thin light through the treetops Buddha’s smile
Comment: a suggestive one-line haiku based on a convincing and essential yūgen 幽玄 (‘mystery and depth’). The poem is composed in such a way that it can be read in two different ways, depending on where the cut (kire 切れ) is ideally placed:
- thin light through the treetops/ Buddha’s smile
- thin light/ through the treetops Buddha’s smile
While the ‘thin light’ evokes a sense of subtlety (hosomi 細身) and inconsistency, the alliteration of the hard ‘t’ sound seems to reiterate and reinforce both the flame and the poet’s resolution, creating an interesting, contrasted opening effect.
On the other hand, the Buddha’s smile relates to the infinite possibilities that the present moment holds, inviting us to practice a mindful living with serene and receptive heart.
At the very beginning, the flame of our determination will be as weak as the ‘thin light’ we mentioned before, but it will grow bigger and brighter as we exercise the practice of awareness, thus escaping the wheel of samsara.