The magnificent words and symbolisms regarding the Bodhi Tree are the foundation for the theme of this wonderful book, New Utopia by Kumar, which is consistent throughout its pages. The essence of the theme starts with the Endless Helix lines by Ban'ya Natsuishi, to the concept of End of Summer by Sayumi Kamakura, and the illustrious words of Adam Donaldson Powell articulated in the forward section.
The complication of these three dynamic poetic giants sets the stage for this excellent book of haiku. The reader has a lot to experience with the literary movement on the pages consisting of contemporary haiku poetry. The interrelationship of the elements at work, and the collective beauty of God's natural creation, are exemplified in a grand manner between the inspirational lines of haiku poems in this creative book. One must read it to experience it!
The essential spiritual theme of this book cuts across the spectrum of religion. One is able to find a blending of Christianity and Buddhism on its pages. Take this haiku for example: "dove in a garden enclosed / lives in lord's temple [Lord's Temple]: / virgin mary [Virgin Mary]." (The haiku poem has historically been written in lower case as the traditional style of haiku poetry writing.) Naturally, the dove as a symbol of peace is the descending of Christ, while John the Baptist stands in the River Jordon. The Virgin Mary is the mother of Christ in the Bible, and the essence of this haiku speaks to the heart of Christians about Christ, John the Baptist, and the Lord's Temple, which is the Church.
One the other hand, the Bodhi tree and Buddha reflect the years of suffering the Buddha endures. While meditating under the Bodhi tree, the forces of evil swarmed around and tried their best to disrupt his meditation. One could equate this to Christ being on the cross and the jeering he endured from the crowd while He mediated on God. Therefore, in this book of haiku poems, we find a blending of Buddhism and Christianity in the figurative language of poetry, and the literary sense by the author.
Balancing the middle of this contemporary journey, we find another haiku to consider as follows: "buddha [Buddha] suffers / christ [Christ] suffers / their life [lives] full of crosses." Naturally, here we find a comparative analysis of Christ and Buddha. Suffering is reflected in their lives, their earthly journey, and the tribulations they endured for humankind. The language of the haiku poems and theme in this book reflect upon religion in a spiritual and sincere way, thus emulating the essence of Christ and Buddha in a contemporary manner.
Finally, with the spirituality of haiku flowing from the Bodhi tree; linking with "imaginative bird noises within the tree"; to "seeing an orphan child's cheek"; then "understanding the quest of the butterfly for nectar," really exemplify the essence of the haiku poems in this text as uplifting and inspiring to the soul. One must not forget the glossary for further understanding and to look up the definition of a word for clarification. This is an excellent haiku book for everyone to read with joy, and to smile while reading and obtaining a spiritual and educational journey in haiku poetry.
Joseph S. Spence, Sr. (aka "Epulaeryu Master"), authored "The Awakened One Poetics" (2009), published in seven languages, "A Trilogy of Poetry, Prose and Thoughts for the Mind, Body and Soul," and "Trilogy Moments for the Mind, Body and Soul." Joseph is a Goodwill Ambassador for Arkansas, and is a US Army veteran.
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