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.
to Tokyo when the dream
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.