Extraordinary Zen Masters

Extraordinary Zen Masters.jpg
Extraordinary Zen Masters.jpg

Extraordinary Zen Masters

15.95

A Maverick, a Master of Masters, and a Wandering Poet

By John Stevens

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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.