Hakuin, Hakuin poetry, Buddhist, Buddhist poetry, Zen / Chan poetry,  poetry,  poetry Hakuin
Japan (1686 - 1768) Timeline
Buddhist : Zen / Chan

Poems by Hakuin
Books - Links

The Zen master Hakuin Ekaku, sometimes called Hakuin Zenji, was born Sugiyama Iwajiro in a small Japanese coastal village at the foot of Mt. Fuji.

When he was seven years old, Hakuin heard the reciting of a Buddhist sutra that described the terrors of hell. This so frightened the boy that he resolved to become a monk, in order to avoid such torments.

Though his parents opposed his decision, Hakuin took monastic vows at the age of 15.

He studied the Buddhist scriptures intensely, but was deeply shaken by reading of the painful death of a famous Chinese Chan master. The young Hakuin lost his faith in the Buddhist path for a while, hiding himself in the study of literature.

But, at the age of 22, he had his first experience of satori or enlightenment when he heard a sentence from a Buddhist scripture being recited.

After that, he dedicated himself wholeheartedly to the full realization of Nirvana, unshakable peace.

At this time, Zen Buddhism had become the court religion and, in its preeminence, lost much its inner spiritual vitality. Hakuin is credited with saving the tradition from its decline virtually single-handedly, returning Zen to its rich spiritual essence.

He organized koan training (authoring the famous koan, "What is the sound of one hand clapping?") and re-emphasized the zazen practice of sitting meditation.

Hakuin's reforms were highly effective, as seen by the profound impact Zen has in the world of spiritual practice today.

Poems by Hakuin

Recommended Books: Hakuin

Zen Poetry: Let the Spring Breeze Enter Essential Teachings of Zen Master Hakuin Wild Ivy: The Spiritual Autobiography of Zen Master Hakuin Secrets of the Blue Cliff Record: Zen Comments by Hakuin and Tenkei The Zen Koan

Related Links


A good extended biography of Hakuin.

The Zen Teachings of Hakuin

Several recorded talks given by Hakuin on Zen practice.

Theosophy Library Online - Great Teacher Series - HAKUIN

An article on Hakuin from a Theosophical perspective.

Hakuin Ekaku (1685 -1768)

A nice site with links to many of Hakuin's writings online and several beautiful Zen portraits.