Issa And The Meaning Of Animals: A Buddhist Poet's Perspective
Issa and the Meaning of Animals: A Buddhist Poet's Perspective
The poetry of Kobayashi Issa (1763-1828) can coax readers toward an insight sorely needed in our time: animals are like people and deserve our care and compassion. Animals work like people, play like people, sing, dance, make love, start families, and participate in seasonal celebrations from New Year's Day to end-of-year drinking parties--as portrayed in the haiku of Issa. They can also, according to the Pure Land Buddhism to which Issa subscribed, attain enlightenment in a future life. Recognizing animals, as Issa does, as fellow travelers in a shared world is a first step toward their ethical treatment.
About the Author
David G. Lanoue is a professor of English at Xavier University of Louisiana. He is a cofounder of the New Orleans Haiku Society, an associate member of the Haiku Foundation, and president of the Haiku Society of America. His books include translations (Issa’s Best: A Translator’s Selection of Master Haiku and Cup-of-Tea Poems; Selected Haiku of Kobayashi Issa), criticism (Pure Land Haiku: The Art of Priest Issa), and a series of "haiku novels": Haiku Guy, Laughing Buddha, Haiku Wars, Frog Poet and Dewdrop World. Some of...