I was remiss in not posting a hokku for Vesākha, the remembrance of the Birth, the Enlightenment Nibbana (Nirvana) and the Passing Away (Parinibbana) of the Buddha.

Vesākha takes place at the time of the full moon in May.

In hokku it is generally best not to be too overtly religious or “preachy,” so this verse by Chora fits quite well:

A mountain temple;
No one comes to venerate
The Nibbana picture.

It is an isolated temple in the hills, too far for people — who are or think they are busy in any case — to come and make their devotions before the picture of the Buddha’s passing — his final entry into Nibbana.

It reminds me a little of Memorial Day, when so many people think they have better things to do than to pay respects to the memory of their relatives who have passed on.

Nonetheless, in regard to the hokku, the Buddha is still the Buddha, recognized or not, with or without pilgrims.  It reminds one of the ancient saying,

Vocatus atque non vocatus deus aderit.

“Called or not called, the god will be there.”


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