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Thread: Dogen on Evil

  1. #1

    Dogen on Evil

    It is not that there are no evils: it is only that there are things that one should not do. It is not that there are evils: it is only that there are things that one should not do. It is not that evils are lacking in form: it is simply that they are things not to be done. It is not that evils have some particular form: simply they are things not to be done. Evils are not ‘things that one should not do’: they are simply things one does not do.
    Shasta Abbey Shobogenzo translation (Shoaku Makusa)

  2. #2
    Hi Will,

    I'm glad you posted this today. I just finished reading that section of Shobogenzo a couple hours ago, but in the Nishijima/Cross translation. The contrast with the translation you posted helps me understand it a little better (I think!). Here's how the translation I'm reading has it:

    It is not that wrongs do not exist; they are nothing other than not committing. It is not that wrongs exist; they are nothing other than not committing. Wrongs are not immaterial; they are not committing. Wrongs are not material; they are not committing. Wrongs are not "not committing;" they are nothing other than not committing.
    Interesting differences. I wish I knew Japanese

    --Charles

  3. #3
    Thanks for posting that Charles. I haven't actually had a chance to read the Nishijima/Cross translation.

    I haven't even read the Shobogenzo only parts.

    Gassho

  4. #4
    I like the part about the three year old child and Rakuten.

    G,W

  5. #5
    Stephanie
    Guest
    Dogen cracks me up sometimes.

  6. #6
    I haven't read the whole thing either. I'm trying to read one chapter a day, or two chapters when they're short ones. It's very different from anything else I've ever read, which makes it both interesting and frustrating. When I hit sections that I really can't make heads or tails of, I try not to sweat it and just keep going; I figure that I can always go back over things later when I have more context. Since many of the footnotes in the earlier chapters reference stuff in later chapters, I figure this is a good strategy.

    I can't really say what I think about this particular translation, because I don't have anything to compare it to yet My one gripe about the format of this edition is the lack of an index. This edition is in four volumes, and I only have the first one so far. It's possible the index is bundled in with the fourth. I hope so.

    I also like that part -- it makes me envious of the three-year-old!

    --Charles

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Charles
    I'm trying to read one chapter a day, or two chapters when they're short ones.
    --Charles
    I went for about one chapter a week. one a month if it was not a short one. I would like to encourage you to take your time. I do not think it is a race.

    Gassho, and take care,
    Jordan

  8. #8
    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan
    I went for about one chapter a week. one a month if it was not a short one. I would like to encourage you to take your time. I do not think it is a race.

    Gassho, and take care,
    Jordan
    Hi Jordan,

    Thank you for the advice. I don't feel like I'm racing -- just reading at the pace that comes naturally -- but I will give this some thought. I have trouble if I don't read a chapter in one sitting, because I lose my train of thought when I come back to reading after taking a break, and I have to start over from the beginning. But maybe I should just do that for a while.

    --Charles

  9. #9
    I just got the 1. Volume of Shobogenzo in English. I am not sure it has been translated to Polish, only some fragments, as far as I know. It is not an easy read, but I take your advice and read it slowly, digesting one chapter a week.

    I like the fragment that Will posted.

    Gassho,
    Agata

  10. #10
    Enjoy!

    Gassho,Jordan

  11. #11
    Enjoy!

    Gassho, Jordan

  12. #12
    Enjoy!

    Gassho,
    Jordan

  13. #13
    Enjoy!

    Gassho,
    Jordan

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Jordan
    Enjoy!

    Gassho,
    Jordan
    A quadruple post! how cool is that!

    WOOT

  15. #15

  16. #16
    Hi Guys,

    I take the section of Shobogenzo Shoaku Makusa posted by Will and Charles to mean that, whether "evil" really exists outside ourselves, or only within the mind of human beings, as a moral standard proclaimed "by the heavens" or only a judgment by human standards and acts ... do not do harm to yourself or others (not two). Why? To not do harm makes for a better life and world.

    The Shobogenzo is very difficult to read without understanding "Dogen-think" and his very unique use of language. For example, within the same chapter, or often paragraph or sentence, he will say several seemingly conflicting or fully opposite things. These are, I believe, Dogen's "simultaneously true" perspectives that I am regularly talking about.

    I intend my current series of talks on the blog on "Genjo Koan" to be an intro to Shobogenzo and "Dogen Think" ... I hope they are helpful to understanding what Dogen was on about. The series starts here ...

    http://treeleafzen.blogspot.com/2007/12 ... oan-i.html


    Gassho, Jundo

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