Zen Culture

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  • 1.ZEN CULTUREAnyone who examines the Zen arts is immediately struck byhow modern they seem. The ceramics of 16th-century Zenartists could be interchanged with the rugged pots of our owncontemporary crafts movement; ancient calligraphies suggestthe monochromes of Franz Kline or Willem de Kooning; theapparent nonsense and illogic of Zen parables (and No theaterand Haiku poetry) established the limitations of language longbefore the theater of the absurd; 400-year-old Zen architectureseems to be a copy of modern design ideas such as modularsizing, exposed woods, raw materials, bare walls, unclutteredspace and a California marriage of house and garden.Zen values experiencing things over analyzing them. Perhaps ifwe can take the power of direct perception, sharpened by thedevices of Zen art, back to everyday activities, we will find abeauty in common objects that we previously ignored.Selected ReviewsThe notoriously grumpy Kirkus Reviews said, Thomas Hooverhas a considerable gift for expressing his appreciation andunderstanding of various arts associated with Zen. . . . Theseare deftly treated, with a concise synopsis of the historicaldevelopment of each; and together Hoovers discussionsprovide an excellent introduction to the aesthetics of Japaneseculture.Library Journal said, Hoover covers the ground in an easy andinformative way, describing the origins of Zen itself and the Zenroots of swordsmanship, architecture, food, poetry, drama,ceramics, and many other areas of Japanese life. The book ispacked with facts, the bibliography is excellent, the illustrationsfew but most appropriate, and the style clear and smooth. Amost useful book for all collections.

2. Asian Studies declared, Highly recommended. ZEN CULTUREmoves easily from the political climate that gave rise to Zen tothe cultural areas art, architecture, theatre, literature, flowerarrangement, design, archery, swordsmanship where Zen hasmanifested itself.As for the influence of the Zen aesthetic, the Houston Chroniclesaid, Hoover suggests we need only look around. Modernfurniture is clean, simple lines in unstained, unadorned woods.And that old fad became a habit, houseplants. These are allexpressions of ideas born with Zen: understatement,asymmetry, intuitive perception, nature worship, disciplinedreserve.Highly recommended, said The Center for Teachers of AsianStudies.Western intellectuals have tried to represent the height ofBuddhist mysticism within the pages of mere books, reducing anineffable experience into a written report. Predictably suchattempts have failed miserably. ZEN CULTURE by ThomasHoover comes the closest to succeeding, said Hark Publishing.ZEN CULTURE, concerned as it is with the process ofperception as much as with actual works of art, can open oursense so that we experience anew the arts of both East andWest, ancient and modern. declared the Asian Mail.And to go multi-media, NYC-FM in New York said, Hoovertakes us on a grand tour of Zen archery and swordsmanship,flower arranging, drama, food, gardening, painting, poetry,architecture. His book is essentially one by a connoisseur. 3. BOOKS BY THOMAS HOOVERNonfictionZen CultureThe Zen ExperienceFictionThe MoghulCaribbeeWall Street Samurai (The Samurai Strategy)Project DaedalusProject CyclopsLife BloodSyndromeAll free as e-books atwww.thomashoover.info 4. Throughout the entire Far East of China, Korea, and Japan, wesee the system of a unique culture whi ch originated in the sixthwhich fourteenthcentury, reached its meridian in the thirteenth and fourteenthcenturies and began to decline in the seventeenth century, but century,which is still kept up in Japan even in this day of materialism andmechanization. It is called Zen Culture.CultureSOHAKU O GATA, Z en for the West ZEN CULTURE Thomas HooverRandom House New YorkCopyright 1977 by Thomas HooverAll rights reserved under International and Pan-AmericanCopyright Conventions. Published in the United States byRandom House, Inc., New York, and simultaneously in Canadaby Random House of Canada Limited, Toronto.ISBN 0-394-41072-6Reissued by arrangement with Random House, Inc.,New YorkKey Words:Author: Thomas HooverTitle: Zen CultureZen History, Haiku, Zen, Ceramics, Archery, Landscape Garden,Stone Garden, Ink Landscape, Zen Architecture, Sword, Katana,No Theater, Noh Theater, Japanese Tea Ceremony, TeaCeremony, Flower arranging, Ikebana, Zen Ceramic Art, Raku,Shino, Ryoanji-ji 5. PERMISSIONSGrateful acknowledgment is made to the following for permissionto reprint previously published material:AMS Press, Inc.: Two three-line poems from page 75 of Diaries ofCourt Ladies of Old Japan; Doubleday & Company, Inc.: EightHaiku poems from An Introduction to Haiku by Harold G.Henderson. Copyright 1958 by Harold G. Henderson; TheHokuseido Press Co. Ltd.: Poem on page 35 of The Kobin Waka-Shu, translated by H. H. Honda. Poem on page 82 of History ofHaiku, Vol. II by R. H. Blyth; Penguin Books Ltd.: A tanka from IseMonogatari by Ariwara Narihira. Reprinted from page 71 of ThePenguin Book of Japanese Verse, translated by Geoffrey Bownasand Anthony Thwaite (1964). Copyright 1974 by GeoffreyBownas and Anthony Thwaite; Shambala Publications, Inc.(Berkeley, California): Poems on pages 15 and 18 of The Sutra ofHui-Neng; Stanford University Press: Poem on page 91 of AnIntroduction to Japanese Court Poetry by Earl Miner; Charles E.Tuttle Company, Inc.: Three lines of verse from page 130 of TheNoh Drama; University of California Press: Four-line Haiku poemfrom page 104 of The Year of My Life: A Translation of IssasOraga Haru, translated by Nobuyuki Yuasa. Copyright I960,1972 by The Regents of the University of California.AcknowledgmentsTHE AUTHORS THANKS go to Anne Freedgood for editing themanuscript and for her many helpful suggestions; to ProfessorRonald F. Miller for critical advice on things Western, ranging fromart to aesthetics; to Professor Gary D. Prideaux for introducing theauthor to both Japan and Japanese linguistics; to Tatsuo andKiyoko Ishimoto for assistance in interpreting Japanesearchitecture; and to others who have graciously reviewed themanuscript at various stages and provided helpful suggestions,including Julie Hoover, Lynn Grifo, Anna Stern and Ellen OHara. Iam also grateful for guidance from Professors Shigeru Matsugamiand Takashi Yoshida, formerly of Tottori University, and from thegarden artist Masaaki Ueshima. The insights of yet others, lost inyears of questioning and research, are acknowledged here inspirit if not, unfortunately, in name. 6. Japanese ChronologyJOMON CULTURE (2000 B.C. [?]-ca. 300 B.C. )YAYOI PERIOD (ca. 300 B.c-ca. A. D. 300) .c-MOUND T OMB ERA (ca. A. D. 300-552) 300- (552-ASUKA PERIOD (552-645)Buddhism introduced (552)Chinese government and institutions copied(645-EARLY NARA PERIOD (645-710)(710-LATE NARA PERIOD (710-794)Japan ruled from replica of Chinese capital of Chang-an built atNara (710)Bronze Buddha largest in world dedicated at Nara (752)Compilation of early poetry anthology Manyoshu (780)Scholarly Buddhist sects dominate NaraHEIAN PERIOD (794-1185) (794-Capital established at Heian-kyo (Kyoto) (794)Saicho (767-822) introduces Tendai Buddhism from China (806)Kukai (774-835) introduces Shingon Buddhism from China (808)Last mission to Tang court ends direct Chinese influence (838)Tale of Genji written by Lady Murasaki (ca. 1002-1019)Honen (1133-1212) founds Pure Land, or Jodo, sect (1175)Taira clan takes control of government, ousting aristocracy (1159)Minamoto clan replaces Taira (1185)(1185-KAMAKURA PERIOD (1185-1333)Warrior outpost in Kamakura becomes effective capital (1185)Eisai (1141-1215) introduces koan-oriented Rinzai sect of Zenon Kyushu (1191)Minamoto Yoritomo (1147-1199) becomes shogun (1192)Hojo clan assumes real power in Kamakura (1205)Shinran (1173-1262) founds rival Amidist sect called True PureLand, or Jodo Shin (1224) 7. Dogen (1200-1253) founds zazen-oriented Soto Zen (1236)Nichiren (1222-1282) founds new sect stressing chants to LotusSutra (1253)ASHIKAGA PERIOD (1133-1573)(1133-Hojo regency ended; Kamakura destroyed (1333)Emperor Godaigo briefly restores imperial rule (1334)Ashikaga Takauji (1305-1358) ousts Godaigo, who establishesrival court (1336)Takauji becomes shogun, beginning Ashikaga era proper (1338)Muso Soseki (1275-1351) convinces Takauji to found sixty-sixZen temples throughout Japan (1338)Landscape gardens evolve to reflect Zen aesthetic idealsAshikaga Yoshimitsu (1358-1408) establishes relations withMing China (1401)Zeami (1363-1443), encouraged by Yoshimitsu, creates No theaterGolden Pavilion built by Yoshimitsu (begun 1394)Sung monochromes imported, inspiring re-creation of Chinese schools (fourteenth century)Yoshimasa (1435-1490) becomes shogun (1443)Onin War begins, to devastate Kyoto for ten years (1467)Silver Pavilion built by Yoshimasa; Zen architecture (1482)Tea ceremony begins to take classic shape as a celebration ofZen aestheticsSesshu Toyo (1420-1506), greatest Japanese landscape artistAbstract stone gardens appear (ca. 1490)General anarchy envelops country (ca. 1500)Portuguese discover Japan, introduce firearms (1542)Francis Xavier arrives to preach (1549)Ashikaga shogunate overthrown by Oda Nobunaga (1534-1582)MOMOYAMA PERIOD (1573-1615) (1573-Nobunaga begins unification of Japan (1573) Nobunagaassassinated (1582)Hideyoshi (1536-1598) assumes control and continues unification(1582)Sen no Rikyu (1520-1591) propagates Zen aesthetics throughtea ceremonyCity of Edo (Tokyo) founded (1590)Hideyoshi unsuccessfully invades Korea, returns with Korean ceramic artists (1592) 8. Momoyama Castle built by Hideyoshi, giving name to the age(1594)Rise of elaborate arts in opposition to Zen aesthetic idealsTokugawa Ieyasu (1542-1616) appointed shogun (1603)Ieyasu defeats forces supporting Hideyoshis heir (1615)(1615-T OKUGAWA PERIOD (1615-1868)Ieyasu founds Tokugawa shogunate (1615)Daimyo forced to begin system of attendance on Tokugawa in EdoBasho (1644