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Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf: Zen Poems of Ryokan Paperback – 13 Apr 2004


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Dewdrops on a Lotus Leaf: Zen Poems of Ryokan + Sky Above, Great Wind: The Life and Poetry of Zen Master Ryokan + One Robe, One Bowl: The ZEN Poetry of Ryo-Kan
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Product details

  • Paperback: 120 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala Publications Inc (13 April 2004)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1590301080
  • ISBN-13: 978-1590301081
  • Product Dimensions: 12.6 x 1 x 18.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 497,245 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By C. A. Davies-Griffith on 19 Aug. 2009
Format: Paperback
Bought this as a present for my boyfriend. He is a Japanese Zen Buddhist and he absolutely loves this book. I find the translation myself very easy to understand and the poems are very beautiful. This is a must buy!!
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By freddie on 16 Dec. 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Ryokan was an intriguing character who truly lived Zen. His poetry reflects this - his carefree love of life, his love of nature and the simple things in life. I must admit that I do prefer some of the translations offered in One Robe, One Bowl (translated by the same person), but this book is still worth 5 stars as it is full of wonderful poetry!
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By thomas coffey on 6 Dec. 2012
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
A shame but I couldn't get excited about any of these poems, they seemed sentimental and without that sharp jab one gets from so much else in Japanese poetry.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)

Amazon.com: 11 reviews
19 of 20 people found the following review helpful
Mad Wisdom and Compassion on a Lotus Leaf 15 Jan. 2005
By Hortensia Anderson - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
These are fresh and spare and unforgettable poems, reproduced by John Stevens with directness and fidelity to the original (or so I have been told by my multilingual friends.)

Ryokan was a nature poet but fully in touch with humanity and he had this touch in his poems such that each poem has many levels and can be appreciated through any or all.

"At night I got drunk on peach blossoms by the river.

I never cared about returning home,..."

How can you not love it? I can taste the dewdrops already...
15 of 16 people found the following review helpful
Japanese Zen poetry with little haiku! 18 Sept. 1998
By M. J. Smith - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This book is an extremely well balanced collection of poetry and drawings by Ryokan. I know no Japanese to assess the "accuracy" of the translation, but the poems all stand as poetry in their own right in English. Many poems are similar to the Chinese Zen (Chan) poetry - drawing on keen observation rather than metaphor. Others are delightful pieces in which the poet gently laughs at himself. A few poems have a didactic intent but Ryokan's understanding of Buddhism leaves little room for the Buddhist scholastics. This small book should be on the "must read" list for anyone interested in religious poetry.
13 of 15 people found the following review helpful
Very Pleasing Translation 28 Nov. 2003
By David P Oller - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
I like the way Stephens includes enough information about Ryokan to help understand the poetry. As Ryokan notes himself, outside his Zen, he has no Poetry to offer.
Ryokan refusing to take a position of a Zen Abbot, instead goes back to the place of his youth and takes hermitage. "The cold wind gathers enough fallen leaves to build my fire."
His code of living avoids flattery as much as objuragation, he teaches with a tear, plays with children, and falls in love with a young nun. All of this brings forward our own starkling humanity!
Stephens does a master presentation in bringing this material together in such an artful way as to illuminate all sides of Ryokan with that of the reader themselves. And with that the poetry comes alive.
8 of 10 people found the following review helpful
Reflections on Dew-drops 20 Feb. 2000
By RK Garnett - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This third edition(Tokyo, 1954)is created of folded rice? paper and bound by a fine green ribbon - this volume fascinates me each time I read it. Ryokwan-sama speaks through his poetry of gentle musings, of wisdom found by not searching for it, and of both happiness & despair. This translation has been made from the Chinese text by Jakob Fischer. This is certainly a labor of love which honors Ryokwan and the culture of the Orient. These contemplations and astute observations of this eccentric priest's life reach towards the zen of living. "I longed on that warm spring day, to stop the enchanted hours in their flight."
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
Distilled Excellence 16 Nov. 2008
By Moab - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Perfect. A master, of course, I found the poetry in this volume to be to the point, without flair while still remaining subtle and containing depths.
If Zen were a language, this is what it would speak.
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