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I came to haiku via Buddhism and Japan. I came to Buddhism by rushing to the Himalayas, looking for I know not what and finding Vajrayana in filthy Tibetan Buddhist Monasteries. I drank out of skulls and meditated on thigh bones, all to no avail. Later to Japan... still in search. Zen monasteries full of hollow-chested schizoid gaijin and no sign of wabi/sabi in the stuffed subways of that country.

Back in Canada, trying to sort out what had been gained, I wrote several books about "things Japanese" and one book wrote me... Haiku - one breath poetry. In this book, the Buddhist training in Vipassana and the whiffs of aesthetic I received in Japan combined to at last grant me a few insights. It didn't surprise me that the book became a Canadian Children's Book Centre Choice and an American Library Association Selection.

The books, that I wrote and that my partner, Eli laid-out, allowed us to move to Gabriola where, at last I realised that householder chores were the perfect basis for insight practice and the simple life necessitated by a large mortgage late in life allowed me to understand, at last, wabi, sabi and other such Japanese subtleties.

why go
to Tokyo when the dream
happened here?

Watching the seasons more closely, by necessity again, I learned of the coming into being and the passing away of all things and in moments of weeding concentration and mending concentration and cleaning concentration, a few haiku jumped through the gaps... enough to produce hubris, but only the rare "hair-standing on end" one. Still the flow of mini-satori moments had begun and I lost all desire for the Himalayas, for Japan and even for the ferry trip to Nanaimo.

I met up with other haijin and read their miraculous moments too and with the small world of haiku writing, essay writing and playing with fabric, I almost have recovered that promising young child who created her own world because the one around her was so inconsistent.

from washbasin
to washbasin...
all is nonsense
Issa
In Heaven
and on Earth
Laughter and Tears
Laughter and Tears
Torei
the little monk
jumps into the void
smiling
NBW
after the garden party... the garden
Ruth Yarrow

 
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WRITING NAOMI WAKAN DRUMBEG HOUSE ARTWORK