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Thread: Tips for Approaching the Shobogenzo

  1. #1

    Tips for Approaching the Shobogenzo

    Hi everyone,

    I hope I'm posting this in the right section but if not my apologies. I would like to read the Shobogenzo but want to be sure I am approaching such a seminal work correctly. Any thoughts from Rev. Jundo or Rev. Taigu would be especially appreciated as well as comments and suggestions from anyone else. Also, if any one is interested in doing a correspondence (via email and chat) study group of the book I would be interested in that as well. Metta to all!


    To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
    -Dhp. 183
    My Practice Blog

  2. #2
    just my 2 cents and it will be worthless,
    but I am sure both Jundo and Taigu will point you well.

    Approach this flowing river and tall mountain of Shobogenzo like you would your life. Day by day. Moment to moment. Page by page. Pick it up and start reading. And just like life, there will be moments of understanding, moments of confusions, moments when its too overwhelming and we wish to put it down. And maybe we will. Momentarily turn away. Just to find ourselves back where we always were. Never having left.

    Approach it in such a way

    Throw away the one who will do the reading and let the words read you.

    In Gassho

  3. #3
    Wise words from Seiryu.

    Hi KB,

    There are a couple of threads on just this ...

    SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Dogen - A Love Supreme

    Then, the more detailed thread,

    How to Read Dogen

    I might also mention this one ...

    SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Dogen is SO OLD!

    That should get one "started-non-started" !

    Gassho, Jundo

  4. #4
    Rev. Jundo,

    Thanks for those. I never have been able to master forum searches. Metta!


    To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
    -Dhp. 183
    My Practice Blog

  5. #5
    I have just finished a first reading of Shobogenzo - Tanahashi version. I agree with Seiryu completely but would add that you need to just let Dogen's words wash you. Absorb them and when you finish it you will see how his Dharma has worked on you. Gassho.
    平 息

  6. #6
    I agree with Heisoku that you just need to let the words wash over you. I am only part way through my first read of Shobogenzo and would add not to be too reverential. It is far more accessible than I thought it might be.

    However, unless you are an extraordinary human being, far from all of it will be absorbed on the first read. Some sections will soak in over time and some parts will need to be read over and over to hit their mark.

    I am taking this text to be a companion for the next few decades (should I live that long) so feel no need to rush it. Unlike a novel it is not something to read once but to be returned to again and again.



  7. #7
    Tes, allowing Dogen to wash over and right through the bones is vital, as with any good poetry, music, dance or sunrise.

    A good ground in basic Buddhist, Mahayana and Zen perspectives (for want of a better word) is also vital, because such were the "standard tunes" that Jazzman Dogen was always playing and riffing. For all his wildness, Dogen never left the "basic fundamentals" far behind.

    Gassho, J

  8. #8
    Oh yes and I forgot to say read it again and again!
    It reminded me of sewing, each stitch, each phrase, each line, each page.
    May be next time I'll try the Nishijima-Cross version, just to compare, but at present I am just feeling the effect of the first journey..... A bit like Ango!
    平 息

  9. #9
    Thank you all for your replies. I am finding it a bit heady but accessible. This is definitely a work that requires more than a quick and cursory once-over to comprehend. Every good blessing.


    To avoid all evil, to cultivate good, and to cleanse one's mind this is the teaching of the Buddhas.
    -Dhp. 183
    My Practice Blog

  10. #10

    just another few not approach the Shobogenzo with the aim of gaining something. Immerse yourself totally in this weaving of words and pointing fingers, but make sure to not mistake a map (however complicated and alluring) for the territory.


    Hans Chudo Mongen

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