May 27: 2-5: The Technique of Association

(See this post for an explanation of what’s going on here.)


“This can be thought of as ‘how different things relate or come together.’ The Zen of this technique is called ‘oneness’ or showing how everything is part of everything else…. When the boundaries disappear between the things that separates them, it is truly a holy moment of insight and it is no wonder that haiku writers are educated to latch on to these miracles and to preserve them in ku.


the wild plum

blooms again”

Jane Reichhold, Haiku Techniques


the progress of
the caterpillar
sun climbing up the sky

women on the grass
compare haircuts
growl of lawnmower

fresh greens in the salad
young woman
in new clothes

children with
water balloons
blossoms at their fullest


I realized as I was writing these that I wasn’t exactly sure what the difference was between this technique and the technique of comparison. The idea seems to be that when you’re comparing two things, you’re showing that they’re similar, but when you’re associating them, you’re showing that they’re really the same thing? Or something?

Maybe someone with a better grasp of Zen can explain it to me…

2 thoughts on “May 27: 2-5: The Technique of Association

  1. I know that these poems work in much the same way any art works – the combination of images surprises the viewer/reader and makes them see something that had not grasped before, the ah-ha moment.

    In formal Haiku, I think, one layers time, place, season, activity or whatever and it is through the matrix of the layering that the vision forms in an unexpected way and insight is passed on. It’s the moment of insight that has the zen quality.

    But basically we are still dealing with what I teach in school, yes I teach high school (art, did math as well) – compare and contrast.

    I’m thinking I ought to post something about my thoughts on this matter in general, because I’ve given it a lot of thought. 🙂


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