Buddhism Dōgen
by
Taigen Leighton
  • LAST MODIFIED: 31 August 2015
  • DOI: 10.1093/obo/9780195393521-0063

Introduction

Eihei Dōgen (b. 1200–d. 1253) was a Japanese monk, ordained in Tendai, who visited China in 1223–1227 and returned to teach in the Caodong/Sōtō tradition. Considered the founder of the Japanese Sōtō school, his large body of writings are noted for their philosophical depths and evocative, poetic quality. Dōgen’s practice emphasizes zazen, or sitting meditation as a dynamic expression of universal, underlying Buddha nature. He established Eiheiji monastery, still one of the two headquarter temples of the Sōtō school, and emphasized the application of meditative awareness to everyday activities in the monastery, such as cooking and cleaning. Dōgen was most important historically for training a cadre of monks, who over the next several generations spread Sōtō Zen widely in the Japanese countryside. Dōgen’s writings express Mahayana perspectives of interconnectedness and nonduality and famously address the deep awareness and practice of temporal complexity in his teaching of “being time.” Although Dōgen is noted for his meditation teaching, he also wrote collections of koans, and his mastery of the Song Chan encounter dialogue, or koan literature, is remarkable. With a great deal of his writings involving various styles of commentary on the traditional encounter dialogues, he should be regarded as the introducer of this koan literature to Japan. Historically, from the century after his death, his writings were read only by Sōtō priest scholars until they were popularized in the early 20th century. Translations of Dōgen’s writings and spread of Sōtō practice centers have been important to the spread of Buddhism in the West, accompanied by a plethora of contemporary writings about Dōgen.

Historical Context

Dōgen’s teaching career has been a subject of scholarly controversy. After returning from China in 1227 he established a temple just south of Kyoto where he taught from 1233 to 1243. In 1243, for reasons unclear, he abruptly relocated his whole community to the remote mountains of Echizen (current Fukui) in northern Japan, where he established Eiheiji and taught until his final illness in 1252. Scholars have traditionally debated the primacy of a reputed “early Dōgen” and “late Dōgen,” with some extolling the former for his inclusive, universal teaching and critiquing the latter for his exclusivist monastic emphasis, while others have considered only the latter phase as worthy for its emphasis on karma and ethics. Current scholarship considers the reality as more complex, with primary shifts a matter of varied genres and audiences, rather than any major changes of philosophy. Dōgen is considered the founder of one of the Kamakura period “new schools” that rebelled against the Heian establishment Tendai and Shingon schools. His influences include both traditional Mahayana teachings and the Chinese Chan tradition, in both of which he was extremely well versed.

Career and Biography

Kawamura 1975 studies the traditional sectarian hagiography Kenzeiki, not published until two centuries after Dōgen. Kim 2004 is an insightful work on Dōgen’s thought and practice and remains the best general English introduction to Dōgen, including a good chapter on Dōgen’s life. Kōdera 1980 presents with commentary the major text relating to Dōgen’s study in China. Bielefeldt 1985 is an important article that reframes modern Dōgen studies and views of his life from an informed historical context rather than sectarian Sōtō dogma. Heine 1986 analyzes the critical biographical event of Dōgen’s enlightenment experience in China. Bodiford 1993 presents a comprehensive scholarly overview of Dōgen’s career. Leighton 2004 focuses on aspects of Dōgen’s career related to his later Echizen years. Heine 2006 argues against views of Dōgen’s career in terms of “early and late” as simplistic and describes a nuanced approach, including nine phases in his career.

  • Bielefeldt, Carl. “Recarving the Dragon: History and Dogma in the Study of Dōgen.” In Dōgen Studies. Edited by William R. LaFleur, 21–53. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1985.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    A seminal article in contemporary Dōgen studies that reviews and critiques traditional sectarian views of Dōgen’s life and writings from modern historical perspectives.

    Find this resource:

  • Bodiford, William. Sōtō Zen in Medieval Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1993.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    This astute discussion of the development of Sōtō Zen in the few centuries after Dōgen includes an excellent chapter reviewing Dōgen’s life and career, and further material on his major disciples and the after-effects of Dōgen’s teaching.

    Find this resource:

  • Heine, Steven. “Dōgen Casts Off ‘What’: An Analysis of Shinjin Datsuraku.” Journal of the International Association of Buddhist Studies 9.1 (1986): 53–70.

    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

    Discussion of the supposed incident of Dōgen’s awakening in China and its relation to shinjin datsuraku, “Dropping off body and mind,” a phrase used often throughout his writings to describe zazen and enlightenment.

    Find this resource:

    • Heine, Steven. Did Dōgen Go to China? What He Wrote and When He Wrote It. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

      DOI: 10.1093/0195305701.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

      Gives a detailed, nuanced, and illuminating view of Dōgen’s teaching career, criticizing the “early” and “late” Dōgen model. Heine claims that the shifts in Dōgen’s teaching are mostly reflections of altering genres of talks or writings, as well as shifting audiences.

      Find this resource:

    • Kawamura, Kōdō. Shohon taikō Eihei kaizan Dōgen zenji gyōjō Kenzeiki. Tokyo: Taishūkan Shoten, 1975.

      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

      Textual study of the variant Kenzeiki texts, the first biography, or rather sectarian hagiography, source of much of the traditional account of Dōgen’s life, not published until 1472 by Kenzei, fourteenth abbot of Eiheiji, then further embellished in the 18th century by Menzan Zuihō.

      Find this resource:

      • Kim, Hee Jin. Eihei Dōgen: Mystical Realist. Boston: Wisdom, 2004.

        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        Highly insightful and comprehensive overview of Dōgen’s life in the second chapter. Still the most useful introduction to Dōgen’s work, after its original publication as Dōgen Kigen: Mystical Realist in 1975 (Tucson: University of Arizona Press).

        Find this resource:

      • Kōdera, Takashi James. Dōgen’s Formative Years in China: An Historical Study and Annotated Translation of the “Hōkyō-ki.” Boulder, CO: Prajñā, 1980.

        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        Fully annotated translation and discussion of Dōgen’s fascinating notes on his formative study in China with his teacher Tiantong Rujing, likely written in Dōgen’s later years. Includes the original Chinese text in an appendix.

        Find this resource:

      • Leighton, Taigen Dan. “Introduction.” In Dōgen’s Extensive Record: A Translation of the Eihei Kōroku. Translated by Taigen Dan Leighton and Shohaku Okumura. Boston: Wisdom, 2004.

        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        Introduction contains a summary of Dōgen’s career, including a discussion of his leading disciples and how major writings fit together.

        Find this resource:

      Chan/Zen Background

      Dōgen frequently cites the Chan encounter dialogues lore, and he inherited and often celebrates Zen transmission, including his own from the Caodong/Sōtō lineage. The range of his Caodong tradition is examined in Cleary 1980. Kagamishima 1985 notes the Chan references in Dōgen’s teaching. Faure 1987 argues that Dōgen was influenced by the need to respond to the earlier Japanese Daruma school and its influence on his disciples. Ishii 1991 comments on Dōgen’s allusions to Chan sources, including Tiantong Hongzhi. Leighton 2015 includes many commentaries by Dōgen on teachings attributed to the Caodong founder Dognshan. Leighton 2000 presents poetic writings on practice by Hongzhi, with introduction to their context in the Caodong/ Sōtō tradition. Schlütter 2008 discusses Hongzhi’s silent illumination meditation praxis, and critiques of it from the major Linji/ Rinzai figure Dahui. Schlütter 2008 also presents a helpful analysis of Song Caodong history and its anomalies. Heine 2012 presents good articles on varied historical viewpoints previous to and after Dōgen.

      • Cleary, Thomas, trans. Timeless Spring: A Sōtō Zen Anthology. Tokyo: Weatherhill, 1980.

        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        An anthology with introductions of primary writings from significant figures in the Caodong lineage back to its 8th-century progenitor Shitou/Sekitō. As with many of Cleary’s works, sources are not clearly cited, but his translations are incisive and informative.

        Find this resource:

      • Faure, Bernard. “The Daruma-shu, Dōgen, and Sōtō Zen.” Monumenta Nipponica 42.1 (Spring 1987): 25–55.

        DOI: 10.2307/2385038Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

        Important, helpful article on the origins of many of Dōgen’s students, including major disciples with the Japanese proto-Zen Daruma school, whose antinomian views are argued to have strongly impacted Dōgen’s teaching. His emphasis on practice and occasional harsh language dispelled Daruma style views and their related traditional teachings.

        Find this resource:

        • Heine, Steven, ed. Dōgen: Textual and Historical Studies. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

          DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199754465.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          This volume is an important contribution with helpful essays by current academic scholars. Commentaries on interesting aspects of Dōgen’s historical influences are by Ishii Shudō on Song Chan, Albert Welter on Chinese syncretism, and Carl Bielefeldt on traditions of higher knowledge and powers. Looking back from Dōgen’s future, William Bodiford addresses Sōtōshū hagiography and Ishii Seijun treats contemporary Dōgen studies.

          Find this resource:

        • Ishii, Shūdō. Dōgen Zen no seiritsu-shiteki kenkyū. Tokyo: Daizō Shuppan, 1991.

          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          Ishii, another prominent Japanese Sōtō scholar, provides historical and textual analysis of Dōgen’s relationship to his Chan context, especially noting the importance of Tiantong Hongzhi (b. 1091–d. 1157).

          Find this resource:

        • Kagamishima, Genryū. Dōgen Zenji to sono shūhen. Tokyo: Daitō Shuppansha, 1985.

          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          Examination of Dōgen’s citations of his Chan sources by an eminent 20th-century Dōgen scholar.

          Find this resource:

        • Leighton, Taigen Dan, ed. Cultivating the Empty Field: The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi. Rev. ed. Translated by Taigen Dan Leighton and Yi Wu. Boston: Tuttle, 2000.

          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          Practice writings and selected verses from Tiantong Hongzhi (b. 1091–d. 1157), the most influential Caodong (Sōtō) teacher in the century before Dōgen, whom Dōgen quotes and comments on extensively. Originally published in 1991 (San Francisco: North Point).

          Find this resource:

        • Leighton, Taigen Dan. Just This Is It: Dongshan and the Practice of Suchness. Boston: Shambhala, 2015.

          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          Varied commentary on major koans related to Dongshan, the 9th-century founder of Dōgen’s Caodong (Sōtō) lineage. Dongshan was an important influence on Dōgen. This volume includes many commentaries by Dōgen on the Dongshan material.

          Find this resource:

        • Schlütter, Morten. How Zen Became Zen: The Dispute over Enlightenment and the Formation of Chan Buddhism in Song-Dynasty China. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 2008.

          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          Schlütter focuses on the Song period Chan dispute between the Caodong “silent illumination” praxis (most notably expressed by Hongzhi) and Dahui’s Linji gongan (koan) approach aimed at producing enlightenment experiences. Schlütter presents historical evidence arguing that the Caodong lineage, later transmitted to Dōgen, was reinvented in the 11th century.

          Find this resource:

        Dōgen’s Writings

        Shōbōgenzō (True dharma eye treasury) is Dōgen’s most celebrated work, with extended essays elaborately commenting on particular Buddhist themes, images, or Chan teaching stories. The fullest modern edition (from 1690) includes all ninety-five essays included in all the many previous editions. Shōbōgenzō is written in Japanese kana syllabary and features challenging poetic discourse with extensive wordplay, puns, and erudite comments on Buddhist and Chan teachings. Dōgen’s other major work, Eihei Kōroku (Dōgen’s extensive record), only slightly shorter than the Shōbōgenzō, features his much shorter sermons recorded in Chinese and presented to his disciples in the Dharma hall, mostly from after the 1243 move to Echizen. Also included are informal talks and letters to students, a collection of ninety koans with Dōgen’s verse comments, and all of Dōgen’s Chinese verse. Dōgen’s other works include Eihei Shingi, a collection of his Chinese writings on monastic practices and standards; Shōbōgenzō Zuimonki (not to be confused with the long series of essays usually celebrated as Shōbōgenzō), a collection of informal talks on practice; and Hōkyō-ki, a collection of his notes while studying in China. Regarding Japanese and Chinese original texts, Sakai, et al. 1988–1993 and Kosaka and Kakuzen 1989 present good versions of Dōgen’s complete works by scholars from Komazawa University. Mizuno 1993 is a convenient small-format translation of Shōbōgenzō originally published in 1973. Ōkubo 1970 is a highly respected edition of Dōgen’s complete works.

        • Kosaka, Kiyū, and Suzuki Kakuzen, eds. Dōgen Zenji Zenshū. 7 vols. Tokyo: Shunjūsha, 1989.

          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

          Complete annotated rendition of Dōgen’s work by scholars from Komazawa University, with modern Japanese translations for many writings, though not Shōbōgenzō.

          Find this resource:

          • Mizuno, Yaoko, ed. Shōbōgenzō. 4 vols. Tokyo: Iwanami Shoten, 1993.

            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

            This is a convenient though reliable small-format paperback edition of the Shōbōgenzō.

            Find this resource:

          • Ōkubo, Dōshū. Dōgen Zenji Zenshū. 2 vols. Tokyo: Chikuma Shobō, 1970.

            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

            Not a Sōtō scholar, Ōkubo carefully strives to retain the original textual characteristics of the proof texts, and this edition is still commonly cited. No modern Japanese translations included.

            Find this resource:

            • Sakai, Tokugen, Kagamishima Genryū, and Sakurai Shūyū. Dōgen Zenji Zenshū. 7 vols. Tokyo: Shunjūsha, 1988–1993.

              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

              Reliable annotated editions of the texts with many explanations and glosses of Buddhist vocabulary, with translations of Chinese passages into modern Japanese. Kagamishima is one of the foremost 20th-century Dōgen scholars.

              Find this resource:

              Shōbōgenzō

              A great many respectable translations of essays from this major work have appeared (including many that could not be included below), although others have been quite inadequate paraphrases. Any one rendition usually cannot convey all the poetic overtones and nuances of meaning of this complex work, so it is most helpful to study a few reasonable translations in conjunction. The online work in progress from Soto Zen Text Project perhaps most fully unpacks the original with excellent scholarly annotation. The Tanahashi complete version (Tanahashi 2010) is welcome, as the author’s somewhat interpretive and literary renditions usually fairly accurately convey Dōgen’s meaning. This complete edition includes materials from Tanahashi’s three previous useful volumes of Shōbōgenzō translations. The Waddell and Abe 2002 renditions of what are often considered the key Shōbōgenzō fascicles are well annotated, accurate, and in clear English. Although they first appeared in the 1970s in “The Eastern Buddhist” (with Kyoto school philosophical perspectives), the Waddell and Abe versions are still among the best translations of Dōgen. Cleary 1986 is also useful, with idiosyncratic but often highly insightful renditions of difficult phrases. Cook 2002 is another useful rendition. Nishijima and Cross1994–1999 includes all ninety-five of the modern, fullest versions of Shōbōgenzō, but the English is often very awkward and unclear or misleading. Nevertheless, this edition contains useful literal translations and helpful footnotes. Nearman 2007 is another complete translation, practice-oriented rather than academic, conveniently available for download. Yokoi and Victoria 1976 consists of the interesting twelve-fascicle edition from Dōgen’s later years, emphasizing karma and ethical conduct.

              • Bielefeldt, Carl, and Griffith Foulk, eds. Soto Zen Text Project. Translated by William Bodiford, John McRae, and Stanley Weinstein. Stanford, CA: Ho Center for Buddhist Studies, Stanford University.

                Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                This remains incomplete, but new Shōbōgenzō fascicles appear regularly, and this is one of the most accurate and fully annotated presentations of Dōgen, translated by highly esteemed academic scholars.

                Find this resource:

                • Cleary, Thomas, trans. Shōbōgenzō: Zen Essays by Dōgen. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1986.

                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  Includes helpful introductions to well-selected fascicles and highly insightful, provocative, but idiosyncratic renderings, such as “The Whole Works” for the essay “Zenki,” elsewhere translated as “Total Dynamic Functioning.”

                  Find this resource:

                • Cook, Francis. How to Raise an Ox: Zen Practice as Taught in Zen Master Dōgen’s “Shōbōgenzō.” Boston: Wisdom, 2002.

                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  Useful selection of fascicles, some not translated in other selected editions, including “Raihai Tokuzui” (Paying homage and acquiring the essence), one of the strongest arguments for women’s full spiritual capacity and against sexual discrimination in all of traditional Buddhism. Earlier edition published in 1978 (Los Angeles: Center Publications).

                  Find this resource:

                • Nearman, Hubert, trans. The Shōbōgenzō, or, the Treasure House of the Eye of the True Teaching: A Trainee’s Translation of the Great Master Dōgen’s Spiritual Masterpiece. Mount Shasta, CA: Shasta Abbey, 2007.

                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  A useful, explicitly practitioner-oriented translation of the ninety-five-fascicle Shōbōgenzō. Available online.

                  Find this resource:

                • Nishijima, Gudo Wafu, and Chodo Cross. Master Dogen’s Shobogenzo. 4 vols. London: Windbell, 1994–1999.

                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  A useful translation of the complete ninety-five-fascicle Shōbōgenzō.

                  Find this resource:

                • Tanahashi, Kazuaki, ed. and trans. Treasury of the True Dharma Eye: Zen Master Dōgen’s Shōbō Genzō. 2 vols. Boston: Shambhala, 2010.

                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  Tanahashi’s translations feature practice perspectives, as they were prepared in collaboration with various senior American Zen practitioners, mostly from the San Francisco Zen Center. This complete edition includes materials from Tanahashi’s three previous useful volumes of Shōbōgenzō translations: Moon in a Dewdrop: Writings of Zen Master Dōgen, edited and translated by Kazuaki Tanahashi (San Francisco: North Point, 1985); Enlightenment Unfolds: Life and Work of Zen Master Dōgen, edited and translated by Kazuaki Tanahashi (Boston: Shambhala, 1998); Beyond Thinking: Meditation Guide by Zen Master Dōgen, edited and translated by Kazuaki Tanahashi (Boston: Shambhala, 2004).

                  Find this resource:

                • Waddell, Norman, and Masao Abe, trans. The Heart of Dōgen’s Shōbōgenzō. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2002.

                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  These are among the earliest but still among the most accurate and graceful translations, with helpful annotation, first appearing in the 1970s in “The Eastern Buddhist.” These express perspectives from the Kyoto school philosophical appreciation of Dōgen.

                  Find this resource:

                • Yokoi, Yūhō, and Daizen Victoria, trans. Zen Master Dōgen: An Introduction with Selected Writings. New York: Weatherhill, 1976.

                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  This twelve-fascicle edition is mostly from Dōgen’s later years, emphasizing karma and ethical conduct. Considered the true teachings of Dōgen by Critical Buddhism advocates.

                  Find this resource:

                Eihei Kōroku, Eihei Shingi, Zuimonki, and Others

                Eihei Kōroku (Leighton and Okumura 2004) is almost as long as Shōbōgenzō, and arguably as important to understanding Dōgen, containing most of what we know of his teaching after leaving Kyoto in 1243. Written in Chinese rather than the kana of Shōbōgenzō, it features all his formal jōdō (Dharma hall discourses), but also includes informal talks, a collection of ninety koans with verse comments, and all of his Chinese poetry, including some from his student days in China. This volume includes an extensive introduction and essays by Steven Heine; John Daidō Loori on Dōgen’s koan teachings; and Tenshin Reb Anderson on the practice of reading Dōgen. Eihei Shingi (Leighton and Okumura 1996) is a collection of all the Chinese writings on monastic standards, including the celebrated “Instructions for the Cook” and “Standards for the Temple Administrators.” Helpfully, the translators have participated in monastic practice using versions of these standards; descriptions of procedures and ritual instructions are often stilted and inaccurate in renditions of such writings from scholars without relevant experience. Shōbōgenzō Zuimonki (Okumura 1987 and Cleary 1980), not to be confused with the more discursive essays commonly referred to as Shōbōgenzō and discussed above, are popular and informal practice talks given in Kyoto. Kōdera 1980 presents Dōgen’s notes from his youthful studies in China. Helpfully, this volume includes the original Chinese text in an appendix. Heine 1997 includes all of Dōgen’s Japanese poetry and selections from the Chinese verses, with commentary.

                • Cleary, Thomas, trans. Record of Things Heard: The “Shōbōgenzō Zuimonki,” Talks of Zen Master Dōgen as Recorded by Zen Master Ejō. Boulder, CO: Prajñā, 1980.

                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  Another useful translation of these popular Dōgen talks (see also Okumura 1987).

                  Find this resource:

                • Heine, Steven. The Zen Poetry of Dōgen: Verses from the Mountain of Eternal Peace. Boston: Tuttle, 1997.

                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  Includes the complete collection of Dōgen’s Japanese poetry, or waka, and also a selection of his Chinese poetry, all with commentary.

                  Find this resource:

                • Kōdera, Takashi James. Dōgen’s Formative Years in China: An Historical Study and Annotated Translation of the “Hōkyō-ki.” Boulder, CO: Prajñā, 1980.

                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  Fully annotated translation and discussion of Dōgen’s fascinating notes on his formative study in China with his teacher Tiantong Rujing, possibly actually written in Dōgen’s later years. Includes the original Chinese text in an appendix.

                  Find this resource:

                • Leighton, Taigen Daniel, and Shohaku Okumura, trans. Dōgen’s Pure Standards for the Zen Community: A Translation of Eihei Shingi. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996.

                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  Annotated translation of Dōgen’s major work on monastic practice and standards. Includes the Chiji Shingi “Standards for Temple Administrators,” with many encounter dialogues of exemplary major Chan figures who held these positions.

                  Find this resource:

                • Leighton, Taigen Dan, and Shohaku Okumura, trans. Dōgen’s Extensive Record: A Translation of the Eihei Kōroku. Boston: Wisdom, 2004.

                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  A full, annotated translation of Eihei Kōroku, the primary source for Dōgen’s mature teaching at Eiheiji. Although the jōdō (Dharma hall discourses) are in a more formal format than Shōbōgenzō, paradoxically these teachings reveal more of Dōgen’s personality and pedagogic style.

                  Find this resource:

                • Okumura, Shohaku, trans. “Shōbōgenzō-Zuimonki,” Sayings of Eihei Dōgen Zenji. Recorded by Koun Ejō. Kyoto: Kyoto Sōtō Zen Center, 1987.

                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                  A good practice-oriented translation of these informal talks from Dōgen’s Kyoto period.

                  Find this resource:

                  Shōbōgenzō Commentary

                  Bodiford 2012 catalogues the many editions of Shōbōgenzō, along with editions of all of Dōgen’s other many writings. Bodiford 1993 discusses the key earliest Shōbōgenzō commentary by Senne and Kyōgō, direct disciples of Dōgen. Heine 2012 provides helpful essays by leading academic scholars on Dōgen texts. Okumura 2010 presents a very useful commentary (and new translation) of Genjōkōan, widely considered a key Shōbōgenzō essay, and discusses many other passages from Shōbōgenzō as comparisons. He offers lively practical commentary along with references to Senne and Kyōgō and philological analysis. Riggs 2002 discusses the commentaries by major Tokugawa period Sōtō figure Menzan (b. 1683–d. 1769), key to modern readings. Commentaries by Nishiari Bokusan (Nishiari 1965) were formative to 20th-century Sōtō studies. Leighton 2011 includes commentaries on key Shōbōgenzō essays as well as other Dōgen writings. Cook 1989 and Yasutani 1996 provide contemporary commentaries. Ishii 1991 analyzes teachings in Dōgen’s late twelve-fascicle Shōbōgenzō edition. Okumura 2010 presents detailed commentary on Genjōkōan with reference to Senne and Kyōgō. Heine 1997 discusses the twelve-fascicle compared to earlier editions in the context of analyzing modern Critical Buddhism Hihan Bukkyō theories. Critical Buddhism aims at reforming contemporary Sōtō human rights problems and espouses the “late” twelve-essay version of Shōbōgenzō for its emphasis on karma and ethics and refutation of original enlightenment hongaku thought, as opposed to the earlier seventy-five-essay version edited by Dōgen’s successor Ejō, which contains Dōgen’s most celebrated philosophical writings—on Buddha nature and Being time, for example.

                  • Bodiford, William. “Senne and Kyōgō: Commentators on Dōgen’s Shōbōgenzō.” In Sōtō Zen in Medieval Japan. By William Bodiford, 44–50. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1993.

                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                    Describes, with full annotation of Japanese sources, the early Shōbōgenzō commentaries by Senne and Kyōgō, major disciples of Dōgen. These commentaries have become crucial in contemporary Shōbōgenzō studies because Senne and Kyōgō directly experienced Dōgen’s original teachings.

                    Find this resource:

                  • Bodiford, William. “Genealogies of Dōgen’s Texts.” In Dōgen: Textual and Historical Studies. Edited by Steven Heine. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

                    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199754465.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                    Deserving special mention is this highly useful bibliography evaluating all the many historical editions of all of Dōgen’s writings, including the many editions of Shōbōgenzō.

                    Find this resource:

                  • Cook, Francis. Sounds of Valley Streams: Enlightenment in Dōgen’s Zen. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1989.

                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                    Preceding another good selection of Shōbōgenzō translations, Cook presents helpful, practical commentary on the meaning of “enlightenment” in Shōbōgenzō, focusing on Genjōkōan “Manifesting Absolute Reality,” often considered Dōgen’s most important essay and keystone of Shōbōgenzō.

                    Find this resource:

                  • Heine, Steven. “Critical Buddhism and Dōgen’s Shōbōgenzō: The Debate over the 75-Fascicle and 12-Fascicle Texts.” In Pruning the Bodhi Tree: The Storm over Critical Buddhism. Edited by Jamie Hubbard and Paul Swanson, 251–285. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1997.

                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                    Detailed analysis of the contents and timing of essays in the “late” twelve-essay edition of Shōbōgenzō, compared to the earlier seventy-five-essay edition (with celebrated philosophical writings). Heine argues that the distinctions claimed by Critical Buddhism in support of the late edition are simplistic, misleading, and misguided as a basis for modern social reform.

                    Find this resource:

                  • Heine, Steven, ed. Dōgen: Textual and Historical Studies. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.

                    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780199754465.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                    This volume is a significant contribution with helpful essays by current academic scholars. Bodiford’s bibliographic study is Bodiford 2012. Heine offers two textual commentaries on Shōbōgenzō essays. Foulk discusses aspects of meditation from Shōbōgenzō. Leighton addresses aspects of training presented in Eihei Kōroku.

                    Find this resource:

                  • Ishii, Seijun. “Jūnikanbon Shōbōgenzō honbun no seiritsu jigo ni tsuite.” Komazawa Daigaku Bukkyōgakubu Ronshū 22 (1991): 236–260.

                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                    Commentary by the Komazawa University president on the formation and teachings of the twelve-essay version of Shōbōgenzō, focusing on its references to early Buddhist teachings.

                    Find this resource:

                    • Leighton, Taigen Dan. Zen Questions: Zazen, Dōgen, and the Spirit of Creative Inquiry. Boston: Wisdom, 2011.

                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                      See “Part 2: Reflections on Eihei Dōgan,” and “Part 3: Commentaries on Dōgan’s Extensive Record,” (pp. 61–176). Leighton provides commentaries on several different Shōbōgenzō essays, including the under-appreciated Gyōbutsu Īgi “The Awesome Presence of Active Buddhas” and Muchu Setsumu “Expressing the Dream within the Dream.” Also included in this selection are exegeses on excerpts from Eihei Kōroku and Eihei Shingi.

                      Find this resource:

                    • Nishiari, Bokusan. Shōbōgenzō Keiteki. Tokyo: Daihōrinkaku, 1965.

                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                      Sōtō teacher and scholar Nishiari Bokusan (b. 1821–d. 1910) helped revive Dōgen studies. His commentaries were influential to 20th-century Sōtō Zen.

                      Find this resource:

                      • Okumura, Shohaku. Realizing Genjōkōan: The Key to Dōgen’s Shōbōgenzō. Boston: Wisdom, 2010.

                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                        This useful work by contemporary Zen teacher and translator Okumura offers a practice-oriented commentary that includes references to the Senne and Kyōgō commentaries and close readings of the implications of Chinese characters used, along with relevant personal experiences.

                        Find this resource:

                      • Riggs, David. “The Rekindling of a Tradition: Menzan Zuihō and the Reform of Japanese Sōtō Zen in the Tokugawa Era.” PhD diss., Los Angeles: University of California, 2002.

                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                        Discusses the commentaries on Shōbōgenzō, with annotation of Japanese sources, by Menzan Zuihō (b. 1683–d. 1769), who influenced all later views of Dōgen.

                        Find this resource:

                        • Yasutani, Hakuun. Flowers Fall: A Commentary on Zen Master Dōgen’s Genjōkōan. Translated by Paul Jaffe. Boston: Shambhala, 1996.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          Detailed practical commentary on Genjōkōan by Yasutani, an important 20th-century Zen teacher, highly influential to American Zen. Yasutani’s teaching is notable and atypical for modern Sōtō for emphasizing koan curriculums and kenshō, or enlightenment experiences.

                          Find this resource:

                        Meditation

                        Dōgen’s central practice of meditation (zazen) was based on Buddhist traditions but also took on a new, dynamic soteriological function and significance in his teaching. Kim 2004 includes an excellent chapter on zazen as the “prototype of ultimate meaninglessness” and perspectives on Dōgen’s zazen as a creative activity. Kim 2004 includes an excellent chapter on zazen as the “prototype of ultimate meaninglessness” and perspectives on Dōgen’s zazen as a creative activity. Bielefeldt 1988 presents a careful comparative study of Dōgen’s primary meditation manual Fukanzazengi and its relation to its Chan source literature. Though a much less rigorous presentation than Bielefeldt’s, Cleary 1995 translates seven meditation manuals, including those discussed by Bielefeldt, along with an important text by Dōgen’s successor and a 17th-century Sōtō text. Okumura and Leighton 1997 present an annotated translation of Bendōwa, a foundational Dōgen teaching on meditation with informal commentary by Kōshō Uchiyama, a leading 20th-century Sōtō teacher. Tanahashi 2004 is a useful collection of translations, mostly from Shōbōgenzō, presenting many of Dōgen’s teachings that focus on meditation. Riggs 2006 presents Menzan commentaries on Dōgen’s zazen that illuminate his praxis and its historical development. Kim 2007 presents a provocative and insightful analysis of the inner philosophy of Dōgen’s approach to meditation. Leighton 2011 presents a range of modern views of Dōgen’s meditation praxis, including that it is expressive rather than instrumental, a ritual enactment of Buddha nature.

                        • Bielefeldt, Carl. Dōgen’s Manuals of Zen Meditation. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1988.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          This revealing study focuses on Dōgen’s Fukanzazengi (Universal recommendations for zazen), one of his earliest writings, revised several times. Bielefeldt closely compares the different versions of Dōgen’s instructions, and the Song Chan meditation manual on which the procedural portion is based.

                          Find this resource:

                        • Cleary, Thomas, trans. Minding Mind: A Course in Basic Meditation. Boston: Shambhala, 1995.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          Annotated translations with introductions of seven Zen meditation manuals, including the Fukanzazengi and its Chan source analyzed by Bielefeldt. Also includes the important “Absorption in the Treasury of Light” by Koun Ejō, Dōgen’s successor, based on Dōgen’s teaching, and a meditation text by a 17th-century Sōtō teacher, Man’an.

                          Find this resource:

                        • Kim, Hee-Jin. Eihei Dōgen: Mystical Realist. Boston: Wisdom, 2004.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          This exceptional overview of Dōgen’s teaching includes an excellent chapter on zazen as the “prototype of ultimate meaninglessness” and perspectives on Dōgen’s zazen as a creative activity.

                          Find this resource:

                        • Kim, Hee-Jin. Dōgen on Meditation and Thinking: A Reflection on His View of Zen. Albany: State University of New York Press, 2007.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          This provocative study examines aspects of Dōgen’s innovative meditation teaching in terms of such central issues in Dōgen’s philosophy as thinking and nonthinking, the intimate and ambiguous interrelationship of delusion and enlightenment, the dynamic function of emptiness, and the role of rationality itself. Originally published in 1975 (Tucson: University of Arizona Press).

                          Find this resource:

                        • Leighton, Taigen Dan. “Part 1: The World of Zazen.” In Zen Questions: Zazen, Dōgen, and the Spirit of Creative Inquiry. By Taigen Dan Leighton, 3–57. Boston: Wisdom, 2011.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          Informed by extensive experience as a practice teacher, Leighton discusses aspects of Dōgen’s meditation teachings. Argues that the zazen praxis Dogen teaches is a mode of creative and sustained inquiry, a process with transformational potential, although Dōgen’s zazen is expressive and performative rather than instrumental, a ritual enactment of Buddha nature, not a technique for obtaining such.

                          Find this resource:

                        • Okumura, Shohaku, and Taigen Daniel Leighton, trans. The Wholehearted Way: A Translation of Eihei Dōgen’s “Bendōwa” with Commentary by Kōshō Uchiyama Roshi. Boston: Tuttle, 1997.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          Annotated translation of Bendōwa, one of Dōgen’s earliest writings that elaborates his view of the inner meaning of zazen. Features extensive, lively commentary by Uchiyama, a highly respected 20th-century Sōtō teacher, and successor of Sawaki Kōdō, who revived focus on zazen practice in modern Sōtō.

                          Find this resource:

                        • Riggs, David. “Meditation for Laymen and Laywomen: The Buddha Samādhi (Jijuyū Zanmai) of Menzan Zuihō.” In Zen Classics: Formative Texts in the History of Zen Buddhism. Edited by Steven Heine and Dale Wright, 247–274. New York: Oxford University Press, 2006.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          Extremely useful article translating most of Menzan’s important 18th-century essay commenting on one of Dōgen’s main meditation teachings. Includes an informative section titled “The Changing Role of Dōgen in Sōtō Zen.”

                          Find this resource:

                        • Tanahashi, Kazuaki, ed. and trans. Beyond Thinking: Meditation Guide by Zen Master Dōgen. Boston: Shambhala, 2004.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          A highly useful, readable collection of translations, mostly from Shōbōgenzō, presenting Dōgen’s teachings focused on meditation.

                          Find this resource:

                        Koans

                        According to misleading sectarian stereotypes, Rinzai practices koans and Sōtō zazen but clearly Dōgen focuses much of his writings on the Chan encounter dialogue or koan tradition, and Rinzai Zen training fully incorporates zazen. Kim 1985 provides a highly informative analysis of Dōgen’s modes of wordplay and their relationship to koan language. Bodiford 1993 reveals the importance of koans to Dōgen by detailing the evolution of koan praxis in medieval Sōtō. A landmark work that shifts received views both of Dōgen and of koan practice, Heine 1994 presents an innovative theory of Dōgen’s intertextual approach to koans in which the author elaborates on them panoramically, contrary to more familiar Linji/ Rinzai approaches initiated by Dahui and extended by Hakuin in Japan, which involve concentration on a single turning phrase or “head-word.” Heine 1999 focuses on the famous fox koan, and how Dōgen’s shifting views of it express his teaching on ethics and precepts as well as revealing supernatural elements in Dōgen. Ishikawa 2000 provides details on medieval Sōtō koan practices. Leighton and Okumura 2004 includes much material demonstrating Dōgen’s varied approaches to koans. Volume 9 is a collection of ninety cases with Dōgen’s own verse comments. The book also includes a helpful essay by American Zen teacher John Daido Loori on “Dōgen and koans” and more relevant material in the introduction. Tanahashi and Loori 2005 features three hundred cases selected and deemed valuable by Dōgen. This edition features commentaries by Loori, illustrating evolving modern koan usage. Heine 2006 illustrates several modes of approach to koans by Dōgen.

                        • Bodiford, William. Sōtō Zen in Medieval Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1993.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          This thorough and well-annotated work includes valuable information on the use of koans in medieval Sōtō in the centuries after Dōgen.

                          Find this resource:

                        • Heine, Steven. Dōgen and the Kōan Tradition: A Tale of Two “Shōbōgenzō” Texts. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1994.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          In this landmark study, Heine persuasively theorizes that Dōgen takes a “scenic route” to koans especially in Shōbōgenzō, examining them through expansive, intertextual consideration of other thematically or imagistically related stories. Heine contends that this is a legitimate mode and development of koan praxis.

                          Find this resource:

                        • Heine, Steven. Shifting Shape, Shaping Text: Philosophy and Folklore in the Fox Kōan. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1999.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          Focusing on the celebrated koan about Baizhang (Japanese: Hyakujō) and the fox, this work uses the story to explore Dōgen’s shifting interpretations and analyze his later, evolving teachings about karma. This work explores elements of the “supernatural” and folklore not only in the koan tradition, but also in Dōgen’s work.

                          Find this resource:

                        • Heine, Steven. “Empty-Handed but Not Empty-Headed: Dōgen’s Kōan Strategies.” In Discourse and Ideology in Medieval Japanese Buddhism. Edited by Richard Payne and Taigen Dan Leighton, 218–239. London: Routledge, 2006.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          A survey of some of Dōgen’s strategies for approaching a sampling of particular cases, though it falls short of developing a full theory of Dōgen’s koan strategies.

                          Find this resource:

                        • Ishikawa, Rikizan. “Transmission of Kirigami (Secret Initiation Documents): A Sōtō Practice in Medieval Japan.” In The Kōan: Texts and Contexts in Zen Buddhism. Edited by Steven Heine and Dale Wright, 233–243. New York: Oxford University Press, 2000.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          Ishikawa was a pioneer in describing esoteric practices using kirigami through much of Sōtō history. These maintained particular lineages’ teachings, including koan responses, often citing Dōgen as a precursor.

                          Find this resource:

                        • Kim, Hee-Jin. “‘The Reason of Words and Letters’: Dōgen and Kōan Language.” In Dōgen Studies. Edited by William R. LaFleur, 54–82. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1985.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          A highly stimulating article analyzing Dōgen’s complex use of wordplay in terms of the approaches to language in the koan literature, including use of transposition, syntactic change, metaphor, and reinterpretation.

                          Find this resource:

                        • Leighton, Taigen Dan, and Shohaku Okumura, trans. Dōgen’s Extensive Record: A Translation of the Eihei Kōroku. Boston: Wisdom, 2004.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          Volume 9 of Eihei Kōroku is Dōgen’s collection of ninety cases, some familiar from koan collections, others more obscure, with Dōgen’s own verse comments. The rest of Eihei Kōroku, and the introduction, show Dōgen presenting a range of strategies for koan commentary.

                          Find this resource:

                        • Tanahashi, Kazuaki, and John Daido Loori, trans. The True Dharma Eye: Zen Master Dōgen’s Three Hundred Kōans. Boston: Shambhala, 2005.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          This work, not to be confused with the celebrated Shōbōgenzō with extensive essays, is an early collection by Dōgen of three hundred cases but without any of Dōgen’s own commentary, though many of these stories he comments on elsewhere.

                          Find this resource:

                        Monastic Practice

                        Dōgen emphasized monastic practice as a context for developing Zen awareness and expression. This was true especially after he moved north from Kyoto in 1243, but some relevant writings date from the earlier period, and he indicated longing for practice in the deep mountains in some of his earliest writings. In an excellent overview study of Dōgen, Kim 2004 presents monasticism as the practical context for Dōgen for expressing morality, precepts, and the bodhisattva ideal. Kim stresses Dōgen’s priority of practical religious teaching over abstraction, while presenting practical implications of key philosophical teachings, such as the oneness of practice and realization, abiding in one’s Dharma position, and self-fulfilling activity. Some of Dōgen’s monastic teachings appear in Shōbōgenzō, but all his Chinese writings focusing on monastic standards appear in Eihei Shingi, see Leighton 1996. This collection of Dōgen’s monastic standards includes Tenzōkyokun and Chiji Shingi, “Standards for Temple Administrators.” Warner, et al. 2001 presents practical commentaries on Tenzōkyokun translated from modern Japanese Sōtō teachers. Leighton 2001 argues that Dōgen emphasizes the spirit of monastic training and sincere aspiration rather than literalist adherence to monastic regulations. Wright 1983 presents a translation of Dōgen’s celebrated Tenzōkyokun (Instructions for the cook) and practical commentaries from the modern Japanese Sōtō teacher Kōshō Uchiyama.

                        • Kim, Hee-Jin. Eihei Dōgen: Mystical Realist. Boston: Wisdom, 2004.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          Chapter 5 focuses on monastic asceticism, arguing that it represents the heart of morality and the bodhisattva way for Dōgen. Kim stresses Dōgen’s priority of practical religious teaching over abstraction, while presenting practice implications of his key philosophical teachings. Originally published in 1975 (Tucson: University of Arizona Press).

                          Find this resource:

                        • Leighton, Taigen Daniel, ed. Dōgen’s Pure Standards for the Zen Community: A Translation of Eihei Shingi. Translated by Taigen Daniel Leighton and Shohaku Okumura. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1996.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          A complete annotated translation of Eihei Shingi, Dōgen’s major work on monastic practice and standards, including Tenzōkyokun and Chiji Shingi, “Standards for Temple Administrators.” With diagrams showing the monastic enclosure and the monks’ hall.

                          Find this resource:

                        • Leighton, Taigen Dan. “Sacred Fools and Monastic Rules: Zen Rule-Bending and the Training for Pure Hearts.” In Purity of Heart and Contemplation: A Monastic Dialogue between Christian and Asian Traditions. Edited by Bruno Barnhart and Joseph Wong, 151–164. New York: Continuum, 2001.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          In the context of a comparative Zen-Catholic monastic dialogue, this article includes analysis of Eihei Shingi, including portions of “Chiji Shingi” (Standards for the temple administrators) in which Dōgen praises as exemplars traditional masters who from conventional perspectives violated monastic regulations.

                          Find this resource:

                        • Warner, Jisho, Shohaku Okumura, John McRae, and Taigen Dan Leighton, eds. Nothing is Hidden: Essays on Zen Master Dōgen’s Instructions for the Cook. New York: Weatherhill, 2001.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          Translations of Japanese essays on Tenzōkyokun (Instructions for the cook) by significant modern Sōtō teachers and scholars. Includes a translation of the text by Griffith Foulk.

                          Find this resource:

                        • Wright, Thomas, trans. Refining Your Life: From Zen Kitchen to Enlightenment, by Zen Master Dōgen and Kōshō Uchiyama. New York: Weatherhill, 1983.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          Sōtō priest Tom Wright presents an accessible translation of Tenzōkyokun, with lively practice commentary by Uchiyama.

                          Find this resource:

                        Philosophy

                        While Dōgen was primarily a religious teacher and thinker (see Monastic Practice), his writings certainly hold deep philosophical implications that have received recent attention in theoretical contexts, both traditional and modern. Grosnick 1979 surveys the historical development of Buddha nature philosophy and its role in Dōgen’s thought. Kasulis 1981 deals fruitfully with philosophical issues of self in this general comparative study of both Asian and modern Western sources. LaFleur 1985 is an important anthology of articles dealing with various philosophical issues. Abe 1992 presents a detailed theoretical analysis focused on Dōgen’s Buddha nature teaching. Loy 1999 compares the deconstructionist strategies of Nāgārjuna and Dōgen, both aimed at overturning delusive subject-predicate dualism that estranges self and the world. Loy argues that Dōgen is more inclined to semantics as a deconstructionist vehicle and considers the implications of use of Sanskrit and Sino-Japanese for their differences. Kopf 2001 analyzes phenomenological issues of nonself and personhood in Dōgen as compared with Kyoto school philosopher Nishida Kitaro. Spackman 2006 cites the influence of Tiantai founder Zhiyi and his interpretations of Madhyamaka thought as a source for Dōgen’s paradoxical use of wordplay. Bredeson 2008 compares views of presence from Dōgen and Derrida, arguing that Dōgen and deconstructionism are compatible and mutually informing.

                        • Abe, Masao. A Study of Dōgen: His Philosophy and Religion. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992.

                          Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          An incisive theoretical analysis of key elements of Dōgen’s teaching, especially of Buddha-nature, complete with diagrams. Abe’s perspectives reflect his position in Kyoto School philosophy.

                          Find this resource:

                        • Bredeson, Garrett Zantow. “On Dōgen and Derrida.” Philosophy East and West 58.1 (January 2008): 60–82.

                          DOI: 10.1353/pew.2008.0009Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                          Examines the connection between Dōgen’s radical “presencing” of a single dharma position and Derrida’s deconstructionist critique of “presence” and experience. Seeking to illuminate both Dōgen and Derrida, Bredeson argues that the two are not incompatible.

                          Find this resource:

                          • Grosnick, William. “The Zen Master Dōgen’s Understanding of the Buddha-Nature in Light of the Historical Development of the Buddha-Nature Concept in India, China, and Japan.” PhD diss., University of Wisconsin–Madison, 1979.

                            Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                            A comprehensive survey of the development of Buddha nature theory in India and China, with a detailed description of Dōgen’s elaboration of this key philosophical issue and its practical implications.

                            Find this resource:

                            • Kasulis, Thomas P. Zen Action/Zen Person. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1981.

                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                              A general, thoughtful discussion of personhood in Zen relating doctrine to experience, with many references to Dōgen, as well as to Nāgārjuna, Taoism, Hakuin, and Heidegger. Accessible for upper-level undergraduate classes.

                              Find this resource:

                            • Kopf, Gereon. Beyond Personal Identity: Dōgen, Nishida, and a Phenomenology of No-Self. Richmond, UK: Curzon, 2001.

                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                              A revealing phenomenological analysis of issues of nonself and personhood in Dōgen as related to Kyoto school philosopher Nishida Kitaro. Kopf presents a fresh analysis of nonduality, present-oriented self-awareness, and temporality, explicating both Dōgen and Nishida.

                              Find this resource:

                            • LaFleur, William R., ed. Dōgen Studies. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1985.

                              Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                              An important anthology of articles by leading figures in Dōgen studies, including Bielefeldt on historical reframing of Dōgen’s career, Kim on Dōgen’s use of language, Kasulis on Dōgen and modern philosophy, Abe on oneness of practice and attainment, Cook on socioethical implications, and LaFleur of the state of the field.

                              Find this resource:

                            • Loy, David. “Language against Its Own Mystifications: Deconstruction in Nagarjuna and Dōgen.” Philosophy East and West 49.3 (July 1999): 245–260.

                              DOI: 10.2307/1399894Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                              Loy compares the deconstructionist strategies of Nāgārjuna and Dōgen, both aimed at overturning delusive subject-predicate reification that sees self and world as estranged. Loy argues that Nāgārjuna and Dōgen are different in that Dōgen embraces language and its noninstrumental usage as a vehicle for deconstructing linguistic dualism.

                              Find this resource:

                              • Spackman, John. “The Tiantai Roots of Dōgen’s Philosophy of Language and Thought.” Philosophy East and West 56.3 (July 2006): 428–450.

                                DOI: 10.1353/pew.2006.0045Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                Examines Dōgen’s positive use of language and thought to express Buddha dharma as a critique of the commonsense view that language functions by representing an independent reality. Spackman traces Dōgen’s use of apparently paradoxical language to the interpretations of Madhyamaka by Tiantai founder Zhiyi.

                                Find this resource:

                                Temporality

                                Perhaps Dōgen’s most noted writing in modern commentaries is his essay Uji “Being-Time” with its innovative, provocative, and challenging approach to temporality emphasizing its multidirectional quality. Dōgen urges study of time, not as an external, objective container, but as the quality of everyone’s existence and activity. Heine 1985 provocatively compares Dōgen’s views of time with those of Heidegger. Stambaugh 1990 considers being-time along with Buddhist teachings of impermanence and Buddha nature, as well as Western thinkers such as Plato, Leibniz, Nietszche, and Heidegger. Abe 1992 presents an insightful analysis of time and space for Dōgen, and compares him with Heidegger. Leighton 2007 looks at Mahayana influences on Dōgen’s view of temporality. Katagiri 2007 offers a modern Zen teacher in the West commenting on the practical implications of Dōgen’s being time.

                                • Abe, Masao. A Study of Dōgen: His Philosophy and Religion. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1992.

                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                  An insightful analysis of Dōgen’s experiential philosophy of temporality, proceeding from Abe’s study of Buddha nature and from Dōgen’s priority of continuous practice. Also compares the nature of time for Dōgen and Heidegger.

                                  Find this resource:

                                • Heine, Steven. Existential and Ontological Dimensions of Time in Heidegger and Dōgen. Albany: State University of New York Press, 1985.

                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                  Offers a cross-cultural dialogue between Dōgen and Heidegger, who both challenge preconceptions of temporality and seek its inner meaning. Heine also provides an annotated translation of Uji.

                                  Find this resource:

                                • Katagiri, Dainin. Each Moment is the Universe: Zen and the Way of Being Time. Edited by Andrea Martin. Boston: Shambhala, 2007.

                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                  Illuminating commentary on Dōgen’s being-time philosophy by a modern Japanese Zen teacher who has been influential in America.

                                  Find this resource:

                                • Leighton, Taigen Dan. Visions of Awakening Space and Time: Dōgen and the Lotus Sutra. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

                                  DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195320930.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                  Analyzes Dōgen’s view of temporality in terms of Uji but also via various Mahayana philosophical influences. Features implications to temporality of the Lotus Sutra Śākyamuni’s inconceivable lifespan and its influence on Dōgen’s cosmology of Buddha nature and radical teaching of interconnectedness in temporality as well as space.

                                  Find this resource:

                                • Stambaugh, Joan. Impermanence is Buddha-Nature: Dōgen’s Understanding of Temporality. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1990.

                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                  Stambaugh examines being-time philosophically in terms of Buddhist concepts of impermanence and Buddha nature, and also in comparison to Western thinkers such as Plato, Aristotle, Leibniz, Kierkegaard, Nietzsche, and Heidegger.

                                  Find this resource:

                                The Poetic and Literary Dōgen

                                Dōgen has been noted as a poetic, evocative writer, evident in prose works such as Shōbōgenzō. Yasunari Kawabata surprised everyone, including Dōgen scholars and the Sōtō school, by opening his Nobel Prize acceptance speech with a celebration of Dōgen’s poetry (Kawabata 1969). LaFleur 1983 presents an incisive view of the dynamics of medieval Japanese literature that provides a valuable context for considering Dōgen as literary figure. Heine 1997 includes commentary on Dōgen’s literary role along with translations of all of his Japanese waka and selections of his Chinese verses. Leighton 2006 argues that the Lotus Sutra and Mahayana rhetoric were important influences in Dōgen’s discourse style.

                                • Heine, Steven. The Zen Poetry of Dōgen: Verses from the Mountain of Eternal Peace. Boston: Tuttle, 1997.

                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                  Includes the complete collection of Dōgen’s Japanese poetry, in translation and with romaji transliterations, and also a selection of his Chinese poetry, all with commentary. Includes much from Heine’s previously published work A Blade of Grass: Japanese Poetry and Aesthetics in Dōgen Zen (New York: Peter Lang, 1989), which includes some additional literary analysis.

                                  Find this resource:

                                • Kawabata, Yasunari. Japan, the Beautiful, and Myself. Edited and translated by E. G. Seidensticker. Tokyo: Kodansha, 1969.

                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                  Kawabata opens this acceptance speech for his 1968 Nobel Prize in literature by citing Dōgen’s waka poetry as a distillation of the essence of Japanese spirit and an important influence on Kawabata’s own writing.

                                  Find this resource:

                                • LaFleur, William R. The Karma of Words: Buddhism and the Literary Arts in Medieval Japan. Berkeley: University of California Press, 1983.

                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                  Relatively little on Dōgen himself. But this masterful account of medieval Japanese literature informatively examines its relation to key Buddhist questions about the role of creativity and poetry as representing immanent sacrality amid a world of suffering, that is, the role of literature in the tension between nirvana and samsara.

                                  Find this resource:

                                • Leighton, Taigen Dan. “The Lotus Sutra as a Source for Dōgen’s Discourse Style.” In Discourse and Ideology in Medieval Japanese Buddhism. Edited by Richard Payne and Taigen Dan Leighton, 195–217. London: Routledge, 2006.

                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                  Examines the intriguing self-reflexive discourse style of the Lotus Sutra and shows how Dōgen consciously appropriates aspects of its literary approach, as well as some of its imagery, for some of his rhetorical style.

                                  Find this resource:

                                Dōgen’s Impact in Japanese Zen

                                Historically Dōgen was celebrated as the charismatic founder of Sōtō Zen. As argued in Bodiford 1993, Dōgen was important historically in establishing Sōtō by training a skillful cadre of disciples and instituting lay precept ordination ceremonies that helped his successors spread Sōtō throughout the countryside. Faure 1996 presents an informative study of Keizan (b. 1264–d. 1325), the third-generation Dharma successor of Dōgen who is considered the second founder of the Sōtō school and whose grandmother was a disciple of Dōgen. After Dōgen, and up until the 20th century, his writings were held as sectarian treasures by the Sōtō school but read only by priestly scholars within the school. Riggs 2002 provides a comprehensive study of Menzan Zuihō (b. 1683–d. 1769), a monumental figure who transformed the Sōtō tradition and revived serious Dōgen studies. Abé and Haskel 1996 examines the life and writings of Ryōkan (b. 1758–d. 1831), a renowned Sōtō monk and poet, who was an avid reader of Dōgen and expressed his experience of Dōgen’s practice in his own poetry and life. Through the Tokugawa period, Dōgen was more revered as a priestly thaumaturge and healer, as described colorfully in Williams 2005. Beginning chronologically where Bodiford 1993 ends, Williams provides an informative social history of popular practices of Sōtō during the Tokugawa, including how the legendary figure Dōgen was romanticized.

                                • Abé, Ryūichi, and Peter Haskel, trans. Great Fool: Zen Master Ryōkan: Poems, Letters, and Writings. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1996.

                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                  A thorough survey with useful essays and many translations of Ryōkan, the renowned Sōtō poet, monk, recluse, and calligrapher, noted for foolishness and play with children, but who was also an avid reader and devotee of Dōgen.

                                  Find this resource:

                                • Bodiford, William M. Sōtō Zen in Medieval Japan. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1993.

                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                  A comprehensive, highly valuable survey of the development and activities of the Sōtō school through the early Tokugawa (17th century). Including good discussions of Dōgen and his successors over the next several generations, Bodiford discusses institutional arrangements, popular and monastic practices, and the development of doctrine.

                                  Find this resource:

                                • Faure, Bernard. Visions of Power: Imagining Medieval Japanese Buddhism. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 1996.

                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                  Keizan, who is considered the second founder of Sōtō Zen, spread Sōtō widely with his disciples. This informative study contains much material on Dōgen, while focusing not only on the role of dream and imagination in Keizan’s life and teachings but also taking deconstructionist approaches to undercut various stereotypes about Zen.

                                  Find this resource:

                                • Riggs, David. “The Rekindling of a Tradition: Menzan Zuihō and the Reform of Japanese Sōtō Zen in the Tokugawa Era.” PhD diss., University of California, Los Angeles, 2002.

                                  Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                  A comprehensive, helpful survey of Menzan who created modern Sōtō approaches to zazen, monastic rules, Dharma transmission, and ordination. Menzan also revived serious Dōgen studies, including publishing new editions of Shōbōgenzō and Dōgen’s biography.

                                  Find this resource:

                                  • Williams, Duncan. The Other Side of Zen: A Social History of Sōtō Zen Buddhism in Tokugawa Japan. Princeton, NJ: Princeton University Press, 2005.

                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                    Williams provides an informative social history of popular practices of Sōtō during the Tokugawa, including how Dōgen was romanticized. Williams focuses on institutionalization of Sōtō (along with all Buddhism) for Tokugawa government purposes, development and dominance of funerary Zen, and intriguing healing cults promoted within Sōtō.

                                    Find this resource:

                                  Dōgen’s Modern, Western Impact

                                  Translations of Dōgen’s writings have played major roles in the introduction to the West not just of Sōtō Zen, but also of Buddhism generally. This is ironic given the relative lack of importance of these writings in the historical development of Sōtō Zen, but it has been argued that Dōgen is particularly in accord with modern perspectives. Bellah 1985 looks at cross-cultural issues and how they impact modern receptions of Dōgen. Okumura 2003 presents a collection of informed outlooks on Dōgen’s contemporary relevance. Practice centers celebrating and trying to express Dōgen’s teaching have developed in the West, as represented in the works of modern teachers who prominently cite Dōgen, for example, Suzuki 1970 and Anderson 2001. Dōgen is also cited by modern teachers in Japan who have influenced Western students, such as Uchiyama 2004. Dōgen has been widely cited for the current relevance of his environmental vision and worldview, for example, by renowned American Zen pioneer and Beat poet Gary Snyder in Snyder 2003. Although trained in Kyoto Rinzai monasteries, Snyder frequently discusses Dōgen’s implications for environmentalism. Leighton 2007 argues for Dōgen’s potential relevance to environmental and societal ethics and social activism, along with resonance to modern physics Leighton 2011 refers to Dōgen in a variety of modern contexts.

                                  • Anderson, Reb. Being Upright: Zen Meditation and the Bodhisattva Precepts. Berkeley, CA: Rodmell, 2001.

                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                    A successor of Suzuki, Anderson focuses on bodhisattva precepts and their practice, often referencing commentaries by Dōgen.

                                    Find this resource:

                                  • Bellah, Robert. “The Meaning of Dōgen Today.” In Dōgen Studies. Edited by William R. LaFleur, 150–158. Honolulu: University of Hawai’i Press, 1985.

                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                    Bellah fruitfully compares Dōgen’s reception in the modern individualist West and in modern Japan with people’s webs of societal affiliation, both contrasted with the world of Kamakura Japan. He also explores the role of sangha.

                                    Find this resource:

                                  • Leighton, Taigen Dan. Visions of Awakening Space and Time: Dōgen and the Lotus Sutra. New York: Oxford University Press, 2007.

                                    DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195320930.001.0001Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                    The afterword argues that Dōgen’s worldview is relevant to environmental ethics and activism and that it has potential parallels with string theory in modern physics.

                                    Find this resource:

                                  • Leighton, Taigen Dan. Zen Questions: Zazen, Dōgen, and the Spirit of Creative Inquiry. Boston: Wisdom, 2011.

                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                    Discusses meditation and commenting on textual selections (see Meditation and Shōbōgenzō Commentary) from a modern, Western perspective, but also offers commentary on selected Western poets who resonate with Dōgen, e.g., Dylan and Mary Oliver. Also presents a section on relevance to current issues such as consumerism, climate disruption, and right livelihood informed by Dōgen’s teachings.

                                    Find this resource:

                                  • Okumura, Shōhaku, ed. Dōgen Zen and Its Relevance for Our Time: An International Symposium Held in Celebration of the 800th Anniversary of the Birth of Dogen Zenji, Stanford University, October 23–24, 1999. San Francisco: Sōtō Zen Buddhism International Center, 2003.

                                    Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                    Wide-ranging collection of papers from a forum at Stanford University held in celebration of the eight-hundredth anniversary of the birth of Dōgen Zenji. Includes discussions by scholars Carl Bielefeldt, Griffith Foulk, Ōtani Tetsuo, and Nara Yasuaki; practice teachers Shōhaku Okumura, Daidō Loori, and Mel Weitsman; and poets Gary Snyder and Michael McClure.

                                    Find this resource:

                                    • Snyder, Gary. “Mountains Hidden in Mountains: Dōgen-zenji and the Mind of Ecology.” In Dōgen Zen and Its Relevance for Our Time: An International Symposium Held in Celebration of the 800th Anniversary of the Birth of Dogen Zenji, Stanford University, 23–24 October, 1999. Edited by Shōhaku Okumura, 158–172. San Francisco: Sōtō Zen Buddhism International Center, 2003.

                                      Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                      This American Zen pioneer and famed Beat poet has commented insightfully on Dōgen in previous writings, including Practice of the Wild (San Francisco: North Point, 1990) and Mountains and Rivers without End (Washington, DC: Counterpoint, 1996). In this article Snyder focuses on Dōgen’s value as a “proto-ecologist” and his insight into wild nature.

                                      Find this resource:

                                      • Suzuki, Shunryū. Zen Mind, Beginner’s Mind. New York: Weatherhill, 1970.

                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                        Suzuki was one of the first Sōtō teachers to establish a temple for Westerners: the San Francisco Zen Center. In these practice writings, now a beloved classic of American Zen, he frequently refers to Dōgen.

                                        Find this resource:

                                      • Uchiyama, Kōshō. Opening the Hand of Thought: Foundations of Zen Buddhist Practice. Translated and edited by Daitsu Tom Wright, Josho Warner, and Shōhaku Okumura. Boston: Wisdom, 2004.

                                        Save Citation »Export Citation »E-mail Citation »

                                        Useful teachings about zazen practice by a modern Japanese Sōtō teacher, influential in the West, who celebrates Dōgen’s teaching. Uchiyama’s lineage is notable in Sōtō for emphasizing “zazen without toys,” often discarding other common Sōtō rituals and practices. Previously published in 1993 (New York: Arkana).

                                        Find this resource:

                                      back to top

                                      Article

                                      Up

                                      Down