Revered to be the greatest Japanese poet, Basho was born in , some 30 The Narrow Road to the Interior is Basho’s most famous travel. Here is the most complete single-volume collection of the writings of one of the great luminaries of Asian literature. Basho (–)—who elevated the haiku . to his lucid and engaging translation of Bashō’s greatest achievement, his famed travelogue Narrow Road to the Interior (Oku no Hosomichi).

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The moon and sun are eternal travelers. Even the years wander on.

A lifetime adrift in a boat, or in old age leading a tired horse into the years, every day is a journey, and the journey itself is home. From the earliest times there have always been some who perished along the road. Still I have always been drawn by windblown clouds into dreams of a lifetime of wandering.

Revered to be the greatest Japanese poet, Basho was born insome 30 miles southeast of Kyoto.

Throughout his life, Basho was drawn to the solitary path of a wanderer. When Basho appeared on the Japanese literary intefior, the haiku form was dying off as a vital literary genre due to the many dry rules governing its expression. Basho sought to revitalize haiku through an accurate communication of the experience of oneness with nature.

He believed that this experience was far more important than the strict rules of form. Basho wrote in a particular form called Haibun which consisted of short journal prose pieces about travel that were sprinkled lightly with haiku. This fusion of haiku and prose in Habuin provides a dialogue between the poem and the narrative in which each inflects and thereby enriches the other.


Here is an astonishing excerpt:. In Yamagata Province, the ancient temple founded by Jikaku Daishi in 86o, Ryushaku Temple is stone quiet, perfectly tidy.

Narrow Road to the Interior by Matsuo Basho | : Books

Everyone told us to see it. It meant a few miles extra, doubling back toward Obanazawa to find shelter. Monks at the foot of the mountain offered rooms, then we climbed the ridge to the temple, scrambling up through ancient gnarled pine and oak, gray smooth stones and moss. The temple doors, built on rocks, were bolted.

I crawled among boulders to make my bows at shrines. The silence was profound. I sat, feeling my heart begin to open. But this core of reality is not some distant, abstract essence; it is a penetrating insight into things as they are.

This insight is summed up by the phrase mono-no-aware, the perception of the natural poignancy of temporal things. This insight, crucial to Zen, leads us beyond simple attachment to temporal narrkw, demanding the full experience of the present moment, here and now. For Basho there is no separation from his poetry and his spiritual practice, all is one.

We paid homage at Gongen Shrine on the fifth. This temple is Tendai sect, like the one in Edo on Toei Hill.

The Narrow Road to the Interior by Matsuo Basho () | Kansas City Public Library

Its blessing flows down from these mountains, enriching all our lives. Basho, who was a dedicated scholar of the Japanese and Chinese literary classics was also inspired by the Buddhist monk poet, Saigyo who believed in co-dependent origination, the Buddhist philosophy that all of nature is fully interdependent.


I am a lover of short stories. Mainly because they are short and take no time at all to read or write, which is great for my tiny attention span. This particular short story comes from a post called Wanderlust that I wrote back in fall of when I was in a World Lit class. It is beautiful and it totally gets me. The Narrow Road of the Interior. I was looking for more information when I came across this web page. Very lovely, thank you for creating it.

I also really like the way the text was translated in your openning passage. Where is it from? I am a poet and try to write haiku, sometimes I succeed but often I forget the elements required.

This quick reference is valuable and will eventually bind my internal road to haiku — thanks for posting — Stella. This site uses Akismet to reduce spam.

Narrow Road to the Interior: And Other Writings

Learn how your comment data is processed. PoetrySpiritualityTravelWriting. February 27, at 7: Hello Mike, Thank you.