Chin'gak Kuksa Hyesim (1178-1234) was the first Zen Master dedicated to poetry in Korea. The tradition of Buddhist poetry is frequently considered by Korean literary critics to begin with his writing. This is his first collection in English translation.
Ian Haight (translator)
Ian Haight was the co-organizer and translator for the UN's global poetry readings held annually in Pusan, Korea from 2002-2004. He has been awarded translation grants from the Daesan Foundation, Korea Literary Translation Institute, and Baroboin Buddhist Foundation.
T'ae-yong Ho (translator)
T'ae-yong Ho has been awarded several translation grants from the Daesan Foundation and Korea Literary Translation Institute. With Ian Haight, he is the co-translator of Borderland Roads: Selected Poems of Ho Kyun.
"Korea's first Zen Master-poet wrote simple yet elegant poetry of the world he inhabited, both physically and spiritually, and of daily insights—a pause along the way for a deep clear breath, a moon-viewing moment, a seasonal note or a farewell poem to a departing monk. His poems speak softly and clearly, like hearing a temple bell that was struck a thousand years ago."
"Hyesim's poems: transformative as walking high granite mountains by moonlight, with fragrant herbs underfoot and a thermos of clear tea in the backpack. Their bedrock is thusness, their images' beauty is pelluucid and new, their view without limit. The shelf of essential Zen poets for American readers grows larger with this immediately indispensable collection."
"The poems are Buddhist, yes, and Zen (Sŏn) in particular, but they’re written for anyone interested in human consciousness: what it is, how it perceives the world, how it can be transformed, and what pure perceptual clarity and joy result from the realization of its ultimate transparency. Through eight hundred years Hyesim’s voice delivers the gift of his wisdom, modesty, humor, and profound understanding of the human mind."
White Pine Press