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 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, not only constitute an enlivening reading experience but are full of hints on how to lead a meanningful life.