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Thread: BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Realizing Genjokoan (Shohaku Okamura)

  1. #1

    BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Realizing Genjokoan (Shohaku Okamura)

    Dear All,

    I would like to offer a hearty recommendation to a book that came out last year by Shohaku Okumura (the wonderful teacher/priest/scholar/translator/practitioner who has also been the translator and guiding hand for Uchiyama Roshi's wonderful books such as "Opening the Hand of Thought" and so many others). This new book may be the best "say it straight" introduction to Dogen-think (and non-think) out there ...

    Realizing Genjokoan: The Key to Dogen's Shobogenzo

    http://www.amazon.com/Realizing-Genj...9981391&sr=8-1

    I believe that Taigu also has given it a strong "thumbs up" on this Forum a few times, and I have moved it to near the top of our 'Suggested Book List' ...

    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...REELEAF-SANGHA

    It certainly continues in much the same style, and with the same clarity, as many of the other Uchiyama-Okumura books such as "Opening the Hand of Thought" and "From The Zen Kitchen To Enlightenment: Refining Your Life (a commentary on Tenzo Kyokun)"

    I took my timeless time with it (one reason that I am only getting to this recommendation today!) It certainly is a book to digest in small bits, but written in a way of great ease and clarity in both words and insight. The True Dharma Eye ... yet very gentle on the reader's eyes.

    I just found a more detailed review, with which I much concur ...

    http://www.thezensite.com/ZenBookRev...Genjokoan.html

    I give it Five Buddhas (although for some reason the forum only allows me to post 4)!

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 07-02-2014 at 03:09 AM.

  2. #2

    Re: BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Realizing Genjokoan (Shohaku Okamura)

    Hello Jundo,



    five Buddha-stars indeed. It's worth every penny (or cent or whatever your local currency). A great achievement.

    Gassho,

    Hans

  3. #3

    Re: BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Realizing Genjokoan (Shohaku Okamura)

    Hi.

    I agree with all said.
    A very recommendable book.

    Mtfbwy
    Fugen

  4. #4

    Re: BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Realizing Genjokoan (Shohaku Okamura)

    I was looking for a book to take on vacation and this is it. Thank you.
    /Rich

  5. #5
    Blue Mountain White Clouds Hermitage Priest Taigu's Avatar
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    Re: BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Realizing Genjokoan (Shohaku Okamura)

    This is clear water in our hands, so fresh, so light. The most beautiful introduction to our good old Dogen. Please, guys, if you have spare time a few bucks, it is more than worth it...

    palm to palm

    Taigu

  6. #6

    Re: BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Realizing Genjokoan (Shohaku Okamura)

    Just got this in the mail earlier today. I'm in the middle of chapter 3 now. Dogen certainly isn't light reading, but already this book really sheds a lot of light on his thought (or non-thought!). Very clear writing... Thank you for the recommendation, Jundo!

    () josh

  7. #7

    Re: BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Realizing Genjokoan (Shohaku Okamura)

    Goes into my library. :mrgreen:

  8. #8

    Re: BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Realizing Genjokoan (Shohaku Okamura)

    Just received a copy. Thanks for the recommended reading. gassho zak

  9. #9

    Re: BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Realizing Genjokoan (Shohaku Okamura)

    Mmmmm... Gonna get it right now

    Gassho

  10. #10

    Re: BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Realizing Genjokoan (Shohaku Okamura)

    excellent reading. Thank you for the recommendation!

  11. #11

    Re: BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Realizing Genjokoan (Shohaku Okamura)

    Just ordered a copy too.

  12. #12

    Re: BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Realizing Genjokoan (Shohaku Okamura)

    I have been contemplating picking this up lately...maybe I should just take the leap and purchase it.

  13. #13

    Re: BOOK RECOMMENDATION: Realizing Genjokoan (Shohaku Okamura)

    I finally got this book today. Thanks for the recommendation. Gassho, Ann

  14. #14
    DOGEN'S GENJOKOAN: THREE COMMENTARIES is magnificent. The last commentary is Uchuyama-roshi's and that is an eye openner for the Genjokoan and Dogen in general. For my inexperienced and quite raw mind it was spiritual yoga.
    Enjoy. In gassho,
    Ed B
    "Know that the practice of zazen is the complete path of buddha-dharma and nothing can be compared to it....it is not the practice of one or two buddhas but all the buddha ancestors practice this way."
    Dogen zenji in Bendowa






  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by Ed View Post
    DOGEN'S GENJOKOAN: THREE COMMENTARIES is magnificent. The last commentary is Uchuyama-roshi's and that is an eye openner for the Genjokoan and Dogen in general. For my inexperienced and quite raw mind it was spiritual yoga.
    Enjoy. In gassho,
    Ed B
    Thank you Ed. Even though I am still waiting for its arrival and have not read it yet, I will add it to our Recommend Books list based on who is involved with it along.

    SUGGESTED BOOK LIST for TREELEAF SANGHA
    http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showt...REELEAF-SANGHA

    Gassho, Jundo
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  16. #16
    I am in the middle of re-reading "Realising Genjokoan"; it has done more than any other book to clarify for me what our practice is all about. I can't recommend it highly enough!

    _/\_
    Ade

  17. #17
    Senior Member Oheso's Avatar
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    I just started my second reading through this excellent book. digesting slowly. I recently found "modern interpretations" of several of the fascicles, including Genjokoan, by Michael Luetchford of Dogen Sangha UK, http://www.dogensangha.org.uk, which I feel helped clarify them to my understanding but can't vouch for their fidelity to Dogen's thought . is anyone else familiar with these "interpretations", or have an opinion of them? thanks. -O

  18. #18
    Hi Oheso,

    Michael Leutchford is my Dharma Brother, another 'Dharma Heir' of Nishijima Roshi, and Taigu's Dharma Uncle!

    Michael's translation is a modern language rendering, and very impressionistic, filled with some particular ways of expressing some things that Nishijima Roshi favored (such as his use of terms like subject, object, beyond subject-object and reality). I would not call it a literal translation, although it is powerful and wonderful itself. Taigu, any impressions?

    http://www.dogensangha.org.uk/Talks/...rpretation.pdf

    It is interesting to read it in comparison of some of the several other translations out their. The Nishijima-Cross translation is prized for precise, detailed accuracy to the original by Dogen, while the Tanahashi version is often described as the most readable while capturing the poetic aspects of Dogen's writing, although sometimes needing to take some liberties (Nishijima-Cross is so precise that it is sometimes not the most beautiful to read).

    http://www.thezensite.com/ZenTeachin...GenjoKoan8.htm

    Other translations are considered hit and miss, with much miss, according to some Dogen scholars I have spoken with over the years.

    Gassho, Jundo
    Last edited by Jundo; 02-09-2013 at 05:15 PM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  19. #19
    Senior Member Oheso's Avatar
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    doumo arigatou gozaimasu, Roshi.

    gassho, -O.
    Last edited by Oheso; 02-09-2013 at 04:09 PM.

  20. #20
    I also give you Okamura-roshi last book LIVING BY BOW. Like REALIZING GENJOKOAN it shows his lovingkindness and scholarship in a very readable narrative.
    He explains the verses of both meals and okesa, their origins and meanings. The section on orioky and food sustenance is a lesson in humility. We indeed are sustained by each other and food is magical, a gift to be deeply appreciated.
    Shohaku Okamura was disciple of Uchiyama-roshi. The plum did not fall far from the three.
    I am at the section on the HEART SUTRA, it has me feeling grateful to have found this path.
    Between the Gene Reeves LOTUS SUTRA and STORIES, and rohi's works I am complete for a long time book wise.
    In gassho,
    "Know that the practice of zazen is the complete path of buddha-dharma and nothing can be compared to it....it is not the practice of one or two buddhas but all the buddha ancestors practice this way."
    Dogen zenji in Bendowa






  21. #21
    Senior Member Jakudo's Avatar
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    OK, I have downloaded Realizing Genjokoan on my reader and will give it a go, with a 5 Buddha rating how can one go wrong? Thanks for the recommendation.
    Gassho, Jakudo Hinton.
    Gassho, Shawn Jakudo Hinton
    It all begins when we say, I. Everything that follows is illusion.
    "Even to speak the word Buddha is dragging in the mud soaking wet; Even to say the word Zen is a total embarrassment."
    寂道

  22. #22
    Another book I will recommend sight unseen based on the folks involved (although I have it on order) ...

    Receiving the Marrow: Teachings on Dogen by Soto Zen Women Priests

    Receiving the Marrow is the first book that expresses Dogen's teaching as experienced and lived by Western Soto Zen women teachers. Dogen Zenji(1200-1253) supported equality and respect for women Zen teachers from a Buddhist perspective.He did so through his understanding of the equality of Buddha nature shared by all beings. Historically, Japanese Soto Zen women have referred to Dogen's teachings as a touchstone for finding their place and empowerment within the Soto Zen tradition that he founded. Now Western women are sharing their appreciation of Dogen and enjoying the same broad and brilliant support that he offered for all practitioners.Receiving the Marrow's essays on Dogen are enjoyable,elucidating, accessible and a wonderful new presentation on chapters from Dogen's Shobogenzo. Each woman relates personally and authentically to Dogen's teaching.

    http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=I...BQ&redir_esc=y

    Gassho, J
    Last edited by Jundo; 02-11-2013 at 01:39 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  23. #23
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    Another book I will recommend sight unseen based on the folks involved (although I have it on order) ...

    Receiving the Marrow: Teachings on Dogen by Soto Zen Women Priests

    Receiving the Marrow is the first book that expresses Dogen's teaching as experienced and lived by Western Soto Zen women teachers. Dogen Zenji(1200-1253) supported equality and respect for women Zen teachers from a Buddhist perspective.He did so through his understanding of the equality of Buddha nature shared by all beings. Historically, Japanese Soto Zen women have referred to Dogen's teachings as a touchstone for finding their place and empowerment within the Soto Zen tradition that he founded. Now Western women are sharing their appreciation of Dogen and enjoying the same broad and brolliant support that he offered for all practitioners.Receiving the Marrow's essays on Dogen are enjoyable,elucidating, accessible and a wonderful new presentation on chapters from Dogen's Shobogenzo. Each woman relates personally and authentically to Dogen's teaching.

    http://books.google.co.jp/books?id=I...BQ&redir_esc=y

    Gassho, J
    Thank you Jundo, I will have a look at this one.

    Gassho
    Shingen
    倫道 真現

    As a trainee priest, please take any commentary by me on matters of the Dharma with a pinch of salt.

  24. #24
    A review in Tricycle by Prof. Steven Heine ...

    ----------------

    A Bow to Women’s Wisdom
    Receiving the Marrow
    Teachings on Dogen by Soto Zen Women Priests
    Edited by Eido Frances Carney
    Temple Ground Press, 2012
    $18; 266 pages


    Nearly eight hundred years ago, the celebrated Japanese Zen master Dogen gave
    a remarkable sermon revealing his egalitarian attitude toward women, an
    attitude reflected in both his teachings and writings. With the publication of
    Receiving the Marrow, a collection of essays edited by Eido Frances Carney, eleven
    accomplished Zen women priests share their understanding of Dogen’s teachings,
    as well as their appreciation.

    In her introduction, Carney, the founding abbess and teacher at the Olympia Zen
    Center in Washington, lauds Soto Zen’s “egalitarian founder” for setting “the stage
    for women to come forward and stand as equals in a clerical world that had rejected
    them as full members of the institution.” Indeed, from his first monastery in Kyoto
    to his years at Eiheiji temple in the remote mountains, evidence suggests Dogen
    supported both nuns and female lay practitioners. This favorable attitude toward
    women is most evident in Dogen’s sermon
    Raihaitokuzui (Receiving the Marrow
    and Bowing), from which this new
    book takes its title.

    In the sermon, Dogen suggests that if
    a monk recognizes an awakened female
    teacher and bows to her in homage, he
    demonstrates his “excellence as a student.”
    Here Dogen also recalls how two
    Chinese nuns, Moshan and Miaoxin,
    otherwise little known in Zen lore,
    taught a number of male monastics and
    outsmarted them in Zen dialogues.

    What caused Dogen to take such a
    bold stance in medieval Japan, a time
    when the role of women was suppressed
    both inside and outside Buddhist temples?
    One rationale suggests he had
    observed a more open-minded approach
    toward women in mainland China and
    wished to foster the same in his own
    movement. Another possibility is that
    like other teachers in the new wave of
    Japanese Buddhist schools (including
    Nichiren, Shinran, and Eizon), Dogen
    wanted to appeal to a wider audience.
    A third explanation holds that Dogen,
    who had renounced his aristocratic
    background to pursue the dharma,
    remained committed to the doctrine of
    nonduality in all of its manifestations.
    This included supporting gender equality
    and resisting any tendency to demean
    or marginalize any demographic group.

    In Receiving the Marrow, the female
    contributors interpret the Shobogenzo
    (Treasury of the True Dharma-Eye),
    Dogen’s main body of writing, which
    consists of sermons delivered during the
    peak his career, including Raihaitokuzui.
    The contributors, all priests from various
    Soto Zen lineages, were born and
    trained in the West, although several
    also practiced for a time in Japan. The
    lineages they represent include those of
    prominent Japanese masters who taught
    in America, such as Shunryu Suzuki,
    Dainin Katagiri, Taizen Maezumi, and
    Shohaku Okumura, as well as those of
    their American students, including Mel
    Weitsman and Bernie Glassman.

    Each contributor selects one fascicle
    and analyzes its key passages both in
    terms of its dharmic significance and
    looking at how it can be understood
    in today’s world. They worked with a
    variety of Dogen translations, including
    those by Carl Bielefeldt, Hee-Jin Kim,
    Herbert Nearman, and Kazuaki Tanahashi.
    Rather than making for inconsistency,
    the various translations show
    how widely Dogen’s writings have been
    disseminated in the past few decades
    and also reveal the growing contribution
    of women translators and commentators.
    One, Shotai de la Rosa, is currently
    translating into Spanish another crucial
    Dogen text, the Eihei Koroku (Extensive
    Record).

    The essays are not strictly about
    women; rather, they are by women.
    As Carney observes, the collection is
    not “a feminist treatise”; yet the book
    does, indeed, tell the story of female
    Soto priests, who, by following Dogen’s
    teachings, find their rightful place in the
    community of Buddhist teachers.

    Aside from the introduction, only two
    essays directly address the role of women
    in Dogen’s teachings, one by Grace
    Schireson on Rahaitokuzui and another
    by Shosan Austin on the fascicle Shinjingakudo
    (Body and Mind Study the Way).
    Schireson looks at how Dogen asserted
    the authenticity of female practitioners
    and championed the ultimate equality of
    male and female perspectives and understanding
    of the dharma. Austin, on the
    other hand, highlights the differences
    between male and female counterparts:

    Many of the traditional meditation
    instructions on posture work well
    in general for male bodies, but not
    for female bodies. The 51 percent
    of people whose pelvis and spine
    are shaped one way thus receive
    instructions for the 49 percent
    whose pelvis and spine are shaped
    another way. Women’s bodies are
    not usually mirrored by the traditional
    teachings.


    Equality does not mean sameness,
    she suggests; men and women may
    need to be treated differently when it
    comes to sitting practice, even if the
    experience of awakening knows no such
    differences.

    Most of the essays in this volume
    seek to capture and convey the distinctive
    flavor of Dogen’s incessant wordplay,
    full of psychological irony and
    metaphysical contradiction. As Jan
    Chozen Bays suggests, “Dogen Zenji is
    at home in this world of apparent opposites.
    He is a mountain goat at play in
    the mountain range of paradox, happily
    leaping from peak to peak, jumping
    across huge chasms of apparent
    contradictions.” Here, women authors
    interpret Dogen’s puzzling yet thoughtprovoking
    words, as men have before
    them, by examining the master’s words
    carefully yet creatively. This interpretive
    process follows Dogen’s rhetorical
    twists and turns, phrase by phrase,
    showing how and why passages make
    sense or perhaps can be considered
    nonsensical. Like the Zen koans Dogen
    frequently discusses, his writings in
    Shobogenzo transcend ordinary logic
    and patterns of speech in pursuit of a
    higher truth.

    According to Soto tradition, one must
    spend at least two decades of dedicated
    study in order to master the Shobogenzo
    teachings and be able to confidently say
    something original about their meaning.
    As Carney points out, “Since many of
    our Soto Zen women priests received
    dharma transmission in the early 1990s,
    [women] have only recently come into
    [their] own as teachers.” This volume
    serves the powerful purpose of enabling
    female priests to present their own
    interpretations of Dogen, having now
    reached the point where they and other
    women commentators can contribute
    significantly to making Dogen more
    comprehensible to the West.

    Several of the essays, including Teijo
    Munnich’s analysis of the fascicle Bendowa
    (Discourse about How to Practice
    the Way), combine careful readings of
    the text with particularly insightful
    interpretations. The Bendowa is the
    opening section of one of the two main
    versions of the Shobogenzo (the 95-fascicle
    version as opposed to the 75-fascicle
    one). It deals with the doctrine
    of jijuyu zanmai (the samadhi of selfenjoyment).
    Munnich introduces the
    image of a dancer to illustrate this idea;
    she talks about the majestic feeling of
    the dharma dancing through the practitioner.
    In another noteworthy essay,
    Seisen Saunders considers the ethical
    ramifications of Shoaku Makusa (Not
    Doing Evils) by examining the deceptively
    simple behavior of a five-year-old
    child at a local playground. She talks
    about how the child makes “friendship
    moves” rather than “friendship
    blocks.”

    In another effective essay, Shinshu
    Roberts explicates the notion of hereand-
    now reality expressed in the Uji
    (Being/Time) fascicle. Dogen points out
    that one cannot ever think that the mistakes
    of the past are left behind as we
    charge toward the future. Because of
    the unity of past, present, and future,
    according to Dogen there is no sense of
    arriving at an illusory endpoint. Rather,
    there is only an ongoing process of
    self-cultivation.

    Finally, Chozen Bays makes good
    sense of some of the thorniest writing
    in Dogen’s world of contradictions. In
    an essay about the udambara flower, the
    legendary blossom symbolizing the Buddha’s
    enlightenment, Bays examines the
    plant species in both ancient and modern
    times. Her essay is based on the
    Udonge fascicle.

    Despite Dogen’s egalitarian teachings,
    it remains a matter of historical
    debate whether monks in ancient China
    or Japan would have ever bowed to
    their female counterparts to receive the
    marrow. However, the essays included
    in this volume demonstrate that whatever
    the truth of history, it is high time the men do.

    --

    Steven Heine is a professor of religion
    and the director of Asian studies at
    Florida International University. He
    is the editor of Dogen: Textual and
    Historical Studies and the author of the
    forthcoming book Like Cats and Dogs:
    Contesting the Mu Koan in Zen Buddhism,
    both from Oxford University Press
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  25. #25
    Treeleaf Unsui Shokai's Avatar
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    DOGEN'S GENJOKOAN: THREE COMMENTARIES is magnificent.
    If this book is ordered from Sanshin
    20130211_061647_2.jpg

    You get a Signed Copy !! ta♫ da♪
    (Thank you Myoku)
    gassho, Shokai, still learning the way and knowing nothing
    仁道 生開 - Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    Just another itinerant monk; go somewhere else to listen to someone who really knows.

  26. #26
    Senior Member Sydney's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by adrianbkelly View Post
    I am in the middle of re-reading "Realising Genjokoan"; it has done more than any other book to clarify for me what our practice is all about. I can't recommend it highly enough!

    _/\_
    Ade
    I'm reading it for the first time, and find it very engaging.
    Diligently attain nothing. Sort of. Best not to over-think it.
    http://gplus.to/sydneytinker

  27. #27
    LIVING BY VOW although seemingly covering other subjects, and it does, is an underlying of the Genjokoan fascicle. What isn't, really?
    I do recommend LIVING just as strongly.
    Roshi has found a writing voice which is a perfect vehicle for his profound understanding, and he loves to communicate it.
    "Know that the practice of zazen is the complete path of buddha-dharma and nothing can be compared to it....it is not the practice of one or two buddhas but all the buddha ancestors practice this way."
    Dogen zenji in Bendowa






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