Be in the Garden Instead of Do in the Garden

Matsuo Basho (1644-1694) is an adopted or pen name of the Japanese writer and Haiku poet. His most famous work, "The Narrow Road to the Deep North", is considered a high point in Japanese literature.

That work was written on a walking trip taken in 1689.

Basho had been studying Zen Buddhism and felt that the demands of the world were closing in on him so he packed a few belongings and set out on a 1200 mile stroll. Age 45 at the time, he said he "felt the breezes of the afterlife" and wanted to visit literary and religious places.

His goal for the trip was to become a hyohakusha or one who moves without direction. It was a spiritual journey, though he continued to teach along the way.

When we go for a walk in a beautiful park without the pressure of time or when we wander through our own garden, looking, watching, observing, enjoying, appreciating, we have an opportunity to become a hyohakusha for a little while.

Make time for some goal free enjoyment of nature. It is said to calm the mind and rejuvenate the spirit.

U Oregon story of his life with poetry
Encyclopedia Britannica
National Geographic essay written by Howard Norman who re-walked Basho's famous trail. The site also has fascinating links to the route and photographs of the sites along the way.
Photoguide JP has a photo collection of relevant Basho sites.


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