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Wed Jul 5, 2017, 06:02 AM

Alan Watts and aware haiku.

That "aware" in the subject line is not our synonym for alert or conscious. It's a Japanese word and I think it's pronounced ah-WAR-eh, but I'm not sure as I've never heard it pronounced. I ran across the term in the book The Way of Zen by Alan Watts. It's in a chapter of the book where Watts is discussing art in Zen. On page 181 he describes aware as, "When the moment evokes a more intense, nostalgic sadness, connected with autumn and the vanishing away of the world." I just ran across this passage today. A little while back I wrote about nostalgic sadness here in this group and I was pleasantly surprised to see that it is a very old concept and that I'm not totally nuts. Maybe about half nuts, but not totally.

Aware haiku is a genre of haiku poetry that portrays this sense of nostalgic sadness. A few of examples that Watts uses are:

No one lives at the barrier of Fuha;
The wooden penthouse is fallen away;
All that remains
Is the autumn wind.


The evening haze;
Thinking of past things,
How far-off they are!


The stream hides itself
In the grasses
Of departing autumn.

I at first described myself as perpetuating this emotion in myself, although now I don't think that is quite accurate. It's more like I'm looking back on things and noticing how things have changed and how events in my life are just gone. I'm perpetuating the feeling in that I'm reflecting on the past a great deal now days. If I could stop doing that, my nostalgic sadness would come to an end as well.

I think I'm going to explore aware haiku a little more. It might help me get aware out of my system. I also might try my hand at writing some of my own.

BTW, The Way of Zen is a classic and I highly recommend it. It was written in 1957 and is the clearest explanation of Zen Buddhism and it's history that I've run across. The edition that I'm reading was printed in 1965. I ran across the book at a garage sale and I think I got it for 50 cents. Holding and reading a book that's 52 years old really adds to the experience of the book. I get a real kick out of thinking that Watts was still alive when the book was printed and the book is older than me.

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Reply Alan Watts and aware haiku. (Original post)
Tobin S. Jul 2017 OP
CaliforniaPeggy Jul 2017 #1
Tobin S. Jul 2017 #2

Response to Tobin S. (Original post)

Wed Jul 5, 2017, 12:41 PM

1. Those haiku are just lovely, my dear Tobin!

Thank you for posting them.

I'm enjoying reading about your inner travels. Thank you for revealing yourself--it's always interesting and involving. Your insights help me with my own.

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Response to CaliforniaPeggy (Reply #1)

Wed Jul 5, 2017, 01:28 PM

2. You're welcome, Peggy.

I'm glad you like reading about my adventures. I post them for myself as well as anyone else who might be able to relate. I've found that it's almost taboo to open up like that in our society, especially in person and outside of the therapist's office. It makes one feel very vulnerable. But what we are missing in America is what it feels like to be open and human like that. We have almost reduced ourselves to automatons in this country. Our finer sensibilities have been numbed and stupefied.

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