Sunday, February 22, 2009

Basho Buddhist Batman (and Barnhill)

Cherishing the memory of a follower of the poetic spirit, I resolved to see the moon over the mountains of Kashima Shrine this autumn. I was accompanied by two men, a masterless samurai and a monk. The monk was dressed in robes black as a crow, with a bundle of sacred stoles around his neck and an image of the Buddha descending the mountain placed reverently in a portable shrine on his back. Off he strutted, thumping his staff, alone in the universe, no barriers between him and the Gateless Gate. I, however, am neither a monk nor a man of the world. I could be called a bat-in between a bird and a mouse.

from SUGIWARASHOICHIROet al. 1959. Basho bunshi (Basho's prose). Nihon koten bungaku taikei 46. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten.

quoted in:
Basho as Bat: Wayfaring and Antistructure in the Journals of Matsuo Basho
David L. Barnhill
The Journal of Asian Studies, Vol. 49, No. 2. (May, 1990), pp. 274-290.

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