Zen Monk-Poet of Japan (Translations from the Asian Classics)
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Ryokan (1758-1831), a Buddhist monk in the Zen sect, was a major figure in Tokugawa poetry. Although a Zen master, he never headed a temple but chose to live alone in simple huts and to support himself by begging. His poems are mainly a record of his daily activities - of chores and outings to gather firewood and edible plants, lonely snow-bound winters, begging expeditions to town, meetings with friends, romps with the village children. At the same time they show us how contented, even joyous, a man could be with a minimum of material possessions, and how rich a spiritual and intellectual life he could enjoy in the midst of poverty.
Columbia University Press, 9780231044158, 126pp.
Publication Date: May 5, 1992
About the Author
Burton Watson is one of the world's best-known translators from the Chinese and Japanese. His translations include The Lotus Sutra, The Vimalakirti Sutra, Chuang Tzu: Basic Writings, Saigyo: Poems of a Mountain Home, and The Columbia Book of Chinese Poetry: From Early Times to the Thirteenth Century, all published by Columbia.