Beating the Cloth Drum: Letters of Zen Master Hakuin

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Shambhala Publications, Mar 20, 2012 - Religion - 256 pages
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Hakuin Ekaku (1685–1769) is one of the most influential figures in Zen Buddhism. He revitalized the Rinzai Zen tradition (which emphasizes the use of koans, or unanswerable questions, in meditation practice), and all masters of that school today trace their lineage back through him. He is responsible for the most famous of all koans: "What is the sound of one hand clapping?" He is also famous for his striking and humorous art, which he also regarded as teaching. This book provides a rare, intimate look at Hakuin the man, through his personal correspondence. Beating the Cloth Drum contains twenty-eight of Hakuin's letters to students, political figures, fellow teachers, laypeople, and friends. Each letter is accompanied by extensive commentary and notes. They showcase Hakuin's formidable, thoughtful, and sometimes playful personality—and they show that the great master used every activity, including letter-writing, as an opportunity to impart the teachings that were so close to his heart.

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To Watanabe Sukefusa Letter 1 1714
To Zen Monks Kin and Koku Letter 2 1729
To the Priest of Ryōtanji Letter 4 1742
To a Certain Layman Letter 7 1748
To Senior Monk Gin Letter 8 c 1752
Six Letters to Senior Priest Zenjo
The HakuinTōrei Letters Letters 1924 175760
To Daimyo Matsudaira Sadataka Letter 25 1760
To a Donor Letter 28 176263

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About the author (2012)

Norman Waddell is a professor of international studies at Otani University in Kyoto, Japan. He is also the translator of The Essential Teachings of Zen Master Hakuin and Zen Words for the Heart: Hakuin's Commentary on the Heart Sutra.

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