Title: Sky Above, Great Wind: The Life and Poetry of Zen Master Ryokan
Author: Kazuaki Tanahashi
Paperback: 224 pages
The delightful and often funny poetry of Zen’s quintessential free spirit, Master Ryokan—in a fresh translation by a beloved American Zen figure
Ryokan Taigu (1758-1831) was a monk in the Soto lineage of Japanese Zen who spent a good part of his life as a hermit, writing poetry, playing with children, and creating simple and exquisitely beautiful calligraphies—sometimes using twigs as his instrument when he couldn’t afford a brush. He was never head of a monastery or temple and as an old man, he fell in love with a young Zen nun who also became his student. His affection for her colors the mature poems of his late period.
This loving tribute to the great legendary nonconformist includes more than 140 of his poems, 13 examples of his art, and a selection of laugh-out-loud funny anecdotes about his highly idiosyncratic teaching behavior.
Ryokan’s Poetic Forms
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