Dogen: Textual and Historical Studies

Dogen: Textual and Historical Studies

Dogen: Textual and Historical Studies

Dogen: Textual and Historical Studies

Synopsis

In this groundbreaking collection of essays edited by Steven Heine, leading scholars of Buddhism from both sides of the Pacific explore the life and thought of Zen Master Dogen (1200-1253), the founder of the Japanese Soto sect. Through both textual and historical analysis, the volume shows Dogen in context of the Chinese Chan tradition that influenced him and demonstrates the tremendous, lasting impact he had on Buddhist thought and culture in Japan. Special attention is given to the Shobogenzo and several of its fascicles, which express Dogen's views on such practices and rituals asusing supranormal powers (jinzu), reading the sutras (kankin), diligent training in zazen meditation (shikan taza), and the koan realized in everyday life (genjokoan). Dogen: Textual and Historical Studies also analyzes the historical significance of this seminal figure: for instance, Dogen's methods of appropriating or contrasting with Chan sources, as well as how Dogen was understood and examined in later periods, including modern times. This book is a crucialcontribution to the advancement of specialized studies of Dogen, as well as to the Chan/Zen school in the context of East Asian religions and their social and historical trends.

Excerpt

Steven Heine

This volume brings together a series of ten state-of-the-art essays by leading scholars from both sides of the Pacific, who carry out textual and historical studies of Zen Master Dōgen (1200–1253), the founder of the Japanese Sōtō sect. Dōgen’s life and thought is seen in relation to the Chinese Chan influences he absorbed, as well as the impact he exerted on Buddhist thought and culture in Japan. the book contributes to the advancement of specialized scholarship on Dōgen and the Chan/Zen school more generally as seen in the context of East Asian religions and their connections to developments of Buddhism in Song dynasty China and Kamakura-era Japan, as well as current academic, intellectual, and cultural trends.

The aim of Dōgen is to inform the reader regarding the nature of Dōgen’s writings as a whole, including various versions of his texts, especially the Shōbōgenzō and several of its fascicles, in particular, as well as the sermons and discourses in the Eihei kōroku that express his views on core practices and rituals, such as reading the sutras (kankin), diligent training in zazen meditation (shikan taza), the kōan realized in everyday life (genjōkōan), or using supranormal powers (jinzū). Essays in this book also analyze the historical significance of this seminal figure; for example, how he appropriated Chan sources and the ways in which he is comparable to or in conflict with the teachings of Dahui, Hongzhi, and Yanshou, all of whom were important Chinese monks, in addition to Japanese Zen predecessor Eisai, considered the founder of the Rinzai sect, who preceded Dōgen in traveling to study Buddhism on the mainland. the book also looks at the ways in which Dōgen influenced subsequent developments in the Sōtō sect, as well as its understanding of its founder, including scholarship on and celebrations of the significance of their first patriarch’s life and thought.

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