Poems are like islands in the sea of words through which we swim every day. We take comfort and pleasure in them, but they can also sometimes challenge us, provoke, us, or wake us up to see things in new ways. The enlightening art of poetry has been a part of our publishing program from the very beginning.
Kobayashi Issa (1763-1827), along with Basho and Buson, is considered one of the three greatest haiku poets of Japan, known for his attention to poignant detail and his playful sense of humor. Issa's most-loved work, The Spring of My Life, is an autobiographical sketch of linked prose and haiku in the tradition of Basho's famous Narrow Road to the Interior. In addition to The Spring… Read More
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Hakuin Zenji, also known as Hakuin Ekaku (16891769), is often referred to as the "father" of the Japanese Zen Rinzai school. His reforms revitalized the school, ensuring its endurance even to our own day. A fiery and dynamic teacher and renowned artist, Hakuin reemphasized the importance of zazen, or sitting meditation, in his teaching. This intimate self-portrait of the Zen master includes reminiscences from his childhood, an account… Read More
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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?” This English translation of Hakuin’s intimate self-portrait includes reminiscences from his childhood, accounts of his Zen practice and enlightenment… Read More
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