Macmillan Childrens Publishing Group


The Life and Teachings of Zen Master Bankei, 1622-1693

Bankei; Translated by Norman Waddell; Introduction by Norman Waddell

North Point Press


Trade Paperback

In 1633, at age eleven, Bankei Yotaku was banished from his family's home because of his consuming engagement with the Confucian texts that all schoolboys were required to copy and recite. Using a hut in the nearby hills, he wrote the word Shugyo-an, or "practice hermitage," on a plank of wood, propped it up beside the entrance, and settled down to devote himself to his own clarification of "bright virtue."

He finally turned to Zen and, after fourteen years of incredible hardship, achieved a decisive enlightenment, whereupon the Rinzai priest traveled unceasingly to the temples and monasteries of Japan, sharing what he'd learned.

"What I teach in these talks of mine is the Unborn Buddha-mind of illuminative wisdom, nothing else. Everyone is endowed with this Buddha-mind, only they don't know it." Casting aside the traditional aristocratic style of his contemporaries, he offered his teachings in the common language of the people. His style recalls the genius and simplicity of the great Chinese Zen masters of the T'ang dynasty.

This revised and expanded edition contains many talks and dialogues not included in the original 1984 volume.


Praise for Unborn

“[The Unborn] is truly one of the most original developments in the entire history of Zen thought.” —D. T. Suzuki

Reviews from Goodreads

About the author

Bankei; Translated by Norman Waddell; Introduction by Norman Waddell

Norman Waddell has published translations of Suzuki and Dogen, and, most recently, Wild Ivy: The Spiritual Autobiography of Zen Master Hakuin. He lives in Japan.


Norman Waddell

From the Publisher

North Point Press

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