Zujas Roger rated it it was amazing Sep 15, His simplicity and gentle humor make him, perhaps, the most approachable and personable of the old Zen masters. Brazilian Journalist based in Bucharest, Romania. Karen rated it it was amazing Dec 15, Taigu Ryokan remains one of the most popular figures in Japanese Buddhist history. When the thief left, he wrote the famous haiku in his diary:.
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My good fool, your way is broad. Freely living as you are, who can grasp you? I entrust you with a mountain-shaped stick. Where there is a wall, there is a place to doze. Zen Master Kokusen Yes, I am truly a dunce. This old fellow just likes to smile to himself.
I wade across streams with bony legs, And I carry a bag about in fine spring weather. Fifteen years later, he received a teaching stick and the approval poem above from Kokusen, the abbot of Entsu Monastery.
Unlike his esteemed predecessors, Ryokan was never head of a temple, and lived mostly as a hermit and begged each day for his food. He enjoyed playing with children. People of all walks of life sought him out because they recognized the depth of his realization and were drawn to his compassion and unadorned humanity.
His poems in Japanese and Chinese styles are lofty, imaginative, and direct. Ryokan was also a master calligrapher with an irrepressible style. He created brushstrokes with distinctive thin lines in part because he was so poor he often could not afford brushes and used twigs instead. And when he had no ink or paper, he practiced his strokes in the air. His father was a local dignitary and a respected haiku poet.
After completing rigorous training at Entsu Monastery, which adhered to the Soto school of Zen practice established by Zen Master Dogen, Ryokan at age thirty-three embarked on a long pilgrimage, visiting monasteries all over Japan. Along the way he became disappointed with the lack of genuine spirit among Buddhist practitioners.
Gogo is half a sho, the small amount of rice needed to sustain a person for a day; an is hermitage. He lived a simple life and begged for food in nearby villages. He survived harsh weather, sickness, and loneliness, yet still produced his mature poetry and calligraphy.
He sustained his practice with gentle humor. Stories abound, often hilarious, about his kindness and generosity. After twenty years, when he could no longer make the snowy trek for his begging rounds, Ryokan moved down the mountain to the forested compound of Otogo Shinto Shrine. Here he lived in a two-room hut beside the small sanctuary.
Often malnourished and ill, he continued to write poems in his spirited calligraphy. There he spent the last five years of his life. During that time he fell in love with a young Zen nun who became his student. They wrote each other many poems. He died at
Great Fool: Zen Master Ryōkan; Poems, Letters, and Other Writings
My good fool, your way is broad. Freely living as you are, who can grasp you? I entrust you with a mountain-shaped stick. Where there is a wall, there is a place to doze. Zen Master Kokusen Yes, I am truly a dunce.
The Great Fool : Zen Master Ryokan; Poems, Letters, and Other Writings
Grorr Michael rated it liked it Apr 26, Paperbackpages. He gave his blanket to the thief. Karen rated it ffool was amazing Dec 15, In contrast to Zen masters of his time who presided over large monasteries, trained students, or produced recondite treatises, Ryokan followed a life fopl mendicancy in the countryside. Great Fool is the first study in a Western language to offer a comprehensive picture of the legendary poet-monk and his oeuvre. May not contain Access Codes or Supplements. Built on the Johns Hopkins University Campus.