The Morning Star: New and Selected Zen Writings

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Counterpoint Press, 2003 - Philosophy - 288 pages
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Having practiced zazen for more than half a century, Robert Aitken sits today as the senior American Roshi, a writer and teacher of broad reputation and consequence, known for his clarity, compassion and insight, who numbers as his own teachers and associates some of the legendary figures of Japanese and American Buddhism. His serendipitous beginning as a Buddhist resulted from being a civilian prisoner of the Japanese in the Second World War, where he found R. R. Blythe, the great haiku master, and D. T. Suzuki, the most important and popular chronicler of Zen in English, as fellow detainees. After the war, Aitken returned to Japan on several occasions to study in traditional monastic settings. He has been a leader of the contemporary move to establish Zen Buddhism in the West and was a founding member of the Buddhist Peace Fellowship. With material never before collected in book form, The Morning Star includes writings from his first book, A Zen Wave, and from eight collections of essays and poems he's published over the last three decades. The introduction to this volume offers Robert Aitken's latest presentation of Zen practice, addressing the Great Matter from a historical and personal perspective.
 

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Contents

First Steps
53
The Way
61
Words in the Dojo
71
The Old Pond
87
Quail
96
The Ten Verse Kannon Sutra for Timeless Life
106
HuiNengs Think Neither Good nor Evil 723
123
Yangshans Sermon from the Third Seat
131
A Garland of Haiku
208
The Dance of Affinity
217
Verses for Zen Buddhist Practice
225
About Money
235
Eating the Blame
255
Wallace Stevens and Zen
268
Notes
277
Further Acknowledgments
287

Words from the Roshi
177
The Morning Star
200

Common terms and phrases

References to this book

About the author (2003)

Robert Aitken's introduction to Zen came in a Japanese prison camp during World War II, after he was captured as a civilian in Guam. R. H. Blyth, author of "Zen in English Literature," was imprisoned in the same camp, and in this unlikely setting Aitken began the first of several important apprenticeships. After the war Aitken returned often to Japan to study. He became friends with D. T. Suzuki, and studied with Nagakawa Soen Roshi and Yasutani Hakuun Roshi. In 1959 Robert Aitken and his wife, Anne, established a Zen organization, the Diamond Sangha, which has two zos in Hawaii. Aitken was given the title "Roshi" and authorized to teach by Yamada Koun Roshi, his current teacher, in 1974. He continues to teach and study Zen in Hawaii, where he has lived since the age of five.

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