Zen Sayings of Kodo Sawaki

Hohm Press
Pages: 230 pages
Size: Paperback 5 x 7 inches

ISBN: 978-1-942493-70-9

Kōdō Sawaki Roshi [1880–1965] was commonly referred to as “Homeless Kōdō” due to his nomadic lifestyle. In the tradition of Soto Zen, which emphasizes zazen (sitting meditation practice) above the use of texts and koans, he is one of the most influential teachers of the twentieth century. In this book, hundreds of pith sayings taken from his wide-ranging teachings have been carefully compiled and grouped according to subject by one of his closest students. Few of his works have been translated into European languages. Of all his books, perhaps it is To You, (enthusiastically received in both French and German) which best captures his contribution to the tradition.

While Kōdō Sawaki Rōshi is a lesser-known teacher in the West, some of his disciples, most notably Kōshō Uchiyama Rōshi (who collected these sayings) and Taisen Deshimaru Rōshi both had many Western disciples, who in turn have brought the practice to literally hundreds of centers and thousands of practitioners in North and South America and Europe. His teaching is at the same time both completely faithful to the Buddhist ancestors and absolutely relevant to modern predicaments. Are you worried about your career? Fighting with your spouse? Concerned about money? Complaining about how busy you are? Homeless Kōdō has a piece of advice for you.

This first English-language version is a joint effort by a distinguished team of Zen practitioners and translators: Muhō Nöelke and Reihō Jesse Haasch. Muho previously translated the Japanese version into German and is the first Westerner to hold the post as abbot of a major Japanese Zen monastery, Antaiji. There, Kōdō Sawaki himself also served as the abbot from 1949 until his death in 1965.

While a primary guide for the Zen practitioner, Kōdō Sawaki Roshi has an appeal to those who are decidedly irreligious, based in his irreverence and criticism of hollow traditions. He ruthlessly challenges political and societal conformity, consistently referring his readers back to the essence tenets of Zen.