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A Zen Wave: Basho's Haiku & Zen Paperback – April 1, 1979


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 128 pages
  • Publisher: Weatherhill; 1st edition (April 1979)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 083480137X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0834801370
  • Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.3 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #559,293 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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23 of 25 people found the following review helpful By tepi on June 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
A ZEN WAVE : Basho's Haiku and Zen. Translated by Robert Aitken. 192 pp. New York and Tokyo : Weatherhill, 1978 and Reissued.
All of us, perhaps, need a bit of help when starting to read haiku. As the shortest of all verse forms, with its mere seventeen syllables, it doesn't look like much of a poem at all to the uninitiated, and they may wonder what the fuss is all about.
In 'A Zen Wave,' Robert Aitken, who is a noted American Zenist and competent in Japanese, has had the extremely useful idea of compiling a small anthology of haiku by Basho (1644-1694), and providing each haiku with its own full commentary. After finishing the book, readers will have acquired a background in both haiku and Zen, and will be able to further explore haiku by themselves in an informed way.
In his brief 5-page Introduction Aitken writes:
"... the heart of Basho's haiku is the very foundation of human perception of things - mind itself. Operating superficially, the mind is random in its activity and stale in its insights and images. With practice and experience, however, it is recognized as the empty infinity of the universe and of the self" (pages 18-19).
This statement may gain in meaning if we set it alongside an observation made the great Zen Master Dogen (1200-1253), who wrote:
"Conveying the self to the myriad things to authenticate them is delusion; the myriad things advancing to authenticate the self is enlightenment" (Tr., F. H. Cook, 'Sounds of Valley Streams,' page 66).
The haiku poet is a person who has 'emptied' himself or herself, who has created a space, an "empty infinity" or 'openness,' in which the myriad things can come forward and declare themselves.
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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Charles Vekert on July 3, 2001
Format: Paperback
Aitken Roshi is considered by many the dean of American Zen masters. In this book he combines his Zen insight with his university training in liturature to explain Basho's poetry. The book should be read by anyone interested in Zen, and perhaps even more by anyone interested in poetry or literary criticism, since it shows what a wise person can do improve our reading of poetry. If you love Basho or haiku in general, then this book is a must have.
It is terrible that this book is out of print.
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8 of 8 people found the following review helpful By Paul Swift on March 13, 2000
Format: Paperback
"In this book, Robert Aitken gives us the haiku in Japanese, then a word-for-word translation, as well as his own translation. He then goes on to comment on why he chose the translation he did, and also how each haiku relates to the practice of Zen.
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