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Treasury of the True Dharma Eye

Product no.: 978-1590309353
Treasury of the True Dharma Eye (Shobogenzo) is the masterwork of the thirteenth-century Zen master Eihei Dogen, founder of the Soto sect of Japanese Zen Buddhism.

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Publisher's Synopsis
Most of the Shobogenzo fascicles originally were sermons that were recorded on scrolls by a student and edited by Koun Ejo, Dogen's successor. After Dogen's death, as Soto Zen spread through Japan, many scrolls were carried to new temples, then stored away and forgotten. When rediscovered centuries later, scholars were put to work trying to fit the pieces back into the whole. During the late Edo period of Japanese history, all Buddhist sects were required by the Tokugawa shogunate to define themselves and explain their basic teachings. To fulfill this requirement, the monk Kozen compiled all of Dogen's work available to him into the 95-Fascicle Shobogenzo, published in 1690.

Kazuaki Tanahashi and a team of translators that represent a Who’s Who of American Zen have produced a translation of the great work that combines accuracy with a deep understanding of Dogen’s voice and literary gifts. This volume includes a wealth of materials to aid understanding, including maps, lineage charts, a bibliography, and an exhaustive glossary of names and terms—and, as a bonus, the most renowned of all Dogen’s essays, Recommending Zazen to All People.

"Shambhala’s publication of Kazuaki Tanahashi’s translation of the complete text of Eihei Dogen’s Shobo Genzo marks a watershed moment for Western Buddhism. With the Tanahashi version, it appears we now have an edition that will receive the sort of attention this great work deserves. Tanahashi’s effort to preserve the particular Japanese difficulty of Dogen’s poetic prose, aided by the excellent work of the poet and Zen teacher Peter Levitt, emphasizes the text’s ambiguity, multiplicity, and resonance of meaning more effectively than other versions.”      ~Norman Fischer, Tricycle

"Tanahashi, a Japanese artist on his first visit to the States, asked the Japanese Buddhist priest why he wasn't telling his Western novices about Dogen Zenji, a 13th century monk and the founder of the Soto School of Zen Buddhism.

'Dogen is too difficult for Americans to understand,' the Rev. Shunryu Suzuki replied.

'Really?' Tanahashi replied. 'If you are teaching foreign students, don't you think you should present your best? It doesn't matter if people don't understand it.'

Tanahashi, now 77, sat down one day last week in a small meeting room in the San Francisco Zen Center at Page and Laguna streets. He stroked his long, wispy beard and laughed as he recalled his 1964 encounter with Suzuki, who would go on to become a key figure in bringing Buddhist meditation to a Western audience.

At Tanahashi's side was a freshly published, 1,280-page translation of Dogen's masterwork, Treasury of the True Dharma Eye - the culmination of his 50-year collaboration with Japanese scholars and some of the Zen Center's best and brightest American teachers. Tanahashi has spent his entire adult life putting together this profound and poetic rendering - the complete works of one of Buddhism's most important teachers.  

Treasury of the True Dharma Eye (Shambhala Publications; $100) is a monumental accomplishment, bringing together Dogen's essays on the essence of Buddhist teaching and detailed instructions on how to meditate or lead a monastic life, not to mention this medieval monk's paradoxical ponderings on the nature of time and space."      ~San Francisco Chronicle

"The path of all buddhas and ancestors arises before the first forms emerge; it cannot be spoken of using conventional views. This being so, in the realm of buddha ancestors there is the active power of buddhas going beyond buddhas. Since this realm is not a matter of the passage of time, their lives are neither long nor short, neither quick nor slow. This cannot be judged in an ordinary manner. Thus, the dharma wheel has been set to turn since before the first sign of forms emerged. The great merit needs no reward, and becomes the guidepost for all ages. Within a dream this is the dream you express. Because awakening is seen within awakening, the dream is expressed within a dream.

The place where the dream is expressed within a dream is the land and the assembly of buddha ancestors. The buddhas’ lands and their assemblies, the ancestors’ way and their seats, are awakening throughout awakening, and express the dream within a dream. When you meet such speech and expressions, do not regard them as other than the buddhas’ assembly; it is buddha turning the dharma wheel. This dharma wheel encompasses all the ten directions and the eight facets of a clear crystal, and so the great oceans, Mt. Sumeru, the lands, and all buddhas are actualized. This is the dream expressed within a dream, prior to all dreams.

Every dewdrop manifested in every realm is a dream. This dream is the glowing clarity of the hundred grasses. What requires questioning is this very point. What is confusing is this very point. At this time, there are dream grasses, grasses within, expressive grasses, and so on. When we study this, then roots, stems, branches, leaves, flowers, and fruits, as well as radiance and color are all the great dream. Do not mistake them as merely dreamy. However, those who do not wish to study buddha dharma believe that expressing the dream within a dream means speaking of unreal dream grass as real, like piling delusion upon delusion. But this is not true. When you say, 'Within confusion is just confusion,' still you should follow the path in the vast sky known as 'delusion throughout delusion.' You should endeavor to investigate just this thoroughly."       ~Within a Dream Expressing the Dream

Dogen, the founder of Soto Zen School as well as of Daihonzan Eiheiji, was born on January 26, 1200 AD. At the age of thirteen, he climbed Mt. Hiei, and the next year he shaved his head and became a monk.

Mt. Hiei at that time, as reflected in the eyes of Dogen had become decadent because of connections with people in power. Among the priests there was much worldly greed for fame and wealth. Disappointed, Dogen left Mt. Hiei walking in search of the true Dharma (the true Buddhist teaching). He visited temples in many different districts, considerably confused and agitated.

In Shobogenzo Zuimonki, Dogen is quoted as saying, “I was unable to meet a true teacher or any good friends of the Way and consequently confused and evil thoughts arose. However, when I learned of eminent monks of the past, I realized that the thoughts I had been thinking were despised and hated by such people. So, I changed my way of thinking, realizing that I should think of my eminent predecessors, the great priests of China and India, rather than the monks in Japan.”

True to his words, he traveled by boat to China at the age of 24 in search of the true way of Buddha. Nevertheless, there were no teachers in China who were able to fulfill the pure ideals of Dogen. Just as he was about to return to Japan, however, he met Nyojo Zenji on Mt. Tendo where there was true practice focused on zazen.

“I sat zazen day and night. When it was extremely hot or cold, many of the monks stopped sitting for a while because they were afraid of getting sick. At the time, I thought to myself, ‘I’m not sick and if I don’t practice, then it would be useless for me to have come all the way to China. Dying from illness because of practice would be in accord with my original wish’ and so, I continued to sit” (Shobogenzo Zuimonki).

It was to this extent that Dogen Zenji devoted himself to zazen. Many Japanese monks who went to study and practice in China brought back a mound of Buddhist sutras as souvenirs when they returned to Japan, but Dogen Zenji came back empty handed. The only thing that Dogen Zenji brought back with him was having made the teaching of only/just single-minded sitting his own (shikan-taza).

Editor Tanahashi, Kazuaki
Author Dogen, Eihei
Book Type Hardcover
Page Count 1280 pp.
Publisher Shambhala Publications 2013
Browse these categories as well: Eihei Dōgen and the Soto School, Eastern Buddhism and Zen Masters, Koans, Poems and Sutras, Buddhist Mindfulness Meditation, Noteworthy Releases 2013

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