Filed in Zen (Chan)

Reading Back

Joanne Kyger

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I kept a journal when I went to Japan in January of 1960 to join my husband-to-be, a Beat poet and student of Rinzai Zen living in Kyoto. I continued keeping a journal during the four years I spent therean account of housewifely copings with an unfamiliar culture, social doings of the foreign community, experiences of practicing meditation, voices of the lineage of writing I wanted to become familiar with, and the exhausting question “Who is this self?” plus a few jokes. Reading back some thirty years later is to acquaint myself again with this somewhat brash but unsure person and to recall the beauty and severity of the practice of Rinzai Zen at Daitoku-ji, one of the greatest historical centers of Japanese Buddhism, in Kyoto.

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