Hakuin Ekaku

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Hakuin Ekaku (1767)

Hakuin Ekaku (白隠 慧鶴 Hakuin Ekaku; January 19, 1686 - January 18, 1769) was one of the most influential figures in Japanese Zen Buddhism. He was a pupil of Dokyo Etan, and transformed the Rinzai school from a declining tradition that lacked rigorous practice into a tradition that focused on arduous meditation and koan practice. Essentially all modern practitioners of Rinzai Zen use practices directly derived from the teachings of Hakuin.


  • You know the sound of two hands clapping; tell me, what is the sound of one hand?
    • As quoted in Wild Ivy: The Spiritual Autobiography of Zen Master Hakuin trans. Norman Waddell (2010) p. 179
  • All beings are by nature are Buddhas, as ice by nature is water. Apart from water there is no ice; apart from beings, no Buddhas. How sad that people ignore the near and search the truth afar: like someone in the midst of watercrying out in thirst: like a child of a wealthy home wandering among the poor.
    • As quoted in Teachings of the Buddha p. 207
  • Should you desire the great tranquility prepare to sweat white beads.
    • As quoted in Zen and the Art of Poker: Timeless Secrets to Transform Your Game by Larry W. Phillips
  • If you forget yourself, you become the universe.
    • As quoted in The Awakening Artist: Madness and Spiritual Awakening in Art by Patrick Howe
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