This weekend is a plunge into the way of haiku with translator Sensei Kaz Tanahashi, Susan O’Leary, Roshi Joan Halifax, and haiku specialist Charles Trumbull. This year, we explore the exquisite haiku of Chiyo-ni and impassioned haiku of Issa.
Fukuda Chiyo-ni (1703–1775), a poet of the Edo period and a Buddhist nun, was widely regarded as one of the greatest female haiku poets. She began writing haiku at the age of seven, and by the age of seventeen was widely known throughout Japan for her haiku. Chiyo-ni’s teachers were students of Basho, although she developed her own exquisite style.
Kobayashi Issa (1763–1828), a poet and lay Buddhist priest of the Jōdo Shinshū sect, was renowned for his haiku poems and journals. He is regarded as one of the four great haiku masters in Japan, along with Bashō, Buson and Shiki. He wrote over 20,000 haiku, many treasured today. He also was a visual artist, who often illustrated his haiku.
We explore the lives of Chiyo-ni and Issa, their works, translations, and the role of haiku in Zen, Japan, and our contemporary world. We write haiku, draw, see images of the haiku master’s lives and works, and follow the thread of haiku in history and ordinary and practice life.