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Thread: New book about Dogen

  1. #1

    New book about Dogen

    For the Dogenologists out there, a new book by Steven Heine about Dogen has just been released.

    Dogen
    Japan’s Original Zen Teacher

    The founder of the Soto school of Zen in Japan, Eihei Dogen (1200–1253) is one of the most influential Buddhist teachers of all time. Although Dogen’s writings have reached wide prominence among contemporary Buddhists and philosophers, there is much that remains enigmatic about his life and writings. In Dogen: Japan’s Original Zen Teacher, respected Dogen scholar and translator Steven Heine offers a nuanced portrait of the master’s historical context, life, and work, paying special attention to issues such as:

    • The nature of the “great doubt” that motivated Dogen’s religious quest
    • The sociopolitical turmoil of Kamakura Japan that led to dynamic innovations in medieval Japanese Buddhism
    • The challenges and transformations Dogen experienced during his pivotal time in China
    • Key inflection points and unresolved questions regarding Dogen’s teaching career in Japan
    • Ongoing controversies in the scholarly interpretations of Dogen’s biography and teachings
    • Synthesizing a lifetime of research and reflection into an accessible narrative, this new addition to the Lives of the Masters series illuminates thought-provoking perspectives on Dogen’s character and teachings, as well as his relevance to contemporary practitioners.


    https://www.shambhala.com/authors/g-...ine/dogen.html

    Gassho,

    Ryūmon

    sat
    流文

    I know nothing.

  2. #2

    New book about Dogen

    Thanks Ryūmon!!! Added it to my Amazon wishlist! Nice find!

    Sat Today
    Last edited by Bion; 01-10-2022 at 01:58 PM.
    Bion
    美音

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  3. #3
    I love Steve Heine, a friend in deed, but that is like 3 Dogen books in 3 years! It is amazing how many ways there is for someone to tell the same story by rearranging chapter headings.

    But in all seriousness, his last book on Dogen (or was it the one before last? **) is perhaps the best scholar's treatment of Dogen, and what he was on about, that I have ever read (even though I quibbled here and there) ...

    Book Review: Steven Heine's "Readings of Dōgen's "Treasury of the True Dharma Eye"

    This book, quite simply, may be the single best detailed survey and explanation of what Dogen was on about that I have ever read by an academic. Prof. Heine covers most of the same ground as other members of the "Dogen Club" (such as the wonderful volumes by Hee-jin Kim, Shohaku Okumura, Kaz Tanahashi, Taigen Leighton, Carl Bielefeldt, Francis Cook and others), but Steve's presentation is unusually clear, comprehensive and focused, well organized and well expressed, especially given the fine subject matter.
    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah

    ** I checked, and this is actually 3 books back, his 4th book on Dogen in 4 years,
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  4. #4
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I love Steve Heine, a friend indeed, but that is like 3 Dogen books in 3 years! It is amazing how many ways there is for someone to tell the same story by rearranging chapter headings.

    But in all seriousness, his last book on Dogen (or was it the one before last? **) is perhaps the best scholar's treatment of Dogen, and what he was on about, that I have ever read (even though I quibbled here and there) ...



    Gassho, Jundo

    STLah

    ** I checked, and this is actually 3 books back, his 4th book on Dogen in 4 years,
    Dōgen - the gift that keeps on giving!

    Sat Today
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-10-2022 at 03:01 PM.
    Bion
    美音

    -------------------------
    Join me on Insight Timer
    Help me feed those in need by joining my Share The Meal team HERE

  5. #5
    I love Steve Heine, a friend in deed, but that is like 3 Dogen books in 3 years! It is amazing how many ways there is for someone to tell the same story by rearranging chapter headings.
    Lovely to have another addition to the Dogen literature although my bank manager would like to ask him not to write so many!

    Gassho
    Kokuu
    -sattoday-
    ------------------------------------
    Feel free to message me if you wish to talk about issues around practicing with physical limitations. This is something I have been sitting with for a fair while and am happy to help with suggestions or just offer a listening ear.

  6. #6

  7. #7
    Quote Originally Posted by Jundo View Post
    I love Steve Heine, a friend in deed, but that is like 3 Dogen books in 3 years! It is amazing how many ways there is for someone to tell the same story by rearranging chapter headings.
    This one is a lot about his biography, trying to sort the true and false, as well as his ideas.

    You know how publishing works: you make a niche for yourself, and you keep publishing more and more in that niche. Also, in his case, I think it's likely that some of these projects were in the works for some time, like this one which is in a series by Shambhala about famous Buddhist teachers.

    Gassho,

    Ryūmon

    sat
    流文

    I know nothing.

  8. #8
    Thank you.

    I don't have any of his books so one that focuses on his biography as well as his teaching might be the best one for me.

    Stewart
    Sat today

  9. #9
    Yes, please everyone notice the little tongue in cheek that was in my original comment ...

    It is amazing how many ways there is for someone to tell the same story by rearranging chapter headings.
    All his books are tremendous resources for us Dogenites.

    I was honored, by the way, that Steve included my positive review of his last book in his university's academic journal, which he edits ...

    http://asian.fiu.edu/projects-and-gr...views-2020.pdf

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    Last edited by Jundo; 01-11-2022 at 03:42 AM.
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  10. #10
    Jundo; Congratulations lovely review, you can do one for my next book

    合掌
    stlah
    合掌 仁道 生開 - gassho, Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    日々是好日 【nichi nichi korego nichi】Every Day is a Good Day!!

  11. #11
    This looks great but when I saw it the other day I let out a little whimper. Just as I though I was getting on top of my reading list, another book comes along and demands inclusion!

    Gassho,

    heiso

    StLah

  12. #12
    I must add that, now, after reading about half the book, it is the best presentation of Dogen's life that I've seen. It puts his writings into context, and explains why there are disparities in what he talks about and how.

    Gassho,

    Ryūmon

    sat
    流文

    I know nothing.

  13. #13
    More Dogen! couldn't be happier! Though the list of books about Dogen to read will probably take a lifetime already... so

    Gassho, Tomás
    Sat&LaH

  14. #14
    Quote Originally Posted by Ryumon View Post
    I must add that, now, after reading about half the book, it is the best presentation of Dogen's life that I've seen. It puts his writings into context, and explains why there are disparities in what he talks about and how.

    Gassho,

    Ryūmon

    sat
    I’m about 80 pages in, and I’m really enjoying it also. Heine is a good author, it’s not too dry or stuffy (compared with Kim’s ‘mystical realist’ which I have found a real slog to get through, one of these days I’ll read it all…), quite a page turner actually! I picked up his “readings of Dōgens treasury of the true dharma eye” at the same time so looking forward to that one also.

    So, for anyone on the fence, my vote joins the chorus of good reviews here; definitely recommend it based on the first 1/4 alone.

    Gassho, Neil
    (./sat+lah)
    Last edited by houst0n; 01-13-2022 at 07:48 PM.

  15. #15
    Quote Originally Posted by houst0n View Post
    I’m about 80 pages in, and I’m really enjoying it also. Heine is a good author, it’s not too dry or stuffy (compared with Kim’s ‘mystical realist’ which I have found a real slog to get through, one of these days I’ll read it all…), quite a page turner actually! I picked up his “readings of Dōgens treasury of the true dharma eye” at the same time so looking forward to that one also.

    So, for anyone on the fence, my vote joins the chorus of good reviews here; definitely recommend it based on the first 1/4 alone.

    Gassho, Neil
    (./sat+lah)
    I just bought Kim's book and I am not buying anything else nonessential this year. Guess dry and stuffy will have to do. Wish I'd asked here before buying a Dogen bio.

    Btw, did Dogen go to China? I've seen some debate on this elsewhere but am not going to buy Heiene's book by that title for $100.

    Does lineage really matter? It seems after Ananda the line forward from the Buddha gets pretty sketchy, and in Zen after Boddhidharma and six patriarchs it does as well. . .

    Gassho,
    G
    ST
    Jukai '09 Dharma Name: Shinko 慎重(Prudent Calm)

  16. #16
    Quote Originally Posted by Gregor View Post

    Btw, did Dogen go to China? I've seen some debate on this elsewhere but am not going to buy Heiene's book by that title for $100.
    That is another wonderful book by Dr. Heine and the answer is that, of course, he went to China without question. The title is a bit of tongue in cheek. The book primarily looks at the development of the Shobogenzo, and what Dogen actually experienced in China versus what was later claimed that he experienced there (if I recall correctly, as has been awhile since my last reading of this book.)

    By the way, scholarly books on Buddhism can be downloaded, usually with the scholar's awareness and tolerance, if something is out of budget for somebody. It is for education use, and does not violate a Precept, in my view, if a scholarly or Buddhist book that someone otherwise cannot easily borrow or find. The book is available here:

    https://terebess.hu/zen/mesterek/StevenHeine.html

    https://epdf.pub/did-dogen-go-to-chi...3c4136684.html

    Does lineage really matter? It seems after Ananda the line forward from the Buddha gets pretty sketchy, and in Zen after Boddhidharma and six patriarchs it does as well. . .
    The Lineage is pretty solid and well documented back for at least 1000 years, which is pretty good!

    However, before that it represents somebody, many someones known and unknown, who kept the flame going, and nurtured Buddhism and the development of Zen, generation by generation. Even if we don't exactly have the names just right ... it is somebody, many somebodies.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  17. #17
    Thank you so much for the resources, encouragement and insight. Gonna get reading now.

    Gassho,

    Greg
    ST

    Sent from my SM-N981U using Tapatalk
    Jukai '09 Dharma Name: Shinko 慎重(Prudent Calm)

  18. #18
    The only thing (and it's really minor) I'm not so big on at the moment is Heine calls what we usually refer to (being a Nishijima house, here) as "dropping off of body and mind", "casting off of body and mind".

    I always kind of thought of 'casting' something off as like, throwing it down or rather *actively* shedding it. Whereas, 'dropping' off seems much more gentle, passive, just letting it go -- like how we just don't interact with our thoughts during zazen instead of actively trying not to think of anything. It subtly changes the way I pictured this, which is good and bad I suppose. I'm still in the 'dropping off' vs 'casting off' camp though, what do my lovely forum-mates think?

    Also, in the history of the shobogenzo section they seem to mention every popular version *except* the nishijima/cross one, which I thought was a bit weird; wasn't the Nishijima/Cross edition the first *full* English translation?

    Anyway. Enjoy :}
    Gassho
    ./sat+lah
    Neil

  19. #19
    Quote Originally Posted by houst0n View Post
    Also, in the history of the shobogenzo section they seem to mention every popular version *except* the nishijima/cross one, which I thought was a bit weird; wasn't the Nishijima/Cross edition the first *full* English translation?

    l
    Hmmm. Steve Heine usually references the Nishijima-Cross in his other books, and quotes it quite often. I don't think it was the first complete in English, but Steve told me it is perhaps the most precise in following the grammar and exact wording of Dogen, although maybe not the most "musical" in sound (Tanahashi is most musical, but somewhat less precise). None of the translations are perfect.

    Gassho, J

    STLah
    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

  20. #20
    Quote Originally Posted by houst0n View Post
    The only thing (and it's really minor) I'm not so big on at the moment is Heine calls what we usually refer to (being a Nishijima house, here) as "dropping off of body and mind", "casting off of body and mind".

    I always kind of thought of 'casting' something off as like, throwing it down or rather *actively* shedding it. Whereas, 'dropping' off seems much more gentle, passive, just letting it go -- like how we just don't interact with our thoughts during zazen instead of actively trying not to think of anything. It subtly changes the way I pictured this, which is good and bad I suppose. I'm still in the 'dropping off' vs 'casting off' camp though, what do my lovely forum-mates think?
    As someone who is a writer, and who has worked as a translator, I have been thinking the same thing. It’s probably a tough word to translate precisely, and there are other translations (such as sloughing off). To me, he important element is the somewhat passive dropping rather than the more active casting. It so happens that the next episode of The Zen of Everything will address this concept, so tune in next week

    Gassho,
    Ryūmon
    Sat
    流文

    I know nothing.

  21. #21
    Casting vs Dropping. Seems slow method vs Fast. Casting off feels more Rinzai to me.

    I'll stay tuned

    Gassho,

    G
    STlah

    Sent from my SM-N981U using Tapatalk
    Jukai '09 Dharma Name: Shinko 慎重(Prudent Calm)

  22. #22
    So I just finished this one, the first half of the book was definitely more interesting (well, to me anyway -- first half: Dogen bio, second half: history/chronology of his writings) and he does get rather.. 'literary' when going into the current understanding of the chronology of the writings and so forth. The final chapter is quite lovely though, about how we can apply 'Dogen zen' as Heine calls it to the current state of the world.

    All in all, recommended

    Gassho,
    ./sitting shortly

    Neil

  23. #23
    Just received my copy yesterday

    gassho, Shokai
    合掌 仁道 生開 - gassho, Jindo Shokai "Open to life in a benevolent way"
    日々是好日 【nichi nichi korego nichi】Every Day is a Good Day!!

  24. #24
    It helps if you have a copy of extensive record and shobogenzo nearby; I got a little frustrated when he routinely would say something like "And in 1.36 of extensive record, he wrote a very beautiful poem about blah blah, and <someone else> wrote a lovely response, here's one line of the response", and so I would go and look up the original, but it got a bit tiresome doing that on every few pages. Anyway, not trying to criticise! Dogen scholars be Dogen scholars. I enjoyed it, and it reminds one that Dogen is something that we can spend the rest of our lives with, which I find very comforting.

    The dharma flower turns.

    Gassho,
    ./sat (finally) :}
    Last edited by houst0n; 01-19-2022 at 11:02 PM.

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