Zen Master Ryokan--Poems, Letters, and Other Writings
Publication Year: 1996
Published by: University of Hawai'i Press
Title Page, Copyright Page
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Particular thanks are due to the following individuals for their many helpful suggestions during the manuscript’s preparation: Professors Paul Anderer, Haruo Shirane, Robert A. F. Thurman and Philip Yampolsky of Columbia University, and Professors George Tanabe and H. Paul Varley of the University of Hawai‘i. ...
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the fifteenth-century Zen monk whose eccentric life-style has inspired numerous folk stories in which he is depicted as a marvelously quick-witted child novice. Ryōkan is a singularly attractive figure. Minakami Tsutomu, the celebrated contemporary novelist, explains why, despite countless earlier works examining the minutest details of Ryōkan’s life, he could not escape the urge to write about the Zen ...
Ryōkan of Mount Kugami
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There, among the ubiquitous tabloids, the sex-and-violence comics, and the very latest Japanese and American bestsellers, you are likely to find several books devoted to the Zen master Taigu Ryōkan (1758–1831), a penniless monk whose life was spent in obscurity in Japan’s snow country, meditating, playing with children, and writing poems that vividly describe his world. He lived ...
A Poetics of Mendicancy: Nondualist Philosophy and Ryōkan’s Figurative Strategies
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Barthes’ proposal to understand text as the topos of incessant semantic production—rather than as the representation of fixed meanings outside of it—speaks eloquently of the seminal shift of emphasis in contemporary philosophical and literary theories in their approach to studying text. Such a reminder, however, seems unnecessary for Ryōkan, who, more than a century earlier than Barthes, articulated as follows the essentials of ...
Commemorating Ryōkan: The Origin and Growth of Ryōkan Biographies
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This brief survey identifies the key primary sources for Ryōkan’s biography, sketches the historical context in which the contemporaneous biographies of Ryōkan were composed, and illustrates the intertwining historical relationships that join these texts. Many of the sources exist only as unpublished manuscripts. In cases where there exist printed ...
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But to many ordinary Japanese, Ryōkan is above all a cultural hero, a teacher in the broadest sense of the word, one who has something to say not simply about poetry, but about life itself. This is the “Ryōkan san” familiar to millions of Japanese who may never even have attempted Ryōkan’s poems. Indeed, Ryōkan lived his life as a Zen Buddhist ...
Curious Accounts of the Zen Master Ryōkan
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Despite Ryōkan’s enduring reputation as a poet and calligrapher, it is above all the character of his daily life, its essential naturalness and simplicity, that earned him the affection of the men, women, and children of his native Echigo and continues to attract Japanese of all ages and backgrounds. Our principal firsthand source for Ryōkan’s ...
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Numerous letters by Ryōkan have survived. The majority of these are “thank you” notes for an assortment of foodstuffs, clothes, and household articles, as well as tobacco and medicine supplied by Ryōkan’s many friends and patrons. The following selection focuses on those letters that reveal the character of Ryōkan’s daily life and ...
Reflections on Buddhism
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With each passing year, the ways of the world grow more depraved. People’s hearts grow ever more unsettled, while the patriarchs’ teaching grows dimmer and dimmer. Teachers of Buddhism promote their particular schools, and their students parrot their example. Both stick together like lacquer and glue, stubbornly holding to their position, ...
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Sources for the translations of Ryōkan’s kanshi are given below in the order in which the translations appear. Pages in the present work are given at left; the source of the text from which the translation was made appears at right. Unless otherwise indicated, numbers refer to poem numbers in Tōgō Toyoharu, Ryōkan Zenshū (Tokyo, 1959), ...
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About the Translators
Publication Year: 1996