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Sword of ZenMaster Takuan and His Writings on Immovable Wisdom and the Sword Taie$
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Soho Takuan

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9780824835439

Published to Hawaii Scholarship Online: November 2016

DOI: 10.21313/hawaii/9780824835439.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM HAWAII SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.hawaii.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright Hawaii University Press, 2018. All Rights Reserved. Under the terms of the licence agreement, an individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in HSO for personal use (for details see www.universitypressscholarship.com/page/privacy-policy).date: 23 January 2019

Happenings in a Dream

Happenings in a Dream

(p.58) 3 Happenings in a Dream
Sword of Zen

Peter Haskel

University of Hawai'i Press

This chapter begins with a biographical sketch of Takuan. It shows that his life, like the difficult times in which he came of age, was marked by periods of considerable turbulence and uncertainty, and, though a dedicated Zen monk with a penchant for seclusion and rural retreat, the master encountered the sorts of extreme shifts in fortune common to many of the leading secular figures of the day. The second part of the chapter presents a selection of stories about Takuan's life that began to appear following his death. These stories were first collected in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries, with a number even included in the 1844 Takuan biography Record of the Founder of the Myriad Pines [Temple]. While some of the legends concern traditions at Tōkaiji, most present Takuan “in action,” matching wits with the shogun and the shogun's master of swordsmanship, Munenori, or offering advice to various samurai retainers. Quite apart from their inherent charm, the stories form a counterpoint of sorts to the conventional tone of Munetomo's two biographies and as such convey something of what might be called Takuan's informal Zen legacy.

Keywords:   Takuan Soho, Zen monk, biography, stories, Munetomo

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