Basho, Robert Aitken and Haiku 7

In chapter 10, the reader finds Basho alone on the road, as translated by Aitken:

This road!

With no-one going –

autumn evening

Exploring various ways of reading it as about Basho’s need for aloneness are found falling short of Basho’s experience as Aitken understands it:

Whatever the experience, if it is pure there is nothing else in the whole world.

Thus Basho , according to Aitken, is describing an existential given – this is aloneness.

And Aitken reads it against the verse from the Mumonkan (if I remember);

The Great Way has no gate;

there are s thousand paths.

Once you pass the barrier

you walk the universe alone.

And Aitken completes the lesson for the reader: True aloneness is with, as well as in the universe.


~ by Barbara S on May 6, 2022.

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