, Emerson is addicted to the separate mind as a tool of self-reliance, and to intellectualization as an irrepressible habit of mind. The light which this paper might lend to the study of his work would derive, then, from this thesis: that Emerson’s work can be described as structured between these divergent attitudes, each standing in tension against the other. His differences with Zen reveal an active intellect opposing an intuitive being; one Emerson felt the primacy and immediacy of perfect Oneness, another contradicted it with his ideas of correspondence.
Emerson’s vacillation might be accounted to the difficulty of making any moment of “satori” lead to a satisfactorily permanent illumination. Transcendence is transient. To attain a matter-of-fact knowledge of reality, Zen students must go through arduous trials even though they have available models and traditions to lead them to permanent serenity. In contrast, Emerson had to make his own way. He groped in an unknown land, experienced transient moments of satori, and — unable to hold them for long — fell back on intellect. Detweiler says:
. . . Emerson cannot participate spiritually in the identity of God and all because he has neither the whole constitution nor the method of the mystic that would enable him to do so. He cannot really move beyond the dichotomy of subject and object (beyond “conceptualizing,” Suzuki would say), although he can talk about it and “metaphorize” on it, and thus he never experiences the merging of his personality with that of deity.35
In actuality Emerson frequently communicates his experiences of being part of the Eternal One. Detweiler may be more to the point when he goes on to talk about Emerson’s cultural conditioning that led him gradually (because of reaction to Puritanism, idealism, and normal human biases) to look more and more for salvation in the super-rational.36
The structure of Emerson’s thinking and work, then, falls between these poles of the intuitive and the super-rational. It is not surprising that in the latter mode Emerson himself has given us a thorough description of the “tension” which existed in his own mind. He talks of actions, and of how they are acted upon by the intellect, and then goes on, “A strange process too, this by which experience is converted into thought, as a mulberry leaf is converted into satin. The manufacture goes forward at all hours” (“The American Scholar” 1, 96). Extensive quotation from Emerson’s Journal can show us graphically (and somewhat poignantly) the process of this dichotomy.
I am most of the time a very young child who does not pretend to oversee Nature and dictate its law I play with it, like other infants, as my toy. I see sun and moon and river without asking their causes. I am pleased by the mysterious music of falling water or the rippling and washing against the shores, without knowing why. (Journals, I, 253)
But this purely intuitive reaction will not stand still, as we see how it turns to intellect:
I wake in the morning, and go to my window, and see the day break, and receive from the spectacle a new secret of Nature that goes to compromise all my past manner of living, and invite me to a new . . . Yet is not that figure final or adequate; it is a prison rather of the thought, of the emotion, if I am contented with it. The thought scorns it, mocks at it as some wretched caricature; the thought has already transcended it, is already something else . . .
Emerson seems to feel he has lost something in the transition. He concludes the description, “The oak leaf is perfect, a kind of absolute realized, but every work of art (might we substitute “every work of the intellect?”) is only relatively good. . . .” (Journals, VI, 324-325).
Earlier we noted that in Zen the poetry and the religion were the same thing, so that the following contrast integrates our discussion of both the matter and the method, and reveals Emerson yearning for totality, but being too involved with the intellect to find it:
The poet should walk in the fields, drawn on by new scenes, supplied with vivid pictures and thoughts, until insensibly the recollection of his home was crowded out of his mind, and all memory obliterated, and he was led in triumph by Nature. When he spoke of the stars he should be innocent of what he said; for it seemed that the stars, as they rolled over him, mirrored themselves in his mind as in a deep well, and it was their image and not his thought that you saw. (Journals, VI, 453}
Now, alas, we know something too much about our poetry, — we are not part and parcel of it: it does not descend like a foreign conqueror from an unexpected quarter of the horizon upon us, carry us away with our flocks and herds into a strange and appalling captivity . . . (Journals, VI, 75)
Emerson says “alas,” but we would be poorer without the captivity of his thoughtful and prescient essays, whether or not imposed on raw experience.
At the beginning, I mentioned Emerson’s work as sometimes contradictory, but having its own evolution. We desired not just a comparison, but a way of illuminating Emerson as both an intuitive (in Zen) and an analyzing intellectual.
If his work seems ungainly, no surprise then — building with two ridgepoles. But it’s a roomy house, with windows in all directions.
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, Journals of Ralph Waldo Emerson (New York: Houghton Mifflin, 1911), VI, 264. ↩
- Robert Detweiler, “Emerson and Zen,” American Quarterly XIV (Fall 1962), pp. 422-438. ↩
- His general distaste seems indicated by the description (in Journals, VI, 318) of a friend who was grounded in the Buddhist faith: “In one, this remorseless Buddhism lies all around threatening with death and night. We make a little fire in our cabin, but we dare not go abroad one furlong into the murderous cold. Every thought, every enterprise, every sentiment has its ruin in this horrid Infinite which circles us and awaits our dropping into it. If killing all Buddhists would do the least good, we would have a slaughter of the Innocents directly.”
On the other hand, Stephen Whicher points out in Freedom and Fate (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1953), p.151, that Emerson’s reading in Buddhism began to influence him in his later years. But that was the Indian system — full of fate, a dread reality of untameable and immense abysmal Force that Emerson sometimes gave himself to for the “relief of utter submission.” Whicher says that this experience allowed Emerson in momentary lapses to be “indifferent to all human values,” to rise above himself in merging with the One “identity of all things and yet identical with nothing.” At other times Emerson praised Plato and thus synthesized the One and the Many. Frederick Ives Carpenter has also given indications in Emerson and Asia (Cambridge: Harvard Press, 1930), pp. 232 and 244, and in Emerson Handbook (New York: Hendricks House, 1953), pp. 250-251, that Emerson was responding to the thought of India rather than the Zen practiced in Japan and China during his time. ↩
- See Van Meter Ames, Zen and American Thought (Honolulu: University of Hawaii, 1962), pp. 65-78. The idea of Emerson as the West’s first Zen master has its interesting possibilities, albeit a sterile speculation. Ames says Emerson was an American Bodhisattva because he wanted and preached having life for itself, a presence and satisfaction rather than always a referred existence. On the surface, this seems a light proof. My own direction of speculation would be to wonder what Emerson would have come to, given his natural bent toward an instinctive Zen, if he had had knowledge of some of its systems and disciplines to steady his vacillations, or to give him some substantial support for his insights besides falling back on verbalized intellectualizations. As Ames points out (p. 11) in an Emerson echo, “When a man is thinking, he stands off from what he is trying to understand.” ↩
- (Cambridge: Harvard Press, 1964), p. 21. ↩
- Ibid., p. 15. Bishop knits some inconsistencies by showing how a whole Emerson can be revealed through his works in “imaginative action,” (p. 12) which is at first a physical response to a natural environment and then the self-demonstration of a speaker. He also tabulates separate faculties to make up Emerson’s “whole Soul.” ↩
- “Influences of Emerson,” in Shelburne Essays (Boston and New York: Harcourt, Brace and World, 1963). ↩
- Masters of Modern French Criticism (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1912). ↩
- Freedom and Fate (Philadelphia: University of Pennsylvania Press, 1953), p. 151. ↩
- An Introduction to Haiku (New York: Doubleday, 1958), p. 18. ↩
- R. H. Blyth, Zen in English Literature and Oriental Classics (New York: E. P. Dutton, 1960), p. ix. ↩
- Henderson, p. 21. ↩
- Ralph Waldo Emerson, “Self-Reliance” in Works (Boston and New York: Houghton Mifflin and Co., 1903-1904), Vol. II, p. 64. Page numbers subsequently noted in the text refer to this edition. ↩
- Blyth, pp. 222-223. ↩
- Compare Boncho’s haiku from Haikai and Haiku (Tokyo: Nippon Gakujustu Shinkokai, 1958), p. 29.
That way drift the upper clouds,
this way the lower,
across Autumn heavens. ↩
- Henderson, p.136. ↩
- Japanese Haiku (Mt. Vernon, N. Y.: Peter Pauper, 1955), p. 13. ↩
- Compare Nicolas Virgilio’s haiku from American Haiku 2 (1963), p. 11.
out of the water . . .
out of itself. ↩
- Henderson, p. 164. ↩
- Blyth, p. 301-302. ↩
- One expression of “non-attachment” is by Joso in Haikai and Haiku, p. 24.
Grasping at nothing,
the frog by itself
floats on the water.
An attendant realization is quoted by Henderson (p. 150), from Issa:
A one-foot waterfall —
It too makes noises,
and at night is cool. ↩
- Japanese Haiku, p. 2. ↩
- Haikai and Haiku, p. 37. ↩
- Henderson, p. 73. ↩
- Haikai and Haiku, p. 32. ↩
- Ibid., pp. 7-8. ↩
- Henderson, p. 78. ↩
- Cherry Blossoms (Mt. Vernon, N. Y. Peter Pauper, 1960 p. 18. ↩
- Cherry Blossoms (Mt. Vernon, N. Y. Peter Pauper, 1960 p. 18. ↩
- Henderson, p. 86. ↩
- Detweiler, p. 436. ↩
- Don Eulert, American Haiku 2 (1964), p. 29. ↩
- Another comparison might serve to point up the difference between Emerson in experience and in practice. The expression of his direct experiences is very much the same as that of the Chinese Monk Seng-chao, quoted in Suzuki, Zen Buddhism and its Influence on Japanese Culture (Kyoto: Eastern Buddhist Society, 1938), p. 225. “Heaven and Earth, with me, are of the same root.” But the practice of Emerson’s mind divided the sense of God into levels of unconscious Nature, the conscious self, and the unrealized ideal. ↩
- Henry B. Parkes, “Emerson,” in Emerson, A Collection of Critical Essays, ed. Milton Konvitz and Stephen Whicher (Englewood Cliffs, N. J. : Prentice-Hall, 1962). ↩
- Detweiler, p. 427. ↩
- Ibid., p. 436. Even Van Meter Ames’s attempt to make Emerson an American Bodhisattva recognized the need to account for his divergences. In moments of exaltation, says Ames, (Zen and American Thought, pp. 75-76), Emerson achieved the highest experience of man in Nature. If he sometimes did otherwise in applying himself to science and reason, it need not be “interpreted as a philosophical inconsistency or indecision between relativism and absolutism. It is just the difference between effort and rest. It is physiological rather than metaphysical.” ↩