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3.91  ·  Rating details ·  74 ratings  ·  13 reviews
Ko Un è il maggiore poeta coreano vivente, due volte candidato al Nobel e tra i finalisti nel 2005. Poeta, saggista, critico letterario, viene chiamato in Corea “kobong”, “alto picco di montagna”, non solo per la mole di libri pubblicati, oltre centoventi, ma perché le sue opere risuonano dello stesso potere mitico di una grande montagna. Le sue poesie sono tradotte in dic ...more
Paperback, 146 pages
Published June 2013 by Nottetempo (first published 1991)
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3.91  · 
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 ·  74 ratings  ·  13 reviews

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In an earlier review

where I provide a bit of the backstory of Korean poet Ko Un (b. 1933), I mention that he was a Son (Zen) monk for a decade but left the church deeply disappointed. His disappointment was directed at the institution and some persons, but he did not renounce the teachings of Son Buddhism, nor did they stop informing his stance towards life and the world.

108 is a significant number in Buddhism, and it is the number of beads in a Buddhist
Riccardo Mainetti
Oct 08, 2013 rated it it was amazing
Ho acquistato questo libro di poesie, sulla fiducia, invogliato dalla recensione fattane dalla mia carissima amica Francesca Giuliani, profonda e insaziabile conoscitrice di libri. E' rimasto per settimane ad occhieggiare dall'applicazione Kindle del mio tablet finchè ieri non mi sono finalmente deciso e ne ho divorato le poesie. Sono poesie per lo più brevi e fulminanti. In poche righe, o meglio, com'è più corretto dire trattandosi di poesie, in pochi versi, l'autore, uno dei più famosi poeti o ...more
Jun 25, 2008 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
What?: 108 Zen Poems , by Ko Un. Foreword by Allen Ginsberg. Introduction by Thich Nhat Hanh.

The Korean poet and former Buddhist monk Ko Un is one of the great masters of the playful insight. He deploys gentle humor, irreverent wit, Zen non-sequiturs, and compassionate tenderness—sometimes in a single poem! Best read quickly, the way you eat popcorn, or popcorn shrimp.

To Mountains at dusk:
What are you?

What are you are you . . .


Grow high. The devil can't find you.
Grow deep. Buddha can
Frank Jude
Apr 12, 2010 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Zen students, serious poetry lovers
Shelves: buddhism, poetry
Ko Un, the Korean 'premier' zen poet and former Buddhist monk, presents 108 short "Zen Poems" which are meant to be read as 'koan--like mental firecrackers.' And while many most certainly do, there are also many that fall 'flat' for western ears with little fore-knowledge of Korean political, and spiritual history.

That said, I still appreciate his efforts, and savored many of the offerings in this little collection, and heartily recommend it for anyone feeling any affinity for Zen Buddhism.
Mariano Hortal
Publicado en

“Ananda. 108 poemas Zen” de Ko Un. Cuando los análisis (y las palabras) sobran

En este post hablé extensamente del poeta surcoreano Ko Un; a propósito de la lectura de “Ananda. 108 poemas Zen” opto por la simplicidad. Que mis palabras no emborronen la claridad y la sapiencia de cada verso del autor oriental. Que me convierta en simple transmisor de su obra. Una obra sencillamente magistral en su minimalismo aunque sin exención de lirismo. Basta
Nov 26, 2015 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: buddhism, poetry
This was a very nice book of Zen poems although it didn't meet my expectations after reading his wonderful book, "Flowers of the Moment."
Ko Un was born in South Korea and was one of the front runners for the Nobel Prize for Literature. He was traumatized by the lost of many of his family and friends in the Korean War. He became a a Zen monk soon after, and after his master left the monastery to get married, he tried to commit suicide. After being a monk for a decade, he returned to secular lif
Evan Lien
Jan 11, 2016 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adult, poetry
I'm only giving this four stars because i didn't understand most of it. Korean poetry is pretty far fetched for me, living in the west, but i decided to give it a shot because of the zen-based therapy i'm undergoing at the moment.
And boy did these poems make me thing.
A beautiful work of litterature, but it just happened not to me by thing.
Jul 17, 2015 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2015
Woops, I didn’t see the notes until I got to them!
It’s a nice book though, even if I didn’t ‘get’ everything.
Will reread while reading the notes!
George Spirakis
Άλλο... Διαφορετικό. Κι ανάμεσά τους κάτι μπορείς να βρεις. Θέλει απλά το χρόνο του.

"Ε, άνθρωπε, κλάψε μέχρι να σου χυθούν τα μάτια".
Patti K
This small book includes some gems but is overall uneven. Mostly irreverent takes on Zen Buddhism with surprise endings. Still worthwhile.
David Gorgone
Jun 04, 2008 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Perfect little snapshots of poetry. I am not a buddhist, but I can appreciate their brilliance.
Joe Totterdell
“I met Ko Un in Seoul in 1989 at a poetry reading. A precocious scholar, then conscripted People’s Army worker, then alms begging monk ten years, then Buddhist Newspaper Editor-in-Chief, then he took off his robes in nihilist despair. Then he became headmaster of a southern Island charity school, then prolific writer and drunk, then would-be suicide, then militant nationalist rebel against police state, then Secy. General of Association of Artists for Practical Freedom, then detainee & polit ...more
Jonathan Tennis
Oct 03, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
This is about as zen as a poet can get - ““Mountain is mountain / water is water,” Daineng chanted. / “Mountain is not mountain / water is not water,” Daineng chanted. / Eat your food. / Once you’ve eaten, go shit.” (p. 69, Mountain is Mountain)
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Ko was born Ko Untae in Gunsan, North Jeolla Province in 1933. He was at Gunsan Middle School when war broke out.
The Korean War emotionally and physically traumatized Ko and caused the death of many of his relatives and friends. Ko's hearing suffered from acid that he poured into his ears during an acute crisis in this time and it was further harmed by a police beating in 1979. In 1952, before the

Grow high. The devil can't find you.
Grow deep. Buddha can't find you.
Build a house and live there.
Gourd creepers will climb over it,
their flowers dazzling at midnight.
“A Drunkard

I've never been an individual entity.
Sixty trillion cells!
I'm a living collectivity.
I'm staggering zigzag along,
sixty trillion cells, all drunk.”
More quotes…