|Pic by Ordinary Malaysian|
Okay, okay, I know. It's Not A Frog. But We Are Talking Zen
Zen is a funny thing. It is not a religion or cult. It is not Buddhism or Taoism. It has been said to be an admixture of the two. What modern chic would call a fusion. Come to think of it, fusion is an ugly word.
The more scientific would call Zen a hybrid of Buddhism and taoism.
Never mind. Zen is a funny thing. It does not teach you anything. It hits you on the head with a stick and hard when you least expect - to awaken you.
Basho also hit his disciples hard on the head but not with a stick. He hit them hard with his poems or what are known as haiku.
A haiku is not your typical English poem. There is no rhyme or anything resembling an English poem.
Basho had a famous frog haiku.
In Japanese, it went like this:
furu ike ya kawazu tobi komu mizu no oto
There are many translations of the haiku. Below are some examples.
an ancient pond
a frog jumps in
the splash of water
an old pond
a frog jumps into
the sound of water
My personal choice is the one by Osho , mentioned in one of his discourses.
It went something like this:
What kind of a poem is that! I don't know. It's more like a koan. But a koan is more intellectual. It is not supposed to be, but a koan still makes you want to think. A haiku, on the other hand, is existential.
Okay, back to the haiku.
Why mention the pond? An ancient pond, an old pond, the pond!
Why mention a pond and that too, a specific one? Maybe frog does not want a pond, and that too a specific pond?! Maybe frog wants to jump into well or plop into a monsoon drain.
So, wouldn't it be better to just say:
There! Better, more existential. Don't you think? But even here too, a frog is too much of a distraction. Maybe you and I also want to jump.
So, wouldn't it have been better like this:
See, no pond, no frog. Just PLOP! The sound of enlightenment.