Zen Words for the Heart: Hakuin's Commentary on the Heart Sutra

Shambhala Publications
1

Hakuin Zenji (1689-1769) was one of the most important of all Japanese Zen masters. His commentary on the Heart Sutra is a Zen classic that reflects his dynamic teaching style, with its balance of scathing wit and poetic illumination of the text. Hakuin's sarcasm, irony, and invective are ultimately guided by a compassion that seeks to dislodge students' false assumptions and free them to realize the profound meaning of the Heart Sutra for themselves. The text is illustrated with Hakuin's own calligraphy and brush drawings.
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About the author

Norman Waddell is a professor of international studies at Otani University in Kyoto, Japan. He is also the translator of The Essential Teachings of Zen Master Hakuin and Zen Words for the Heart: Hakuin's Commentary on the Heart Sutra.
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Additional Information

Publisher
Shambhala Publications
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Published on
Jul 15, 1996
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Pages
112
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ISBN
9780834828322
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Language
English
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Genres
Religion / Buddhism / Zen
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Available on Android devices
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Hakuin Zenji
Following his translation of just over half the original text in 2014, Norman Waddell presents the complete teaching record of Zen master Hakuin, now available in English with extensive explanations, notes, and even the wry, helpful comments that students attending Hakuin’s lectures inscribed in their copies of the text

With this volume, Norman Waddell completes his acclaimed translation of the teaching record of one of the greatest Zen masters of all time, Hakuin Ekaku (1685–1769). Hakuin lived at a time when Japanese Buddhism as a whole and his own Rinzai sect in particular were at low ebb. Through tremendous force of character and creative energy, he initiated a reform movement that swept the country, and today, all Rinzai Zen masters trace their lineage through him. This outcome is all the more extraordinary because Hakuin’s base of operations was a small temple in the country town of Hara, where he grew up, not in one of the nation's political, cultural, or commercial centers.

This book represents the first full publication of the Keisō Dokuzui in any foreign language. Inspired by the enthusiastic reception that greeted his 2014 selections from the text, Waddell returned to work and now gives us the opportunity to examine the entirety of Hakuin's record and to benefit as never before from the example and instruction of this exuberant personality and remarkable teacher. Poison Blossoms contains a highly diverse set of materials: formal and informal presentations to monastic and lay disciples, poems, practice instructions, inscriptions for paintings, comments on koans, letters, and funeral orations. While most items are brief, easily read in a quick sitting, the book also includes extended commentaries on the Heart Sutra, one of Mahayana Buddhism’s central texts; on the famously difficult Five Ranks of Tung-shan; and on the accomplishments of his eminent predecessor Gudō Tōshoku.

Having devoted himself for more than three decades to the study and translation of Hakuin's works, Norman Waddell is peerless when it comes to conveying into English the vital, sometimes elegant, often earthy voice of this outstanding teacher. His command of the subject enables Waddell to elucidate the vast array of idioms and images that Hakuin employed to enliven his poetry and prose—historical and mythological elements, street slang, doctrinal and cultural allusions that would otherwise place these writings beyond the grasp of anyone but a specialist. Waddell's five previous Hakuin translations, each important in its own right, can now be recognized as stepping stones to this towering achievement.
Hakuin Zenji
Hakuin Enkaku Zenji (1686-1769) was one of the greatest Zen masters to ever live. In additional to being the author of the most famous koan ever written, “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” he is credited with reviving the Rinzai sect of Zen in Japan, perhaps the most important and most rigorous branch in the Golden Age of Buddhism. His “Song of Zazen” is chanted in monasteries daily all over the world. Hakuin taught that there are three essentials to Zen practice: Great Faith, Great Doubt, and Great Resolve. Only Dogen comes close to matching the power and breadth of his writing and teaching.

Norman Waddell has spent his life reading and commenting on the vast work of Hakuin. He has published several previous selections, all leading to his work on this major, monumental gathering, the Keiso Dokuzui, never before translated in any foreign language. Translating sacred texts requires years of practice and intimate familiarity with the material in its original language, as well as complete mastery of the available commentary. There’s no one alive better capable of handling this important and difficult offering.

For this collection Hakuin gathered more than 200 individual pieces, consisting of commentaries, memorials, poems, koans, and teisho (lectures). They were offered to the many students living around his temple as well as to the countless lay followers around the country, and Hakuin spent his life offering these teachings together with his own commentary. Result is an organic, growing collection of understanding and advice, certain to engage Zen students as well as religious practitioners in other spiritual disciplines.
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