Chen-ou Liu's Translation Project: First English-Chinese Haiku and Tanka Blog

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Lone Angel Tanka

lone angel
dancing on the head
of a pin
I think; therefore
the Buddha exists

Bright Stars, IV, 2014


1 Ls 1-3 refer to the following question: "How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?"

[This question] has been used many times as a dismissal of medieval angelology in particular, and of scholasticism in general... In modern usage, this question also serves as a metaphor for wasting time debating topics of no practical value, or questions whose answers hold no intellectual consequence -- excerpted from the Wikipedia entry, How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?

2 Ls 4-5 make a parodic allusion to  René Descartes' philosophical proposition, "I think, therefore I am."