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Three Zen Masters: Ikkyu, Hakuin and RyoKan (Kodansha Biographies) Paperback – February 1, 1993


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Product Details

  • Series: Kodansha Biographies
  • Paperback: 160 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha International; 1st edition (February 1993)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 4770016514
  • ISBN-13: 978-4770016515
  • Product Dimensions: 7.3 x 4.3 x 0.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 6.4 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #660,113 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

More About the Author

John Stevens lived in Japan for thirty-five years, where he was a professor of Buddhist studies at Tohoku Fukushi University in Sendai. Stevens is a widely respected translator, an ordained Buddhist priest, a curator of several major exhibitions of Zen art, and an aikido instructor. He has authored more than thirty books and is one of the foremost Western experts on aikido, holding a ranking of 7th dan Aikikai. Stevens has also studied calligraphy for decades, authoring the classic Sacred Calligraphy of the East.

Customer Reviews

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13 of 13 people found the following review helpful By Russell Belfer on December 3, 2005
Format: Paperback
This slim volume is in many ways a great introduction to Zen thinking through profiles of three great masters. It is a wonderful combination of historical examination and recollection of stories about the lives of these three. The selection of the figures is excellent as you see a broad sweep of different styles of living and practicing Zen Buddhism. Also, the three are each in their own way extremely influential, so it is good to understand the roles of the individuals in the overall development of Zen Buddhist religious practice. Finally, the stories are just plain entertaining, filled with humor, insight, wry observation, and wisdom. A very enjoyable read.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Frank H. on September 17, 2008
Format: Paperback
This small volume does a wonderful job at introducing us to three of the wildest, most fascinating Zen masters. The lifestories of Ikkyu and Ryokan, in particular, are almost too good to be true. This book makes Zen comes to life in a real, down to earth kind of way. Wonderful work!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
.....and you thought they were wizened old souls dispensing pithy advice. This really opened my eyes to the fact that Zen, in its earlier days, was a real wild west.
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Format: Paperback
Anyone interested in Zen, especially in the Rinzai tradition, should know at least a bit about the three very influential Zen masters featured in this book: Ikkuyu, Hakuin, Ryokan. In addition to their legacy as spiritual teachers, each were accomplished artists.

In this book, Zen priest and accomplished translator John Stevens portrays what's known about each of these masters in an accessible and engaging way. Each profile is about 50 pages long, recounting what is known about the lives of each, without getting bogged down in non-essential details. You'll come away with a good sense of the unique influence they've have had on Zen practice.
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