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Thread: Nishijima's tr. of Dogen's Shobogenzo

  1. #1

    Nishijima's tr. of Dogen's Shobogenzo

    In trying to purchae copies of Nishijima's translation of Dogen's Shobogenzo. I have only been able to find vol. 1 & 3. Any one know what's up with vol. 2 and 4? What are the difference in content of all four volumes? Thanks to those of you who know this/these text well!
    David aka PapaDoc

  2. #2
    I recently purchased 1 & 2, and plan on getting 3 & 4 soon. I bought them off of Amazon.com. Availability was erratic, though. One week, vol 2 was out of print, then next they had 2 new copies. One day, vol 3 was in limited quantity, the next, unlimited. If you're using Amazon, I would suggest checking back often.

    Another approach would be to use amazon.co.uk, or to use this website, which for a time, was the only place I thought I'd be able to find book 2: http://www.wisdom-books.com/default.asp

  3. #3
    I like bookfinder for difficult to find books. Here are their links to
    book 2 and book 4.

    --Helena

  4. #4
    Hi Guys,

    You should know that Shobogenzo is very difficult to just read, straight through, as a normal series of books. Shobogenzo is VERY difficult to read without an understanding of what Dogen was trying to do, his multi-layered (often inconsistent from a Western viewpoint) assertions, his writing style. However, with a little explanation, Dogen turns out to be pretty understandable, very consistent writer. But to just pick up the Shobogenzo and to read it is hard. On the 'Sit-a-Long with Jundo' sittings, I will soon start going through the Genjo Koan as an introduction to all this. I hope you will take a look at those.

    I have spoken to various respected Dogen scholars (e,g,, Steve Heine), and from a technical point of view, they respect the translation very much. It is considered a very accurate, very close, very precise translation. It is about as close as you can get to what Dogen wrote. For that reason, it is not necessarily the most beautiful in wording or readable. Some of the more readable translations by others are not necessarily the most accurate. Eventually, you may want to get the full set, but I do not recommend it for people just starting out. Just getting Vol. 1 is a good start, as it contains many of the 'classic' chapters.

    The Nishijima-Cross translation is now available in a new edition, at about $23.99 per volume. The content is exactly the same as earlier editions (only the cover is different), so no problem to pick up an earlier edition used. They are often cheaper. I do not know why Amazon does not have all 4 of the new edition, so try other online book stores. Here is a good source ...

    http://www.bookfinder.com/
    http://www.allbookstores.com/

    Hope that helps.

    Gassho, Jundo

  5. #5
    Very Helpful, Jundo. Thank you. Is there a secondary source you would recommend?
    David aka PapaDoc

  6. #6
    Mike Leutchford of the Dogen sangha in Bristol, England sells these books, if this is any help to you,

    http://www.dogensangha.org.uk/books.htm

  7. #7
    Sorry - I just noticed he only has Vols. 1 and 4 of the Shobogenzo

  8. #8
    Hi David,

    Here are some books that are worth reading. As we have several members very conversant with Dogen and Shobogenzo, I hope they will post any additional suggestions. I have not read any of these for awhile, but I recall that they are worthwhile introductions to Dogen.

    The Tanahashi translations (such as "Moon in a Dewdrop") are, I am told, a nice compromise between readability and accuracy.

    http://amazon.com/s/ref=nb_ss_gw/103-34 ... .y=0&Go=Go

    This one (by scholars Wadell/ Abe), as I recall, is also quite interesting ...

    http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Dogens-Shob ... 694&sr=8-4

    And this one (Eihei Dogen, Mystical Realist) should be read at one time or another ...

    http://www.amazon.com/Eihei-Dogen-Mysti ... 98&sr=8-20

    And, of course, there is my teacher's guide to Shobogenzo, available free online ...

    http://www.dogensangha.org/articles.htm#Understanding

    As I said, I have not read the books I am recommending for several years ... so I hope I did right (I must give them all a reread!). If anyone has any input on those, or any other resource, please jump in!

    Gassho, Jundo

    PS = Just one that comes to mind as to avoid (I know there are more): This by Yasutani Roshi, which was done from a Sanbokyodan slant ...

    Flowers Fall: A Commentary on Zen Master Dogen's Genjokoan by Hakuun Yasutani

  9. #9
    I gave away my copy of Moon in a dewdrop after I bought the Shobogenzo. I would not really recommend it to anyone seriously into Master Dogen's works. I had kind of a feeling that this was a bit off in some places.

    Also Stay away from the Shasta Abby version of the Shobogenzo. It is verry readable but I question its accuracy in quite a few places, and that was just in book one. (I have never seen anything other than the first 12 chapters from them)

    This has been mentioned before I am sure but there are some other Translations available here for free:
    http://scbs.stanford.edu/sztp3/trans...zen_texts.html

    I would also recommend The Wholehearted Way it is a good commentary on Master Dogen's Bendowa with a commentary by Uchiyama Roshi.

    Hope that helps.

  10. #10
    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan
    I gave away my copy of Moon in a dewdrop after I bought the Shobogenzo. I would not really recommend it to anyone seriously into Master Dogen's works. I had kind of a feeling that this was a bit off in some places.

    Also Stay away from the Shasta Abby version of the Shobogenzo. It is verry readable but I question its accuracy in quite a few places, and that was just in book one. (I have never seen anything other than the first 12 chapters from them)

    This has been mentioned before I am sure but there are some other Translations available here for free:
    http://scbs.stanford.edu/sztp3/trans...zen_texts.html

    I would also recommend The Wholehearted Way it is a good commentary on Master Dogen's Bendowa with a commentary by Uchiyama Roshi.

    Hope that helps.
    Hey Jordan,

    Steve Heine, my friend the "famous" Dogen Scholar ...

    http://ancientdragon.org/sangha/news/more/steve_heine

    ... recommended to me Tanahashi as the best compromise of readability and accuracy (a trade off with Dogen). I will check with him again. It has been a decade since I look at that book, so you may be right.

    As to Shasta Abby ... I may have mentioned once that their founder was an incredible woman, but taken to inner voices and visions (much like Teresa or Avila). She also was trying to reconcile the Shasta Abbey practices with traditional Anglican ceremony (for example, their chants much resemble the Book of Common Prayer). So, that must be take into consideration. Their chants and practices are beautiful however.

    I used the Soto Zen Text Project for the talks on the Blog on Fukanzazengi, together with the Nishijima-Cross version. With Dogen, it is often best to take 2 or 3 versions, and triangulate what the original might be.

    Gassho, Jundo

  11. #11
    Jundo,

    I think Moon and a dewdrop is a bit too much of a compromise for me. It may work for others. I may have expensive tastes despite a limited budget.

    The Portland Buddhist Priory where I sometimes visit is a part of Shasta Abby.
    Rev. Meiko has been a big help to me on a few occasions. That said I have never really cared for pomp and circumstance and at best am indifferent to the way they do their chants and ceremonies. Some people (my wife and therefor me) have a need for them.

    With Dogen, it is often best to take 2 or 3 versions, and triangulate what the original might be.
    Yes!

    Gassho,
    Jordan

  12. #12

  13. #13
    Hi Jordan,

    Here is what Steve Heine wrote to me. It is just a scholarly opinion, of course, and Dogen is also a matter of the heart ...

    I take back what my memory told me ...

    As far as Shobogenzo translations, in my opinion, Waddell/Abe, even though out of date in some ways (it is a reprint of renderings done in the 1970s) is still the most accurate. Tanahashi's several books are always very very good, and I think the most accessible to a non-scholar. Highly recommended. Nishijima/Cross is the best of the complete translations, but it has so many problems in grammar, typos, etc etc that you really have to stick with it. I do recommend it for serious students who can pick out the problems and see the underlying strength.

    The Soto Text project promises someday to be the best overall -- I haven't checked their website lately, but what I've seen a while back is still spotty and not quite living up to potential yet. Nishiyama/Stevens and Yokoi -- stay away from both of these. For the sake of comparison with other versions, they are just barely okay.

    Cleary, Masunaga, and Shasta all have some strengths, but are not nearly as good as the first set above.

    Where are you these days -- South Florida or Japan?

    Steven
    Hi Will,

    The "Terebess" website is just excerpts of bits and pieces of all the translations that Steve mentions, plus some others (like some by Aitken Roshi). A fanatstic resource, especially if you want to contrast several versions of the same chapter.

    Gassho, Jundo

  14. #14
    Jundo, Thanks for the follow up.
    But I am curious what other books he was referring too.
    Gassho,
    Jordan

  15. #15
    Hi Jordan,

    They are all Shobogenzo translation, some complete and some just selected portions, done in the 1970's and 1980's. I think that most are out of print, but still widely cited (for example, on the Terebess page that Will mentions).

    The Waddell/Abe is a partial translation, and I gave the listing earlier ...

    The Heart of Dogen's Shobogenzo
    http://www.amazon.com/Heart-Dogens-Shob ... 694&sr=8-4

    Gassho, J

  16. #16
    The "Terebess" website is just excerpts of bits and pieces of all the translations that Steve mentions, plus some others (like some by Aitken Roshi). A fanatstic resource, especially if you want to contrast several versions of the same chapter.
    Thanks.

    Gassho Will[/list]

  17. #17
    Besides helping me with the discipline of zazen by your presence, this thread exhibits one of the reasons I value Jundo and Treeleaf. These comments on Dogen have pointed me in some directions and perhaps more importantly helped me to avoid certain problems. Thank you.
    David akaPapaDoc

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