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A Zen Wave: Basho's Haiku and Zen
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A Zen Wave: Basho's Haiku and Zen

4.12 of 5 stars 4.12  ·  rating details  ·  82 ratings  ·  6 reviews
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 ne ...more
Paperback, 192 pages
Published October 1st 2003 by Counterpoint (first published 1979)
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Manoj Saranathan
there is too much written about both haiku and zen by people who haven't the foggiest of either. no one is more competent to talk about both topics, in the same breath if you will, than aitken roshi. a zen master who also studied under the formidable rh blyth who introduced english audiences to beautifully translated haiku, this book discusses 20 odd haiku of Basho- some famous and some obscure. each haiku is handled very much like how classical koans are- with a capping verse, a commentary and ...more
I love the patience he takes with each poem, especially the attention to form and comparison to other translations.

His take on the famous Fuji poem stays with me--

A day when Fuji
is obscured by misty rain!
That's interesting.

I think most versions of this I've seen translate the word as "weird" or "strange." In this translation, the focus is not on the object that's obscured as interesting but on the day itself, somewhat (or completely) independent of Fuji--literally: "This very day, this Fuji-o
Howard Mansfield
I’ve read Aitken’s book three or four times and I’ll read it again as slowly as I can, one short chapter a morning. He is insightful about haiku, Zen and Japanese culture, but more than that he creates the kind of silence that surrounds good haiku.
David Grant
Lovely ... two masters, eyeball to eyeball.
Gasho-ho-ho in the noosphere, Aitken Roshi.
Chee Lian
This is one book whose beauty you want to revisit again and again...
Vashti Puls
Beauty comes undenieably in the moment
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Matsuo Bashō (松尾 芭蕉) was the most famous poet of the Edo period in Japan. During his lifetime, Bashō was renowned for his works in the collaborative haikai no renga form; today, he is recognized as a master of brief and clear haiku.
More about Matsuo Bashō...
The Narrow Road to the Deep North and Other Travel Sketches On Love and Barley: Haiku of Basho Basho: The Complete Haiku The Essential Basho Bashō's Haiku: Selected Poems

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