Kokan Shiren (虎関師錬), 1278–1347), Japanese Rinzai Zen patriarch and celebrated poet in Chinese, was the son of an officer of the palace guard and a mother of the aristocratic Minamoto clan. Kokan studied under the celebrated Chinese monk Yishan Yining. Their relationship can be regarded as the beginning of the golden age of the Literature of the Five Mountains in Japan. He studied calligraphy under an additional Chinese master Huang Shangu. A portrait of Kokan Shiren is in the Kaizoin of the Tōfuku-ji Temple in Kyoto, Japan.
The Japanese monk Kokan Shiren dated 1343, painted by Wang Zhiweng.
Our interest in Kokan is for the similarities that many of us experience today when sharing our stones (suiseki) with friends. His experience was recorded in his essay entitled Rhymeprose on a Miniature Landscape Garden. Take a few moments to read a portion of his essay and see how well it resonates with your own experiences.
What I liked to do…
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