Monday, September 14, 2009

Longing by Basho

Paro Taktsang (spa gro stag tshang) is one of the most famous monasteries in Bhutan. Completed in 1692, the temple hangs on a cliff at 3,120 metres (10,200 feet), some 700 meters (2,300 feet) above the bottom of Paro valley, some 10 km from the district town of Paro. The name Taktsang (stag tshang) means "Tiger's lair" or "the Tiger's nest", the legend being that Padmasambhava (Guru Rinpoche) flew there on the back of a tiger. The monastery includes seven temples which can all be visited. The monastery suffered several blazes and is a recent restoration. Visitors ascend the slope to the monastery on foot or on mule-back.

"Down though the dark cypress forests, the call of a solitary cuckoo awakens the poet from a restless sleep. From his hut on the mountainside, the haiku master holds the entire valley in his view---and yet its essence somehow still escapes him. He lights the lamp, and fumbles for his brush:

Though I am in Kyoto
I long for Kyoto
Song of the nightbird.
~Matsuo Basho

With these words, Matsuo Basho, the wandering poet, records an indefinable sense of longing, for an ancient city perhaps, for an entire civilization, for an ideal. He grasps a beauty that is at once exquisite and unattainable. Basho captures a need we all share, for an enlightened place or a moment in time. He misses "Kyoto"---not the city, but the dream." ~From: "Wabi Sabi, The Art of Everyday Life" by Diane Durston


Kelly said...

That photo is breathtaking!! The kind of place I'd love to visit, but not sure my problem with heights would allow. I think it's gotten worse with age.

We've had lots of rain and are still getting some.

Marion said...

I know, Kelly. I'd love to visit that temple, too. I didn't know you were afraid of heights. The heights wouldn't bother me, but I doubt my bad back would survive the mule ride. LOL! Yes, we got 2 days of rain with more predicted today, but I like it. Blessings!

Phoenix said...

gorgeous photo, beautiful haiku. Isn't it so true that we fall in love with the ideals of a city rather than the city itself? We fall for what a city stands for and sometimes the distance between the two is heartbreaking.

As always, thanks for posting -- this blog is my daily treat :)

christopher said...

Bhutan is quite primitive. It is one of the out of the way corners of the world. I was in Bangladesh for two years. Kashmir, India, Nepal. Not Bhutan. If I had it to do today I would insist on a side trip to Bhutan, I think. But I seem to remember it is not that easy to get permission.

Right now Homeland Security has messed with me. My birth name is not my walk around name. Even though my SS Card and driver's license are in my walk around name, I can't get a passport, or even get a new driver's license without legally changing my name to my walk around name. This was never an issue before 9/11. I was raised by my step-dad and at age eight I chose to take his name, but never legally had to change it from my birth name. I even got a passport in my twenties without changing my name. My name was just an alias in those days, and so long as no "fraud" was intended, it didn't matter. That was part of the black print of the law. Bastards!

Marion said...

Thanks, Phoenix. Yes, I know what this haiku means to me---to be in a moment, yet knowing the moment won't last and longing for it before it's even gone by. It could be a place or a person or a moment in time. I'm glad you enjoyed your visit. Blessings!

Christopher, that is a total bummer about your passport. I hope you're able to get it resolved....I didn't know you were a world traveler! How wonderful to have visited so many different places. What blows my mind about The Tiger's Nest is imagining how difficult it must have been to build that magnificent monastery in such a perilous place, perched there on that mountain's side. Thanks for stopping by. Blessings!

Char said...

What an enchanting picture. Who wouldn't want to go there.

Marion said...

Exactly, Char! I can't recall how I came about finding the picture, but it still amazes me each time I look at it. Blessings!

Brosreview said...

That snap is staggering!

Wine and Words said...

This is so beautiful, like a dream. What a weekend it would be if we could spend the weekend there in silence and candle light (because how could there be electricity there!) We'll just look at each other and smile in the knowing that the time is special, and the people more so.

Rikkij said...

Marion-how could nine words say so much? and so many words could be substituted in there. Cool castle, also. Let's go! Shall we? Tomorrow. I'll pick you up at nine. Don't bring the tomatoes. ~rick (hey! I notice I gotta scroll farther and farther down to see that cute hippie chick. What gives?)

Marion said...

Thank for stopping by, A.J. It's awesome, isn't it? Blessings!

Annie, if we managed to make it up the side of that mountain on our mules, I say we stay a couple of months, how 'bout it? LOL! Blessings!

Rick, I got my clean doonies in my purse. Let's go! (That means undies, for the rest of the world but my family says doonies---don't ask.) No tomatoes, I promise....The hippie chick is slowly fading away...I agree those are some powerful 9 words. I think of them often. Blessings!!

Karen said...

The photo is breathtaking! I always bow to haiku.

Serena said...

What a breath-takingly spectacular place. I'd have to be sedated for fear of falling off the edge, but I'd love to see it up close and personal.

Doonies? LOL.:)

Marion said...

Karen, me too. I love haiku. It's a very under-appreciated form. Blessings!

SJ, you remember 'doonies' don't you? I know I told my Princess friends about them. ;-O Thanks for stopping by. Blessings!

Delwyn said...

Hi Marion

in front of me I have a book by Diane Durston called 'Old Kyoto'. I bought it in Kyoto last time I was there. She tell of all the old shops and businesses, artisans... that are worthy of visiting in the city.

I am presuming that 'wabi sabi' is by the same Diane Durston...

Happy days

Serena said...

I do remember 'doonies.' Still makes me chuckle every time I hear it.:)

Marion said...

Delwyn, how wonderful to have visited Kyoto! I'll have to look up the book. I'm sure it's the same author. Blessings!

SJ, glad I can make you chuckle. :-) Blessings!

Margaret Pangert said...

Hi Marion~
In the tiger's lair
Resides my great fear of heights.
There it lies for now.

Marion said...

Margaret, it does look precariously perched there on that cliff, doesn't it? Thanks for stopping by. Blessings!

Judith Ellis said...

This is an incredibly beautiful photo and what wonderful words. Thank you, Marion.

Renee said...

Marion it is just like life, living on the edge.

Love Renee xoxo

SarahA said...

I want to go live there. Do you think if I knock, they will let a crazy/mad woman in?

Marion said...

Judith, you're very welcome. Glad you enjoyed the post. Blessings!

Renee, YES, what a perfect metaphor for life!! I thought of a little poem I love when you said that:

Christopher LOGUE
English poet (1926- )

Come to the edge.
We might fall.
Come to the edge.
It’s too high!
And they came,
and he pushed,
and they flew.

Saraha, I think they'd let us both in. Ha! I'd love to live there in the clouds away from all 'modern' conveniences for a while. Thanks for stopping by. Blessings!!

Angela Recada said...

Such a beautiful post, Marion. The image of the monastery is one I've seen before. Breathtaking, isn't it? I'm really embracing all things wabi sabi these days.

Hugs and love,

Marion said...

Thank you, Angela. Love back to you! Blessings!

Woman in a Window said...

Marion, to be somewhere and yet long for somewhere else, is that the human condition, I wonder? Can we ever be truly sated? In a moment, but even then, it is wavering.

Yikes! I'd puke with vertigo and then fall off!