The hermit-monk Ryokan, long beloved in Japan both for his poetry and for his character, belongs in the tradition of the great Zen eccentrics of China and Japan. His reclusive life and celebration of nature and the natural life also bring to mind his younger American contemporary, Thoreau. Ryokan's poetry is that of the mature Zen master, its deceptive simplicity revealing an art that surpasses artifice. Although Ryokan was born in eighteenth-century Japan, his extraordinary poems, capturing in a few luminous phrases both the beauty and the pathos of human life, reach far beyond time and place to touch the springs of humanity.
About the Author
MORIHEI UESHIBA, born in Western Japan in 1883, is the founder of the popular martial art of Aikido. After mastering classical styles of judo, kendo, and jujutsu, he created Aikido, based on the spiritual teachings of the Omoto-kyo religion. After the Second World War, Morihei established the
Aikikai Foundation to promote Aikido throughout the world. Morihei died in 1969.
The translator and compiler, JOHN STEVENS, is a professor of Buddhist studies and Aikido instructor at Tohoku Fukushi Daigaku in Sendai, Japan. He is the translator of Morihei Ueshiba's seminal work, Budo, and the author of several books on Aikido and Buddhism.