The clearest and most approachable teachings from Dogen, the most famous thinker and writer in Zen Buddhism.
Discover the teachings of the preeminent Zen Master Dogen in his own words, written down by his Dharma successor, Koun Ejo. This edition includes both the Shobogenzo Zuimonki
and translations of and commentary on Dogen's luminously evocative waka
Distinct from Dogen's similarly titled magnum opus (simply called the Shobogenzo
), the Shobogenzo Zuimonki
can be read as a highly practical manual of Buddhist practice. Consisting of straightforward and accessible teachings and making more limited use of the allusion, wordplay, and metaphor that characterize the essays in the Shobogenzo
, this work is an essential read for any student of Zen Buddhism. Among the many topics covered, Dogen especially emphasizes the following points: seeing impermanence, departing from the ego-centered self, being free from greed, giving up self-attachment, following the guidance of a true teacher, and the practice of zazen
, specifically shikantaza
, or "just sitting." Additionally, this translation of the Shobogenzo Zuimonki
has extensive notes, which help to provide you with a new way of approaching the text.
The collection of waka
poems included in this volume are a beautiful artistic expression of the Dharma. Rarely seen in this large of a collection or with commentary, this poetry offers unique insight into an important expression of Dogen's teachings. By the spring wind
my words are blown and scattered
people may see them
the song of flowers
These teachings, which have informed teachers and practitioners alike throughout the centuries, will deepen your knowledge, understanding, and experience of the Soto Zen tradition.Author:
About the Author
Eihei Dogen founded the Japanese Soto School of Zen, and is renowned as one of the world's most remarkable religious thinkers. As Shakespeare does with English, Dogen utterly transforms the language of Zen, using it in novel and extraordinarily beautiful ways in his voluminous writings. Born in 1200 to an aristocratic background, he was ordained a monk in the Japanese Tendai School in his early teens, but became dissatisfied with Japanese Buddhism. After traveling in China from 1223 to 1227, he returned to introduce to Japan the Soto lineage and the large body of Chan teaching stories, or koans, which he had thoroughly mastered. From 1233 to 1243 he taught near the cultural capital of Kyoto, then in 1243 moved to the remote northern mountains and founded the temple Eiheiji, still one of the headquarter temples of Soto Zen. There, until his illness and death in 1253, he trained a core group of monks who spread Soto Zen throughout the Japanese countryside. Dogen's writings are noted for their poetic and philosophic depth, though aimed at spiritual practitioners. His two major, massive works are Shobogenzo (True Dharma Eye Treasury) and Eihei Koroku (Dogen's Extensive Record). Although not studied for many centuries aside from Soto scholars, in modern times Dogen's writings, through translation, have become an important part of the spread of Buddhism in the West.
Shohaku Okumura is a Soto Zen priest and Dharma successor of Kosho Uchiyama Roshi. He is a graduate of Komazawa University and has practiced in Japan at Antaiji, Zuioji, and the Kyoto Soto Zen Center, and in Massachusetts at the Pioneer Valley Zendo. He is the former director of the Soto Zen Buddhism International Center in San Francisco. His previously published books of translation include Shobogenzo Zuimonki
, Dogen Zen
, Zen Teachings of Homeless Kodo
, and Opening the Hand of Thought
. Okumura is also editor of Dogen Zen and Its Relevance for Our Time
. He is the founding teacher of the Sanshin Zen Community, based in Bloomington, Indiana, where he lives with his family.