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Realizing Genjokoan: The Key to Dogen's Shobogenzo [Kindle Edition]

Shohaku Okumura , Taigen Dan Leighton

Kindle-Preis: EUR 9,58 Inkl. MwSt. und kostenloser drahtloser Lieferung über Amazon Whispernet

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Dogen, the thirteenth-century Zen master who founded the Japanese Soto school of Zen, is renowned as one the world's most remarkable religious geniuses. His works are both richly poetic and deeply insightful and philosophical, pointing to the endless depths of Zen exploration. And almost precisely because of these facts, Dogen is often difficult for readers to understand and fully appreciate.

Realizing Genjokoan is a comprehensive introduction to the teachings and approach of this great thinker, taking us on a thorough guided tour of the most important essay-Genjokoan-in Dogen's seminal work, the Shobogenzo. Indeed, the Genjokoan is regarded as the pinnacle of Dogen's writings, encompassing and encapsulating the essence of all the rest of his work.

Our tour guide for this journey is Shohaku Okumura, a prominent teacher in his own right, who has dedicated his life to translating and teaching Dogen.

This volume also includes an introduction to Dogen's life from Hee-Jin Kim's classic, Eihei Dogen: Mystical Realist, with updated annotations by Okumura.

Über den Autor und weitere Mitwirkende

Shohaku Okumura is a Soto Zen priest and Dharma successor of Kosho Uchiyama Roshi. He is a graduate of Komazawa University and has practiced in Japan at Antaiji, Zuioji, and the Kyoto Soto Zen Center, and in Massachusetts at the Pioneer Valley Zendo. He is the former director of the Soto Zen Buddhism International Center in San Francisco. His previously published books of translation include Shobogenzo Zuimonki, Dogen Zen, Zen Teachings of Homeless Kodo, and Opening the Hand of Thought. Okumura is also editor of Dogen Zen and Its Relevance for Our Time and SotoZen. He is the founding teacher of the Sanshin Zen Community, based in Bloomington, Indiana, where he lives with his family.

Taigen Dan Leighton, Soto Zen priest and successor in the Suzuki Roshi lineage, received Dharma Transmission in 2000 from Reb Anderson Roshi and is Dharma Teacher at Ancient Dragon Zen Gate in Chicago. After residing for years at San Francisco Zen Center and Tassajara monastery, Taigen also practiced for two years in Kyoto, Japan. Taigen is author of Zen Questions: Zazen, Dogen, and the Spirit of Creative Inquiry, Faces of Compassion: Classic Bodhisattva Archetypes and Their Modern Expression, and Visions of Awakening Space and Time: Dogen and the Lotus Sutra. He has edited and co-translated several Zen texts including: Dogen's Extensive Record: A Translation of Eihei Koroku, Cultivating the Empty Field: The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi, Dogen's Pure Standards for the Zen Community, and The Wholehearted Way, and has contributed to many other books and journals. Taigen teaches online at Berkeley Graduate Theological Union, from where he has a PhD. He has taught at other universities including Saint Mary's College, the California Institute of Integral Studies, and in Chicago at Meadville Lombard Theological Seminary and Loyola University Chicago. Taigen has long been active in social justice programs, including Peace and Environmental Activism.


  • Format: Kindle Edition
  • Dateigröße: 755 KB
  • Seitenzahl der Print-Ausgabe: 326 Seiten
  • Verlag: Wisdom Publications; Auflage: annotated edition (10. Mai 2010)
  • Verkauf durch: Amazon Media EU S.à r.l.
  • Sprache: Englisch
  • ISBN-10: 0861716019
  • ISBN-13: 978-0861716012
  • Text-to-Speech (Vorlesemodus): Nicht aktiviert
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Die hilfreichsten Kundenrezensionen auf (beta) 4.7 von 5 Sternen  12 Rezensionen
43 von 46 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
4.0 von 5 Sternen 4.5 Stars 6. Januar 2011
Von Estragon - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Genjokoan, chosen by Dogen Zenji to be the first chapter of his Shobogenzo, stands as the cornerstone of the man's maddening and penetrating philosophy. Okumura has spent much of his life chewing over the subtleties of Dogen's prose and in the process has offered, I hear, many fine translations. This book, the first by Okumura I have read, proposes to translate and discuss Genjokoan section by section, untangling its many semiotic knots and showing how even such an abstruse text can be focused entirely on practice and the life of sustained, unrelenting zazen. In the process we learn something about its connection to the other chapters of Shobogenzo, the relationship between the early and late periods of Dogen's thought-- the latter exemplified by the Extensive Record (translated, at least in part, by Okumura I believe)-- and the effect other streams of Mahayana philosophy had on the development of Dogen's ideas.

Because Genjokoan itself is so difficult "Realizing Genjokoan" is at times quite dense and academic in tone. this is especially true at the beginning when a great deal of linguistic explication, designed to give us some idea of the sophistication and poetic brilliance of Dogen's prose, takes place. Because of this, though not so much at the beginning for me, I found myself utterly lost at certain points while transfixed at others. This is, of course, a result of my own novice understanding of the material and no fault of Okumura's. But nonetheless, it's worth pointing out that at some points this book is very difficult.

One interesting facet of "Realizing Genjokoan" is Okumura's discussion of the place of "Enlightenment" (or, anyway, Kensho) in Dogen's thought. Taking the orthodox Soto position, Okumura denies Kensho is in any way important to the practice of Zen-- or to Dogen's understanding of Zen-- as opposed to the common belief that the Rinzai sect fetishizes it. Normally I find such debates too close to the doctrinal squabbles of Christian theology for my taste-- they are both intractable and uninteresting at the same time, and it's better not to waste your time on them. However, Okumura's texts presents the Soto argument with a certain good-natured force so its hard to ignore it in this case, and anyway Dogen's entire project during his years before moving to Eiheiji was to provide his followers a kind of pheonomenology of the awakened person (sorry for the pretentious verbiage) so it's kind of the central thing. What's more, some of the best sections (for me) were about this very topic. Okumura skillfully makes the case that for Dogen Realization or Enlightenment exists as a precise, open, and unsentimental moment-by-moment relationship with the universe. The person or self doesn't become "enlightened" because there is no separate individual to enlighten (we are talking about Buddhism after all). Rather, the universe itself is already perfectly enlightened and, since we are not different from the rest of the universe, we can take part of that any time through practice. As everything is already perfect, already enlightened, we don't discover our own "awakening." Instead we continually express the perfect awakening of the entire universe. This is inspiring stuff, and makes the striving for Kensho seem not only drab and selfish but, in the end, totally useless. Of course we know that Kensho is only the start of the journey in Rinzai and that, in the end, the whole purpose of striving is to, paradoxically, see in the bones how useless it is strive. This whitewashing of the Koan and Rinzai tradition is my only real criticism of an otherwise excellent book.

Another instance of this is Okumura's discussion of the recent scholarship concerning Dogen's own famous "Kensho" experience, the "Dropping away of Mind and Body" while at Rujing's monastery in China. If, the argument goes, Dogen is so dismissive of Kensho in his writings (which is what's being debated since he rarely made simple statements of fact and often made contradictory ones) then how come so much emphasis is made on his own Kensho? For Soto scholars and Okumura this specific account has been made-up. The whole thing is a lie designed to, somehow, rehabilitate the whole concept. One dissenting opinion on this is the teacher and writer Dosho Port [...]), a Dharma Heir of Dainin Katagiri. For Port, the scholarship suggesting malfeasance from later priests is unconvincing, which I can't comment on because I know nothing about it. But as to whether or not Dogen had an "Enlightenment Experience" Port makes the excellent point that in denying such things we are discounting a great deal of Buddhist and Zen history. Obviously Buddhists ever since Buddha himself have had opening experiences. And to deny this seems unwarranted arrogance. I like Port's take on the whole thing: "So ... did Dogen have a personal enlightenment? Yes, but he didn't take it personally."

But in the end, I can't say any of this matters to me when it comes to whether or not recommending the book is a good idea. Whatever the status of Kensho and the historical fact of Dogen's enlightenment, this book is an amazing piece of work. It's a good alternative if you don't have access to the entirety of Shobogenzo or want something meatier than, say, Brad Warner's "Sit Down and Shut Up" (Which I do recommend, by the way). It's also a great book if you enjoy an intellectual challeng. There's no doubt I'll be rereading "Realizing Genjokoan" again, and probably yet again.
41 von 46 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Praise for Okumura! 4. Juli 2010
Von Andre Doshim Halaw - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
I first encountered Okumura in "The Art of Just Sitting," edited by John Daido Loori. I immediately resonated with his writing, and especially his approach to Buddhist practice. "Realizing Genjokoan" is a great read for anyone interested in learning about Dogen and the Soto Zen school's perspective on Awakening/practice. Okumura's writing is fresh, humble, lucid, and refreshing. I highly recommend this book. He does a marvelous job unpacking and explicating the first chapter of Dogen's "Shobogenzo," a landmark Zen text that often leaves readers puzzled. After reading this book, I definitely feel more confident to tackle "Shobogenzo" in its entirety.

I can't wait to read his new title, "Living by Vow," due in June, 2012.

--Andre Doshim Halaw
22 von 27 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
2.0 von 5 Sternen Don't get the Kindle version! 19. Februar 2011
Von Buttercup - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Kindle Edition|Verifizierter Kauf
The Kindle version is missing at least 50 pages regarding Dogen's life. The paperback has this and two other items - the Heart Sutra and Dogan's commentary on the Heart Sutra. As far as Shohaku's book goes, it is a easy to understand guide to the Genjokoan - just get it in paperback!
12 von 14 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Excellent exploration of Dogen's Genjokoan 4. Dezember 2010
Von Seth Segall - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Dogen's Genjokoan is an amazing text: beautiful, poetic, profound, enigmatic, baffling, infuriating, unforgettable. The best guide for Westerners is someone who has a sincere Zen practice, decades of experience wrestling with Dogen's writings, a deep knowledge of the Japanese language and the Zen literature, and an ability to connect with a contemporary Western audience. Shohaku Okumura is the right person for the job. In wonderfully clear prose he explores Dogen's often obscure epigrams through the use of linguistics, comparing the text with what Dogen has written elsewhere and to earlier Zen texts and Buddhist sutras, and through his experience as a Soto Zen practitioner and a former student of Uchiyama Roshi. He also draws openly and freely from his own life. This is a wonderful book for any Buddhist practitioner, useful not only in understanding Dogen, but in helping the reader to deepen and realize his Buddhist practice.
8 von 10 Kunden fanden die folgende Rezension hilfreich
5.0 von 5 Sternen Whether you're a new student, on your path, or a long practitioner of Zen, Tao, or Yoga this book is for you. 10. November 2010
Von taofpaul - Veröffentlicht auf
Format:Taschenbuch|Verifizierter Kauf
Whether you're a new student, on your path, or a long practitioner of Zen, Tao, or Yoga this book is for you. Use it as a refresher, reference, or a text for your students. The authenticity and clarity makes this resource destined to become a classic. The author's work here in Realizing Genjokoan pays the greatest respect to Dogan by bringing forth an explanation of his work in a modern accurate and accessible summary. Alan Watts said that his eastern teachers pointed to Dogen's Shobogenzo as the ultimate source for understanding Zen and Tao. Now we have the result of Master Shohaku Okumura's lifelong practice and study to clearly open Shobogenzo and Genjokoan for us.
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