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Zen at Daitoku-ji Hardcover – January 1, 1974

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 203 pages
  • Publisher: Kodansha International; 1st edition (January 1, 1974)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0870112279
  • ISBN-13: 978-0870112270
  • Product Dimensions: 11.2 x 9 x 1.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.6 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #2,985,200 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By Crazy Fox on June 7, 2007
Format: Hardcover
Don't expect objectivity from this fine book. Written by Yamada Sobin, an abbot of one of Daitokuji's sub-temples, and Jon Covell, an expert in Asian art who has resided at Daitokuji for decades, "Zen at Daitokuji" is shamelessly celebratory of this distinguished temple. Mostly this gives the book a certain innocent charm, though it also makes for a few uncomfortable moments when rival forms of Zen receive unsubtle little polemical swipes or the temple's relationship with the imperial household is uncritically trotted out with pride. Still, the book achieves what it sets out to do, lovingly examining Zen at Daitokuji from a great variety of angles, introducing one of Kyoto's finest Buddhist institutions to an Anglophone audience.

And that's a lot to introduce. After placing Daitokuji within the physical context of Kyoto, the temple's overall history is delved into first, from its founding by Daito Kokushi around 1314, to its retrospectively unwise involvement with Emperor Go-Daigo, its revival by Ikkyu Sojun, and finally its Tokugawa stability under Takuan Soho. Then we come to what is in some ways the heart of the book, a closer look at Daitokuji's extensive cultural impact in the development of Japanese aesthetics. Especially important in this regard is Daitokuji's instrumental role in the refinement and elaboration of the Tea Ceremony--all the key Tea Masters that made "Cha no Yu" what it is today were associated with this temple, including especially Sen no Rikyu. On top of that, though, Daitokuji was prominent in the evolution of the Zen garden (particularly of the rock and sand variety) and boasts an amazing collection of monochrome ink paintings from Sung China as well as Japan--including early works by the first Kano artists.
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