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Wednesday, April 30, 2014

from David Gerard, 'the Haiku Guy' -

from the great bronze
Buddha's nostrils...
morning mist

1814

.大仏の鼻から出たりけさの霧
daibutsu no hana kara detari kesa no kiri

About this haiku, Kai Falkman writes, "It seems improbable that the fog should come out from the nostrils--the fog probably surrounds the whole Buddha"; seeUnderstanding Haiku: A Pyramid of Meaning (Winchester, VA: Red Moon Press, 2002) 49. There are two huge bronze statues of the Buddha in Japan: at Kamakura and at Nara. The one at Nara, in Tôdaiji Temple, is 53 1/2 feet high and made of 400+ tons of bronze. The Kamakura Great Buddha is 37 feet high, 90+ tons. Many critics assume that Issa is referring to the Nara daibutsu, but perhaps he means the Kamakura statue, which sits outside, exposed to the elements (the temple that originally housed it having burned down).

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