Chapter 13: Raise No Dust, Leave No Tracks
When I say it, visualize it, because a haiku has to be visualized. It is a picture-poem. Only in visualization will you understand.
The ancient pond
A frog jumps in
Finished. You can visualize it, you can visualize it with your innermost eye - the ancient pond with moss on the rocks. You can almost touch it. You can feel the texture of it. It is a very ancient pond. Dry leaves are on the surface, dry leaves are on the banks. Old pine trees are standing on guard. You can visualize it. You can smell the smell of the pine trees, the fragrance, the coolness. Maybe the morning sun..
And the frog. You can see the frog alive. The frog jumps in. In Japanese the actual translation will be: a frog-jump-in - not jumps in. A frog-jump-in. The frog and the jump are not two things, you cannot dissect the frog from his jump. He is the jump. In the jump he is. In Japanese and Chinese the language is far deeper than other languages. But to put it rightly, in right English, we will say A frog jumps in - as if he is doing something. To jump in is not doing anything for a frog, it is not an act. It is spontaneous.
The sound, the ripples on the surface of the old lake - and the silence.
Now, if you dissect this small poem - there are only thirteen syllables in it - what are you going to get? You will get a few words. Then dissect the words and you get the alphabet - linguistic elements. All meaning is lost. It is as if you go and see a beautiful painting and you dissect it into its colors. The painting is lost. Or, if I give you a beautiful lotus flower and you dissect it into its chemical constituents then the lotus is lost.
That’s how science has destroyed all meaning in life. If people are feeling that life is meaningless in the West it is a by-product of their scientific endeavor. Science was trying to make life more intelligible - it has made life more intelligible, but all meaning has been lost.
Those people who had not much knowledge about life were far happier. Life had more meaning then. They had not dissected the lotus, they were enjoying the lotus. They were not worried about the constituents, the chemicals, they were not worrying about what beauty was - they were enjoying it, they were in it, they were swallowing it, they were swallowed by it. They were in tune with beauty, life, existence, and there was meaning.