March 22, 2011
Haiga 551 Golden Hall--then and now
Haiku by Matsuo Basho. Artwork by myself.
Basho once cited a Chinese poet in describing the northern reaches: “Countries may fall, but their rivers and mountains remain. When spring comes to the ruined castle, the grass is green again.” He probably had this in mind when he wrote this haiku at Hiraizumi:
mounds of summer grass –
the place where noble soldiers
one time dreamed a dream
When something destructive, like war, fire, natural disaster, happens, there are things that remain, and that do not. Chusonji-Temple survived the earthquake; the main hall has minor damage, and the Kondo (Golden Hall) is intact.
Basho wrote in his Narrow Road to the Deep North:
“……The two halls we had heard so much about were both open. In the Sutra Hall stood the statues of the three generals of Hiraisumi; in the Golden Hall, their coffins and three sacred images. The Golden Hall’s seven precious things had been scattered and lost, the gem-studded doors ravaged by the winds, the gold-fretted pillars rotted by the frosts and snow. The temple would certainly have collapsed and turned to nothing more than grass, had not new walls been built around, and a tiled roof put on against the wind and rain. A memorial of a thousand years has, for a little time, been preserved….”
The Kondo has survived many ordeals that befell on it in the past, and now this time again, it remained.