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Zen Buddhism distinguishes itself by brilliant flashes of insight and its terseness of expression. The haiku verse form is a superb means of studying Zen modes of thought and expression, for its seventeen syllables impose a rigorous limitation that confines the poet to vital experience. Here haiku by Bashõ are translated by Robert Aitken, with commentary that provides a new and far deeper understanding of Bashõ's work than ever before.
In presenting themes from the haiku and from Zen literature that open the doors both to the poems and to Zen itself, Aitken has produced the first book about the relationship between Zen and haiku. His readers are certain to find it invaluable for the remarkable revelations it offers.
About the Author
Robert Aitken is the author of more than a dozen books about Buddhism, including A Zen Wave, Encouraging Words, and Taking the Path of Zen. A dedicated Buddhist for most of his life, he is a former abbot and roshi of the Honolulu Diamond Sangha in Hawaii, which he co-founded with his late wife Anne Hopkins Aitken in 1959. He now lives in retirement at the Palolo Zen Center in Honolulu.