Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Letting Go : The Story of Zen Master Tosui By Menzan (Author) & Peter Haskel (Translator)

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As with so many of the acquaintances who brighten one’s life, I encountered Zen Master Tòsui Unkei (d. 1683) quite by accident— much as did the nameless beggars, day laborers, and assorted townsfolk who chance upon him in the pages of his colorful biography, the Tribute.

In the course of researching the life of the noted priest-poet Taigu Ryòkan (1758–1832),Tòsui’s name surfaced as a largely forgotten earlier Zen figure who embodied many of the traits for which Ryòkan was celebrated—a staunch independence and indifference to hardship, a rejection of the monastic world for a life among the common people of Japan, and a keen understanding of Zen combined with an at-times childlike naïveté.

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