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Welcome to
Words for the Path
of the
Compassionate Lotus


Welcome Enter Here

Welcome Enter Here

By Rev. Tasogare Shinju
Words for the Path
Resident Priest and Poet
Temple of the Thousand Swallows
Cyber Temple Home
Bellingham, WA USA
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Master Tasogare Shinju
Master Tasogare Shinju


As to theory I really don't have or follow one. I just write or I don't write. For instance for the last two weeks I wrote nothing. Just took a break and put it down. Before that I wrote something near 300 haiku in a month. Most of the time the idea goes straight from my mind to paper in long hand. A lot of inspiration comes from reading sutras and texts. At other times they seem to come from no place in particular, literally leaping into my mind from parts unknown. Not thinking is better for writing anyway. I had to laugh when you mentioned "how many times, generally do you rewrite them before they are finished." I don't rewrite them at all unless you count correcting my spelling. What comes out comes out. So they are finished as soon as they are begun or perhaps even before. I hate to think what they would become if I tried to redo them.

The odd thing to me is that I cannot write anything else. This is just the way my mind works. If I get into writing longer things I tend to get tied up in the words instead of the original thought. Too much thought ruins writing just as much as it can life in general. Let me share an excerpt with you from Seung Sahn's book "Dropping Ashes on the Buddha:"

'When you understand yourself, it is very easy to paint or write poems or do calligraphy or tea ceremony or karate. You paint effortlessly; you write effortlessly. Why? When you are painting or writing or doing any action, you become totally absorbed in that action. This is freedom.'

'If you are thinking, your mind wanders from your action, and the flow of your painting or writing will be blocked, your tea ceremony will be stiff or clumsy. If you are not thinking, you are one with your action. You are the tea you are drinking. You are the brush that you're painting with. Not-thinking is before thinking. You are the whole universe; the universe is you. This is Zen mind, absolute mind. It is beyond space and time, beyond the dualities of self an other, good and bad, life and death. The truth is just this. So when a Zen person is painting the whole universe is present in the tip of his brush.'

I have always considered my haiku writing as an extension of meditation whether walking or sitting. I suppose you could also call it an extension of visualization practice too. What I see within mind comes out onto paper.

For instance:

Sky is below,
Earth is above,
Both correct and both wrong.
Rotten apples.

Where did that come from? Where is it going? What does it mean? Doesn't matter. Yet if you look at it quickly you might see something. Look at it too long and it will really make no sense as you try to put some deep or hidden meaning into it.

I have no set style either. The poems change as often as the wind. some are funny, some serious, and other someplace else. Sometimes I get letters back telling me I am getting too sad or too grim. It's all life, good or bad, funny or serious. It's not for me to hide from life. It all comes, it all goes. I would rather be a Dharma turtle, sticking my head out to snap, then pulling it in and away from ego and grasping. A turtle might not roar like a lion but to be bitten by one would certainly wake you up.

Just write what you feel and see at the moment. As for me, I am just Toshiyori Risu, old man squirrel, gathering dharma nuts. Don't know if any of this helps you but by all means keep on writing.

Just as a side note. Last night between 1:30 and 2:30 am. I couldn't sleep as haiku kept popping up from nowhere. Strangely enough they also appeared in mainly traditional form.

No stars
Deep evening sigh
Moon watching.

Night air dead
No gentle Spring breeze
To escourt me.

O-bon lives here
Counting the souls
Far too many.

An old priest
Still breathing, just so.
Wind frogs, ah!

Sunset of mind
Beautiful horizon
Nothing matters.
So what I am
What is that then?
Autumnal blossoms.

How about that
Old bush warbler?
Dew on the leaves.

I slept well
When allowed time.
Go away white frogs.

My own presence
Spoils the mountain view.
I am not so noticed
As the rocks.

Gassho and metta,
Tasogare Shinju


Compassionate Lotus Mandala

Compassionate Lotus Mandala

It is the single character in Japanese that denotes both the Dharma and Law. So it stands for both the Sutra of the Lotus Flower of the Wonderful Law and also includes the Dharma (Law+Dharma). It is then surrounded with Enso the absolute, true reality, and enlightenment. So with all three together you get the Law and the Dharma total and absolute leading to enlightenment.



Virtual Temple Welcome to Risu - More from the pen of Tasogare Shinju - the old squirrel Welcome to Risu


"one person is all people,
all people are one person,
one practice is all practices,
all practices are one practice"
- Ryonin (1073 - 1132)


Mother Buddha from Master Dokyo Chozen to Master Tasogare Shinju


"Shut up the mouth
then shut up the mind
and just do something."
- Master Rev. Dokyo Chozen



Lotus Sutra Net


basho-ki | haiku


Namo Buddha Publications
Namo Buddha Publications


Rangjung Yeshe Publications
Rangjung Yeshe Publications


The ThreeFold Lotus Sutra
The Lotus Sutra On-Line


Hongaku Jodo of America
Hongaku Jodo


Amida Net - teachings of the Buddha
Amida Net


Tacoma WA - photo from summer travel by Master Shinju
Visit with Venerable Thich Nhat Hanh


Welcome to Compassionate Lotus Practice Book



The WeatherPixie


Mail Temple
Write Sensei at this Link | "Mail Bag"


Monks wading the stream
Laugh at their wet robes.
Too much formality
Is not educational.

-Tasogare Shinju


Enter Bury The Master