The Essential Teachings of Zen Master Hakuin
A Translation of the Sokko-roku Kaien-fusetsu
Publication Date: July 13, 2010
Categories: Buddhism - Zen
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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.
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.