The Japanese poet-recluse Rykan (1758-1831) is one of the most beloved figures of Asian literature, rewned for his beautiful verse, exquisite calligraphy, and eccentric character. Deceptively simple, Rykans poems transcend artifice, presenting spontaneous expressions of pure Zen spirit. Like his contemporary Thoreau, Rykan celebrates nature and the natural life, but his poems touch the whole range of human experience: joy and sadness, pleasure and pain, enlightenment and illusion, love and loneliness.
John Stevens is Professor of Buddhist Studies and Aikido instructor at Tohoku Fukushi University in Sendai, Japan. He is the author or translator of over twenty books on Buddhism, Zen, Aikido, and Asian culture. He has practiced and taught Aikido all over the world.