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Ryokan: Zen Monk-Poet of Japan
Ryokan
Ryokan (1758-1831), a Buddhist monk in the Zen sect, was a major figure in Tokugawa poetry. Though a Zen master, he never headed a temple but chose to live alone in simple huts and to support himself by begging. His poems are mainly a record of his daily activities—of chores, lonely snowbound winters, begging expeditions to town, meetings with friends, romps with the village children. At the same time they show us how rich a spiritual and intellectual life a man could enjoy in the midst of poverty.
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