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Bankei Zen: Translations from the Record of Bankei [Paperback]

Mary Farkas , Yoshito Hakeda , Peter Haskel
5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
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Book Description

Jan. 1 1991
The eccentric Bankei has long been an underground hero in the world of Zen. At a time when Zen was becoming overly formalized in Japan, he stressed its relevance to everyday life, insisting on the importance of naturalness and spontaneity.

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About the Author

Haskel received his Ph.D. from Columbia University.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
First Sentence
When the Zen Master Bankei Butchi Kosai, founder of the Ryomonji at Aboshi in Banshu, was at the Great Training Period [held] at the Ryomonji in the winter of the third year of Genroku, there were 1,683 monks listed in the temple register. Read the first page
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Back Cover
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5.0 out of 5 stars Bankei Was Quite Original March 6 2004
Bankei Yotaku was an interesting character in our Zen heritage, at a very young age he had left home and took to the hillside. He had always been fascinated by Confucian texts, but eventually turned to Zen. He practiced for 14 hard years under various lineages, settling with the lineage of the Rinzai. He would address large audiences attending his sermons with great ease and simplicity. Usually Zen at that time had been an aristocratic practice, yet Bankei would teach absolutely anyone; a trait which has helped his teachings remain a pillar of wisdom. His style recalls the brilliance and straightforwardness of the Great Chinese masters like Joju; in fact Bankei had trained under a Chinese master for several of those 14 years, and that style was more reflected in his teaching style than that of the Rinzai of Japan in many respects.
This book explores the sayings of this enigmatic figure within a skilled and delicate approach. Expounding his now famous Unborn Buddha Mind speeches in great simplicity and conciseness. This book can illuminate our understanding in some very powerful ways, taking us back to a time that is still as relevant as yesteryear. Great Book, enjoy! If you are interested in further reading on Bankei, purchase "The Unborn: The Life and Teachings of Zen Master Bankei" by Norman Waddell. The Unborn is really like realizing that our mother is Kannon bodhisattva.
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5.0 out of 5 stars The great teachings of Master Bankei Oct. 2 2003
By A Customer
A great gem of a book for any seeker. Master Bankei's teachings revolved around the principal that we are all a part of the Unborn-here and now and that once we abide in that no other knowledge or practice is really necessary. His teachings mainly point this out from many angles based on peoples questions and issues at the time. After many years of his own struggle as a seeker he came to the realization that since everything arises from the Unborn we are all Buddhas once we really abide in the Unborn, which is possible NOW without any other knowledge. He felt that seekers distanced themselves from this very direct teaching by doing too many things like working on koans or spending a lot of time reading religious Buddhist texts, all the while missing the Unborn Buddha Mind right now that is always present. It seems hard to believe but Master Bankei very profoundly and intelligently makes a great case for this teaching in this wonderful book. I strongly recommend it. It is along the lines of the teachings of Ramana Maharshi, Nisargadatta Maharaj and more recently Eckhart Tolle (The Power of Now & Stillness Speaks).
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5.0 out of 5 stars Abiding in the Unborn Buddha Mind. June 1 2001
By tepi
BANKEI ZEN : Translations from the Record of Bankei by Peter Haskel. Edited by Yoshito Hakeda. 196 pp. New York : Grove Press, 1984.
If Dogen Zenji (1200-1253) is Zen's supersonic jet, Bankei (1622-1693) is its horse-and-buggy. But when it's simply a matter of getting from point A to point A, since what we are looking for is no further than the end of our nose, either type of conveyance will suffice.
Dogen transports us to the stratospheric heights of Zen. His thought is totally brilliant and hyper-sophisticated, and once you get a taste of him you may find yourself completely captivated. Those who may be interested might care to take a look at Kazuaki Tanahashi's fine anthology, 'Moon in a Dewdrop : Writings of Zen Master Dogen.'
Bankei, in contrast, is a very different kettle of fish. For him the sutras, the koans, and the works of the great Chinese Masters were so much waste paper we needn't be bothering our heads about. Very much a man of the people, and immensely popular in his day, his following, as Haskel tells us, "embraced nearly every segment of Japanese society : samurai with their families and retainers, merchants, artisans, farmers, servants, even gamblers and gangsters, as well as monks and nuns of all the Buddhist sects" (page xvii). All of them, in crowds that could number over a thousand, would flock from all parts of Japan to listen to his unusual teaching.
What was the teaching that held such a powerful appeal for so many different kinds of people?
Read more ›
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5.0 out of 5 stars Buy both! April 30 2004
As of this date, there are only two comprehensive English translations of this essential teaching on the nature of Zen: Norman Waddell's The Unborn: The Life and Teachings of Zen Master Bankei and Peter Haskel's Bankei Zen.
Much of what I offered in my posted review of Waddell's translation would equally apply to the Haskel text reviewed here. Subjectively, I feel that the Waddel version is a slightly more fluid read. Bankei Zen, however, offers the additional benefits of selected letters and poems including Bankei's famous "Song of the Original Mind." Photographs of his calligraphy, paintings, and intricately carved statues further enhance the text.
Both volumes were originally published in 1984, and there is inevitable overlap between the two texts. Nevertheless, they are complementary and each has its own merit. I have personally benefited from reading both.
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