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The Zen Works of Stonehouse: Poems and Talks of a 14th-Century Chinese Hermit Paperback – July 1, 1997

ISBN-13: 978-1562791018 ISBN-10: 156279101X Edition: 1st

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 248 pages
  • Publisher: Mercury House; 1 edition (July 1, 1997)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 156279101X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1562791018
  • Product Dimensions: 9 x 6 x 0.7 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12.8 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (8 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #659,985 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Chinese

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Customer Reviews

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I finally have my copy of this wonderful volume.
R. B. Griffin
Six pages of introduction to the monk provide very good backdrop for his poems.
Andrew Beaulac
It's like a mini-vacation from the hectic rat race of modern life.
urban hermit

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

29 of 31 people found the following review helpful By James Grob on June 10, 1999
Format: Paperback
Red Pine(the translator) is an american with years of study in Taiwan. His translations(the poetry in this volume a superb re-working of his earlier version)are like a clear window through which we can see the day-to-day living of a fully enlightened zen master. This volume includes considerable additional poetry and a number of "teachings" copied down by his students. If you are interested in Zen this should be an early addition to your shelf. If I could keep only l book on zen it would be this(or even just the poetry) as it not only says everything necessary about zen but allows you to watch it being lived out.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Andrew Beaulac on July 24, 2005
Format: Paperback
I don't think I can adequately express my love for this book, so I will just tell a little about the contents. Stonehouse is the English translated name of the Chinese Ch'an (Zen) poet Ch'ing-hung who retired early from being a temple abbot (he pleaded old age) so he could return to his beloved mountain retreat and live a peaceful, reflective life in nature. This great Zen monk whose medium of instruction was poetry also gave brief but potent Zen talks which are included here. Burton Watson's commendation on the back cover is correct about Pine's translation of the poems, noting that "...Red Pine has devised and unusual translation style that not only captures much of the flavor of the Chinese originals, but at the same time works splendidly as English." Yes, so splendidly that in reading a few to a friend, she began weeping. As if Red Pine carries in his chest the heart of the original poet, he expresses each poem sensitively and perfectly into English for us.

Here's what else I love about Red Pine's works: he has thoughtfully accompanied every poem with notes explaining contexts, references, and doctrinal backgrounds. The poetry carries you back to a beautiful wilderness in fourteenth century China and awakening a love for simplicity, return to nature, and Zen mind. Six pages of introduction to the monk provide very good backdrop for his poems. This volume contains three parts:

Book One: Mountain Poems

Book Two: Gathas

Book Three: Zen Talks

I read excerpts of Stonehouse for an incense game called Kodo, and a Zen monk attending exclaimed, each one is like a meditation!
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7 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Max Hurst on September 13, 2004
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Another great treasure of poems translated by Bill Porter. I believe this could be the best of the lot. These poems are tough, gentle & uncomprimising. I've gone through them several times always at ease and also alert.They truly come from the void, the Tao, whatever that is or isn't. Like notes from shakuhachi: soft ,dim slow quick, sloping, climbing. This man was a teacher of many and yet also a true recluse shutting or opening his brushwood door. I have read many poets from this period and used to wonder why Stonehouse was somehow considered one of the very best. On successive viewings their depth and clarity really begin to show them selves in comparison to some others. This ,of course, explains such an opinion
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3 of 4 people found the following review helpful By R. B. Griffin on June 19, 2006
Format: Paperback
Each poem of Stonehouse is a meditation in itself, each seeming as lines written after a satori while sitting on his mountain-side. Here was a true Nirmanakaya of Zen, no attachment, all needs provided by chance.

Red Pine's notes can be helpful, but don't worry about them unless you have a question about what you just read. Otherwise, reading the poem then referring to the notes may cause you to be distracted from the insight Stonehouse is attempting to relay to you.

I finally have my copy of this wonderful volume. Why do I say that? I first ordered the book new on Amazon in August 2005, with a note saying 2-4 week delivery. After monthly alterations in delivery dates, Amazon unilaterally cancelled the order in January 2006. So I ordered again. Again, monthy alterations in projected delivery date. So I looked into the matter. Turns out other companies cannot supply the book. Even the publisher has no copies. This realized, I ordered a used book from an individual listing on Amazon, at a reasonable price, and finally have this valuable document in June 2006.
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