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Master Dogen's Shobogenzo, Book 2 Paperback – 20 Sep 2005

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Product details

  • Paperback: 276 pages
  • Publisher: BookSurge Publishing (20 Sept. 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1419613162
  • ISBN-13: 978-1419613166
  • Product Dimensions: 17.8 x 1.6 x 25.4 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 836,387 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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From the Author

Further investigation of "the samadhi of receiving and using the self."

The opening paragraph of Shobogenzo contains the expression "the samadhi of receiving and using the self." My teacher and co-translator Gudo Nishijima has for many years explained that "the samadhi of receiving and using the self" expresses balance of the parasympathetic and sympathetic nerves. This balance is facilitated when the spine lengthens naturally, through the anti-gravity action of the postural reflexes. My understanding of this process has become much clearer due to training in the FM Alexander Technique. Nishijima Roshi himself has recently confirmed that, in his view also, "Buddhism and the Alexander Technique are based on the same principles. Relying upon the common basis we can explain both Buddhism and the Alexander Technique." --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.


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Format: Paperback
(Please be aware that this review for volume 2, for some unknown reason, appears under volume 4 for one edition of the text published by Booksurge Publishing (but not the volume 4 indicated with a link below, published by Windbell).)

The Nishijima/Cross translation of the Kana Shobogenzo (in four volumes), supported by the Japan Foundation, is a fine translation of the 95 chapter edition of Shobogenzo, the magnum opus of Eihei Dogen [1200-1253], the First Japanese Soto Zen Buddhist Ancestor. The translation adheres closely to the original Japanese, with a clear style and extensive annotations.

The various fascicles of the Kana Shobogenzo were written between 1231 and 1253 (the year of Dogen's death). Unlike earlier Zen writings originating in Japan, including Dogen's own Shinji Shobogenzo, which were written in Chinese, the Kana Shobogenzo was written in Japanese.

Modern editions of the Kana Shobogenzo contain 95 fascicles, though earlier collections in the Soto Zen tradition varied in number (75, 60, and 28). Dogen began a process of revision late in his life that resulted in 12 of these fascicles being revised, but it is thought that he intended to cover them all. There is debate over whether these revisions represented a shift in his views. The essays in Shobogenzo were delivered as sermons in a less formal style than the Chinese-language sermons of the Eihei Koroku. (The Eihei Koroku (translated as Dogen's Extensive Record) is Dogen's second major work.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta) (May include reviews from Early Reviewer Rewards Program)

Amazon.com: 4.7 out of 5 stars 7 reviews
5.0 out of 5 stars as ordered 29 May 2014
By will crow - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
this book is like Goldilocks' porridge and bed, not too cold, not too hot, nor too hard or too soft, it is just right.
5.0 out of 5 stars Truly Inspired 14 Oct. 2013
By Glenn McWilliams - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is what Zen is all about. There is a great deal of insight and guidance for those on the journey of truth.
5.0 out of 5 stars Master Dogen's Shobogenzo, Book 2 10 July 2010
By Benjamin Lopez - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Master Dogen's Shobogenzo, Book 2 is a must buy for anyone who is serious about learning Zen Buddhism.
45 of 48 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Attempting a more literally accurate translation of Dogen. 11 Oct. 2001
By tepi - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
MASTER DOGEN'S SHOBOGENZO - Book 2. Translated by Gudo Wafu Nishijima and Chodo Cross. 304 pp. London : Windbell Publications Ltd., 1996. ISBN 0 9523002 2 2 (Pbk).

The works of Zen Master Dogen (1200-53) are profound. They express the point-of-view of an enlightened Master. Such works, especially when written in a sinograph-based language such as Japanese or Chinese, present very real problems of interpretation, and there are few who are equal to the task of competently translating them. Of these few, Nishijima Roshi would certainly seem to be one.
Born in 1919 in Yokohama, he is a graduate of the prestigious Law Department of Tokyo University. Between 1940 and 1973 - when he became a Zen priest - he combined a career in the Ministry of Finance with daily practice in Zazen and study of the 'Shobogenzo.' In his brief but extremely interesting Preface he writes:
"I think that reading Shobogenzo is the best way to come to an exact understanding of Buddhist theory, because Master Dogen was outstanding in his ability to understand and explain Buddhism rationally" (page ix).
In comparing the present translation with three four others I have on my shelves, I was struck by what seems to me to be its greater clarity. Here, for example, is Norman Waddell's translation of the closing lines of Book 1, Fascicle 11 - Uji - Existence-Time :
"Such investigations in thoroughgoing practice, reaching here and not reaching there - that is the time of being-time" ('Eastern Buddhist,' Vol XII No.1, May 1979, page 129).
Here is the Nishijima-Cross translation of the same lines :
"When we experience coming and experience leaving, and when we experience presence and experience absence, like this [i.e., as in the immediately preceding scriptural quotation], that time is Existence-Time" (page 118).
One of the reasons for the difference between these two readings may have to do with Nishijima Roshi's expressed preference for a literal, as opposed to a more literary translation, as when he commented : "I like the translation from which Master Dogen's Japanese can be guessed" (page xi). But whatever may be the case, whereas the Waddell reading conveys little to me, the Nishijima-Cross reading immediately evokes such things as the felt presence of the absence that is death.
Besides its greater clarity, there are many other fine things in this book. These include the use, where appropriate, of Chinese characters, and the fact that all passages have been keyed to the 'Gendaigo-yaku-shobogenzo,' Nishijima Roshi's 13-volume edition of the 'Shobogenzo' in Modern Japanese, features the advanced student will greatly appreciate. In addition, all of Dogen's extensive quotations from the Chinese Buddhist scriptures have been italicized, and the value of this becomes instantly apparent once one starts reading.
The book is rounded out with three Appendices: 1. A table of the Chinese Masters; 2. A detailed Glossary of Sanskrit terms; 3. Four Bibliographies.
The book is bound in a strong glossy wrapper, stitched, and well-printed on excellent paper. Those who may be new to Dogen would probably be better off starting with a book of selections such as Kazuaki Tanahashi's 'Moon in a Dewdrop,' but advanced students will certainly want to have this set.
All in all, it has to be one of the finest and most useful translations of the 'Shobogenzo' that we have ever seen. But since this second volume contains only fascicles 22-41 of the complete 95-fascicle text of the 'Shobogenzo,' to get the complete text you will of course also have to acquire Volumes 1, 3, and 4.
26 of 32 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars The Best Translation of Dogen Bar None 29 Nov. 2005
By Bradley Warner - Published on Amazon.com
Format: Paperback
This English translation of Shobogenzo is the best there ever was or will be. Not only does Gudo Nishijima know his stuff when translating ancient Japanese to English (with invaluable assistance from student Chodo Cross who makes the prose clear and easy to read without sacrificing a bit of the original), he has been living the message of Shobogenzo for more than six decades. Nishijima doesn't just cherry pick his favorite chapters. He gives you the whole thing - including the controversial stuff many modern scholars would like to avoid! This is the version of Shobogenzo referenced in my own book Hardcore Zen, which is also available from Amazon.
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