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The Complete Poison Blossoms from a Thicket of Thorn

The Zen Record of Zen Master Hakuin

List Price: $50.00

ON SALE: December 20, 2017 | Hardcover | 7 x 10, 608 pages | ISBN 9781619029316
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Following his translation of just over half the original text in 2014, Norman Waddell presents the complete teaching record of Zen master Hakuin, now available in English with extensive explanations, notes, and even the wry, helpful comments that students attending Hakuin’s lectures inscribed in their copies of the text

The most influential master in the Japanese Rinzai tradition, Hakuin Ekaku (1686–1769) reestablished the rigorous koan-training methods of the great T’an- and Sung-dynasty masters of China; all modern Rinzai Zen masters trace their lineage to him and his teaching. Hakuin took the unusual step of overseeing the collection and publication of his own Zen records—a task usually left to students after the master’s death.

Complete Poison Blossoms, comprising some 450 individual pieces—the majority in verse, ranging from four-line poems to essays sufficiently long to have been published as independent texts— is a sourcebook of guidance on the path to ultimate liberation. Waddell augments these texts with clarifying introductions and background context, detailed notes explaining Hakuin’s allusions, and side remarks recorded during lectures by Hakuin’s own students in their copies of the text. Hakuin’s teaching is elusive, suggestive, and poetic, a web of mysterious pieces that encourage students to delve into the reality of Buddha-nature and to realize it themselves. Formally or informally, every piece in this collection is a koan to be chewed on, swallowed, and digested by unflagging meditation on the paradoxical meaning of the words—and what lies beyond the words.

 

NORMAN WADDELL was born in Washington, D.C. in 1940, was attracted to Japan by the works of the legendary D.T. Suzuki and his protégée R. H. Blyth, taught at Otani University for over thirty years, and was editor of the Eastern Buddhist Journal for several decades. He has published more than a dozen books on Japanese Zen Buddhism and is considered one of the finest translators of sacred texts of our time. He is the authoritative English translator of works by and about Hakuin.

Praise

Praise for Poison Blossoms from a Thicket of Thorn

Poison Blossoms from a Thicket of Thorn is an authoritative volume translated from Japanese by Norman Waddell; an essential set of texts from the great master Hakuin Ekaku (1685-1769). Hakuin’s tireless teaching and writing reinvigorated the ancient Rinzai line of Zen from China which is now a world-wide force. This book serves to illuminate his dry, edgy, practical and often funny way of teaching Zen in the contemporary world.” —Gary Snyder, Pulitzer Prize inning author of Turtle Island

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