- Paperback: 128 pages
- Publisher: Weatherhill; 1st edition (April 1979)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 083480137X
- ISBN-13: 978-0834801370
- Product Dimensions: 0.8 x 5.5 x 8.5 inches
- Shipping Weight: 12 ounces
- Average Customer Review: 4.9 out of 5 stars See all reviews (7 customer reviews)
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #779,693 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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A Zen Wave: Basho's Haiku & Zen Paperback – April, 1979
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Top Customer Reviews
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.Read more ›
It is terrible that this book is out of print.
This 192 page volume is organized into 26 short chapters. The introduction gives a brief overview of Basho’s life and the development of the haiku poetry form. Some of the material covered in the chapters is as follows: The old pond, the mountain path, autumn in Kiso, wisteria flowers, Quail, suma in summer, that, that’s interesting, the shepherd’s purse, this road, the morning glory and the butterfly and many other poems. There is also a glossary of selected terms and Japanese equivalents of Chinese names.
If you are interested in haiku and Zen you should check out this book. You can pick it up at a bargain price on Amazon.
Rating: 4 Stars. Joseph J. Truncale (Author: Haiku Moments: How to read, write and enjoy haiku).