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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  ·  Rating Details  ·  100 Ratings  ·  8 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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Jan 12, 2016 Lysergius rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: zen
The subject matter of this book is Zen, the human mind, and the haiku of Matsuo Basho, the greatest Japanese haiku poet.

Robert Aitken takes the reader to the heart of Basho's haiku, he shares insights with the reader, and illuminates the twists and turns of what it means to be human, to be alone, to be with friends.

This is a wonderful book written with true insight and appreciation of Basho's mastery of the haiku form, as well as his deep understanding of Zen. Please read and enjoy, only good ca
Manoj Saranathan
Jul 23, 2008 Manoj Saranathan rated it it was amazing
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
Jun 08, 2011 Caroline rated it it was amazing
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
John Fredrickson
Jul 15, 2016 John Fredrickson rated it it was amazing
This book was excellent. It is an exposition of numerous of Basho's haiku, with great sensitivity to the Japanese language and its use by Basho in expressing his Zen poetry. One learns on many fronts with this.
Howard Mansfield
Dec 18, 2011 Howard Mansfield rated it it was amazing
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
Aug 21, 2012 David Grant rated it really liked it
Lovely ... two masters, eyeball to eyeball.
Gasho-ho-ho in the noosphere, Aitken Roshi.
Chee Lian
Dec 08, 2012 Chee Lian rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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...

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