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Iron Eyes

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The Life and Teachings of Obaku Zen Master Tetsugen Doko
By Helen J. Baroni
Iron Eyes focuses on the Japanese Zen master Tetsugen Doko (1630–1682), the best-known exponent of ¿baku in Japan and the West. ¿baku Zen arose during the seventeenth century and became the third major Zen sect in Japan. ¿baku monks encouraged the laity to deepen their knowledge of and commitment to Buddhism. Tetsugen is credited with producing the first complete wood block edition of the Chinese Buddhist scriptures in Japan. Legend has it that Tetsugen had to raise the money for the project three times: twice his great compassion led him to give away the money he had raised to the starving victims of natural disasters. This Zen story is well-known in Japan and has gained popularity among contemporary Buddhists in the West. The first part of this book offers an introduction and a series of analytical chapters describing Tetsugen’s life, work, and teachings, as well as the legends related to him. The second part comprises annotated translations of his major teaching texts, important letters and other historical documents, a selection of his poetry, and several traditional biographies.