The Zen Works of Stonehouse: Poems and Talks of a 14th-Century Chinese Hermit
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The Zen Works of Stonehouse: Poems and Talks of a 14th-Century Chinese Hermit

4.42 of 5 stars 4.42  ·  rating details  ·  31 ratings  ·  4 reviews
One of the classic texts of Zen, essential for anyone interested in Zen practice and tradition.
Stonehouse has been called "the greatest of all Zen monks who made poetry their medium of instruction." Until now his works have rarely been available in English. Now all of the hermit monk's poetry, including the major poetic works, "Mountain Poems" and "Gathas," as well as his...more
Paperback, 248 pages
Published November 1st 1998 by Mercury House (first published July 1st 1997)
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10 stars, 200 stars, uncountable stars. The most brilliant expression of Zen in, oh 600 years. You'll want to stay up all night, every night, just drinking it in.
Mar 12, 2007 Brian rated it 5 of 5 stars
Recommends it for: 14th Century Zen Poets

The bath attendant’s toenails
are painted metallic green,
“like dragon’s scales”, I observe;
he smiles shyly.

Master Dogen wrote seven hundred years ago
of a place in the deep sea called Dragon’s Gate.
Any fish swimming through those waves
would be transformed into a dragon.

The sulphurous waters of Tassajara Zenshinji
are also a Dragon’s Gate.
None of us who take this plunge
remains unchanged.
A man enters the bath,
a dragon emerges.
A woman soaking
returns my gaze languorously
through dragon’s eyes.

The poems are beautiful - evocative of the satisfied hermit's life. The gathas are sometimes enigmatic, with obscure references, but all illuminated by Red Pine's generous footnotes. You feel the very presence of the poet, the abbot, the scholar. It is a a gem of a book to be savored and returned to again and again. The book itself is wonderful to read for its good design.
See my review of the original edition from Empty Bowl Press.
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