a zen wave: bashō’s haiku and zen

a zen wave: basho's haiku and zen

by Robert Aitken
Publisher: Shoemaker & Hoard; (2003)
Paperback: 192 pages

Bashō was not a student or priest of Zen Buddhism, but he did regularly stay in Zen temples on his pilgrimages and did wear the robes of a Buddhist. Aitken points out the many Zen qualities in Bashō’s haiku, and relates it to his own (and his students’) practice. This is also an interesting read for those intrigued with the process of translation: the author offers his insights into the subtle nuances (including the occasional pun), and context, of the original source.

[Bashō’s haiku] do not concern themselves specifically with feelings of pity, smugness, envy, or whatever— nor with feelings of anger or love either. In this respect they are like Zen…” (p. 113).

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