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.
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.
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.