Commentary on the Song of Awakening: A Twentieth Century Japanese Zen Master's Commentary on the Seventh Century Poem by the Chinese Ch'an Master Yung-chia Hsuan-chueh
- About the Book
The Song of Awakening (chin. Cheng-tao ke, jap. Shōdōka), is a seminal text within early Chinese Chan (jap. Zen). Written in the seventh century by the Chinese master Yung-chia Hsüan-chüeh (Jap. Yōka Genkaku, known familiarly as Yōka Daishi), this superb poem resonates with Yōka Daishi’s great awakening to the truth of reality. As such, it has had a deep influence on the understanding and practice of a long line of Chinese and Japanese Zen masters and practitioners.
Kōdō Sawaki uses the poetic expression of Shōdōka as a springboard for a wide-ranging commentary that not only elucidates the poem, but adds a rich background of Buddhist teachings and emphasizes Sawaki Roshi’s focus on upright sitting in the zazen posture as the seat of realization. Filled with humor, Japanese folk history, and sometimes a no-holds barred critique of academic and priestly posturing, Sawaki’s commentary is a pleasure to encounter.
- About the Author(s)
Kodo Sawaki, AuthorSawaki Roshi has had a great influence on Western Zen practice through the teachings of his students Taisen Deshimaru and Gudo Nishijima, as well as those of his dharma heir, Kōshō Uchiyama Roshi and his dharma heir, Shōhaku Okumura, yet Sawaki’s own teaching has rarely been translated into English. The Song of Awakening opens the door into an understanding of both a great seventh century Chan master and a great twentieth century Zen master. It offers inspiration for the reader’s personal encounter with zazen.
Tonen O'Connor, Translator