Synopses & Reviews
A fiery and intensely dynamic Zen teacher and artist, Hakuin (1685–1768) is credited with almost single-handedly revitalizing Japanese Zen after three hundred years of decline. As a teacher, he placed special emphasis on koan practice, inventing many new koans himself, including the famous “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” As an artist, Hakuin used calligraphy and painting to create “visual Dharma”—teachings that powerfully express the nature of enlightenment. The text translated here offers an excellent introduction to the work of this extraordinary teacher. Hakuin sets forth his vision of authentic Zen teaching and practice, condemning his contemporaries, whom he held responsible for the decline of Zen, and exhorting his students to dedicate themselves to “breaking through the Zen barrier.” Included are reproductions of several of Hakuin’s finest calligraphies and paintings.
From the tiny country temple in which he spent most of his life, Hakuin Ekaku (c.1685–1768) almost single-handedly revitalized Japanese Zen, which had been in decline for centuries before he came on the scene. Read this essential text and you’ll understand how he did it. Few teachers are as direct, funny, and ready to shatter their students’ illusions in order to give them the gift of truth. Included in the book are twelve examples of Hakuin’s art—because his art was also his teachings.
About the Author
Hakuin is the most important of the Japanese Zen artists; indeed, he is one of the greatest artists of any kind in world culture. Tremendously creative and productive, creating perhaps as many as 20,000 thousand Zenga in his lifetime as well as having thousands more pieces printed from woodblocks Hakuin's work is now appreciated all over the world.