Extraordinary Zen Masters: A Maverick, a Master of Masters, and a Wandering Poetby John Stevens
Extraordinary Zen Masters: A Maverick, a Master of Masters, and a Wandering Poet tells the life stories of Ikkyu (1394-1481), Hakuin (1686-1768), and Ryokan (1758-1831). Each was an outstanding figure who manifested Zen in his own way. Ikkyu was unconventional and uncompromising, a relentless enemy of the sham and hypocrisy that pervaded the religious/i>
Extraordinary Zen Masters: A Maverick, a Master of Masters, and a Wandering Poet tells the life stories of Ikkyu (1394-1481), Hakuin (1686-1768), and Ryokan (1758-1831). Each was an outstanding figure who manifested Zen in his own way. Ikkyu was unconventional and uncompromising, a relentless enemy of the sham and hypocrisy that pervaded the religious circles of his day. Hakuin underwent a lengthy and strenuous apprenticeship to become a Master Teacher of Zen, training hundreds of disciples and insisting that they endure the same trials and surmount the same massive barriers that he had. Ryokan, in contrast, was a gentle, self-effacing recluse who never became an abbot but lived in quiet hermitages, savoring nature and writing poetry. All three were artists of the highest order, employing brush, ink, and paper as a means of transmitting Zen teachings and creating unique works of art.
These are three of the greatest Zen masters in history-each unique, each an outstanding artist, and each a teacher of future generations. The biographies of these three men, in one volume, constitute an enlivening reading experience, full of insight on leading a meaningful life.
John Stevens lived in Japan for thirty-five years, where he was a professor of Buddhist studies at Tohoku Fukushi University in Sendai. Stevens is a widely respected translator, an ordained Buddhist priest, a curator of several major exhibitions of Zen art, and an aikido instructor. He has authored more than thirty books and is one of the foremost Western experts on aikido, holding a ranking of 7th dan Aikikai. Stevens has also studied calligraphy for decades, authoring the classic Sacred Calligraphy of the East. Other John Stevens titles that are likely to be of interest include The Philosophy of Aikido, and The Marathon Monks of Mount Hiei.
- Echo Point Books & Media
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For anyone serious about Zen, this slim volume gives insight into three towering Zen masters: Ikkyu, Hakuin, and Ryokan. It’s filled with stories and analysis of their contributions to the development of Zen Buddhism. Stevens, Zen priest and translator, provides us with a broad sweep of different styles and practices of Zen through three sharply focused profiles, each of which balances history with memorable anecdotes. In this accessible and engaging introduction to these Zen masters, you’ll find humor, insight, and wisdom. Definitely recommended any student of Buddhism, but especially Zen Buddhism.