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Thread: 2 Shobogenzos?

  1. #1

    2 Shobogenzos?

    Ok so there are 2 different Shobogenzos? The 95 fascicle version and a 300 koan version? Do we study both? Is the 95 one more like a collection of essays? This might be common knowledge here but I just kind of found out. Lol. I read a lot of things on Shobogenzo so I guess is one version usually inferred when talking about the Shobogenzo?

  2. #2

    Re: 2 Shobogenzos?

    Quote Originally Posted by cyril
    Ok so there are 2 different Shobogenzos? The 95 fascicle version and a 300 koan version? Do we study both? Is the 95 one more like a collection of essays? This might be common knowledge here but I just kind of found out. Lol. I read a lot of things on Shobogenzo so I guess is one version usually inferred when talking about the Shobogenzo?
    Hi Cyril,

    Oh, it is less complicated ... and more complicated ... than that! 8)

    There are three main works by Dogen with the name "Shobogenzo" ("Treasure House of the True Dharma Eye") in the title.

    The main work is a collection of talks by Dogen which consists of 95 fascicles (not really "chapters" because each is a written reworking of an oral talk or letter written to someone) in its modern version (although it has consisted of less chapters in different editions over centuries past). This is what people usually mean when they refer to Master Dogen's "Shobogenzo". My teacher, Nishijima Roshi, and Taigu's teacher, Mike Cross, translated this in full into English in an imperfect (as are all things in this world) but very respected and well received (by scholars and practitioners alike) version. This work was not widely read, and kept as a secret treasure within the Soto Sect, for about 600 years ... and was almost forgotten until its "rediscovery" and subsequent popularity.

    The "Shinji-Shobogenzo" is a pretty bare bones collection of 300 Koans which Master Dogen wrote down, probably when he was in China. It is just the 300 classic Koan stories themselves, without commentary by Dogen. However, those same Koans appear time and again in the main "Shobogenzo" as the subject of his essays there. As well, Nishijima Roshi and some of his students did a translation of this, to which Nishijima Roshi added his own comments and very personal interpretation ...

    http://www.amazon.com/Master-Dogens-Sho ... 774&sr=8-2

    ... as did John Daido Loori Roshi ...

    http://www.amazon.com/True-Dharma-Eye-M ... pd_sim_b_1

    Both are really very personal interpretations of those Koans by those two modern teachers, not Dogen's comments on them (which are found in the Shobogenzo itself).

    There is also the "Shobogenzo-Zuimonki" (a collection of informal talks by Master Eihei Dogen) .... which was our most recent selection in our bookclub ...

    viewtopic.php?f=2&t=1779

    Master Dogen's Shobogenzo-Zuimonki is rather different from many other Dogen writings in being relatively easy to read, plain and down to earth (very different from his similarly named "Shobogenzo")!The Zuimonki is filled with bits of wisdom, little fortune cookies, short talks on all kinds of subjects. However, most were written as "pep talks" to monks in a snowed in monastery, and tend to represent Dogen in his most "tough coach" mode. We recently tried the experiment in our book club of applying this guidance meant for monks in a 13th century monastery to our own lives in the 21st century urban West. A tough fit sometimes.

    To make matters more complicated, some scholars argue that the "95 fascicle Shobogenzo" actually represents Dogen in different phases and flavors. So, for example, some say ...

    One of the major
    difficulties for interpreters of Dogen's thought is
    the apparent inconsistency of some of Dogen's
    teachings when comparing his early and late
    writings.(1) Some of the key changes that we find in
    the later writings include: (1) his severe critique
    of the Rinzai (Lin-chi) tradition and especially the
    subtradition stemming from Ta-hui, as contrasted to
    his more ecumenical approach found in his early
    writings, (2) his escalating critique of Chinese
    Ch'an Buddhism in general, (3) the emphasis on his
    own exclusive "transmission" of the Buddha Dharma,
    and (4) Dogen's apparent "rejection" of lay
    Buddhism--all of which seem to contradict both his
    early writings and his teaching activities. It is
    argued by some that there is a shifting in Dogen's
    position on important doctrinal or philosophical
    issues as well. Did Dogen come to reject totally the
    doctrine of "Original Enlightenment" (hongaku), and
    if so, what were his late views on the doctrine of
    "Buddha Nature" (bussho)? Did Dogen change his views
    on the nature of Buddhist causality, and how does
    this relate to Dogen's views on the nature of time?
    http://ccbs.ntu.edu.tw/FULLTEXT/JR-PHIL/putney1.htm

    also, another wonderful book with a slightly more nuanced take on the many "phases" of Dogen's writing ...

    http://www.amazon.com/Did-ogen-Go-China ... 743&sr=1-1

    For this reason, some scholars say that the last 12 fascicles are really a separate work, although others say not really ... it may just have been written to a somewhat different audience and thus phrased a bit differently, with a different emphasis.

    If you are interested in reading the 95 fascicle Shobogenzo, I usually make these comments on reading it ...

    viewtopic.php?p=34491#p34491

    and

    viewtopic.php?p=34494#p34494

    There are many other works by Dogen too. For example this huge collection of talks and other writings (the Eihei Koroku), representing Dogen in a more traditional "Zen Master" mode (less Jazzy than Shobogenzo) and written to monks at Eiheiji later in his life ...

    http://www.amazon.com/Dogens-Extensive- ... 175&sr=1-1

    Hope that helped a bit.

    Gassho, J

  3. #3

    Re: 2 Shobogenzos?

    Thank you so much for the thorough response. Looks like I have some reading to do

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