Known to many as the study of quiet stillness and introspection, Zen Buddhism distinguishes itself through brilliant flashes of insight and its terseness of expression. In The River of Heaven these concepts and pillars lend themselves to an exploration of Haiku, one of the most delicate and interpretive poetic forms in the world. The Haiku verse form, with its rigid structure and organic description, is a superb means of studying Zen modes of thought because its seventeen syllables impose a limitation that confines the poet to vital experience. In Haiku as in Buddhism, the silences are as expressive as the words.
In this volume, American Senior Zen Roshi Robert Aitken gives new insight into Haiku by poetic masters Basho, Issa, Buson, and Shiki. In presenting themes from Haiku and from Zen literature, Aitken illuminates the relationship between the two. Readers are certain to find this an invaluable and enjoyable experience for the remarkable revelation it offers.