The Community Toolkit for Uncertain Times

The Triratna Haiku Challenge

On Tue, 14 April, 2020 - 11:24
padmacandra's picture

What is it?
An invitation to pause, open to all the senses, and notice… write the noticing down in three short lines as a “haiku”. Write a few in turn, see what occurs to you. Then if you wish, send your favourite/s to me (details on how to submit them below) so I can post them on the triratnaarts* Instagram or facebook page where the challenge began. (Perhaps at the end we can post a selection of favourites here on The Buddhist Centre Online).

One suggestion is to do this on your daily walk, or perhaps when taking a break from any work you are doing. Or - just stop and notice anywhere and anytime!

*not the same as the triratnaarts charity​

Why is it?
Particularly in these moments of uncertainty, noticing beauty (through ordinariness, impermanence, or some little thing you didn’t notice before you looked) can be really helpful. I personally have found that it has plugged me in very immediately to a more open, more playful way of being.

What is a Haiku?
It’s three lines, usually with a kind of shift somewhere in the middle.

Such as:
In the moonlight
The colour and scent of wisteria 
Seems far away

- Yusa Buson

Everything I touch
with tenderness, alas,
pricks like a bramble

- Kobayashi Issa

After killing
a spider, how lonely I feel
in the cold of night!

- Masaoka Shiki

It does not have to be “poetic” or deliberately beautiful in any way. Ordinariness and authenticity of observation in the moment are qualities traditionally valued in haiku (Basho for example wrote a haiku about bird poo).

Traditionally it has 17 syllables, but I agree with those scholars who argue for the spirit rather than the letter here: 17 syllables in Japanese is very different to 17 syllables in English. So: just a short poem in three lines is fine.

How is it?
Take a photo of your handwritten haiku and send it, or type it directly into your phone and send it that way, (with a photo of where you wrote it, if you wish). 

If your first language is not English, please send it in both languages if possible (I received some lovely ones from a mitra Adolpho in Mexico yesterday, and it is an added richness to read the Spanish version alongside the English).

If you are on Instagram post it yourself and mention @triratnaarts in your post, or send it to @triratnaarts directly via Instagram messages. 

Find Triratna Arts on Instagram

Visit Triratna Arts on Facebook

If you are on facebook contact me Padmacandra Meek on messenger (I don’t visit facebook much but messenger is ok. I post to the page from a separate app so won’t pick up if you comment there). Or email me padmacandra [at] (here)

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