He is known for two major works. The first work, the massive Shobogenzo (Treasury of the True Dharma Eye), represents his early teachings and exists in myriad English translations; the second work, the Eihei Koroku, is a collection of all his later teachings, including short formal discourses to the monks training at his temple, longer informal talks, and koans with his commentaries, as well as short appreciatory verses on various topics. The Shobogenzo has received enormous attention in Western Zen and Western Zen literature, and with the publication of this watershed volume, the Eihei Koroku will surely rise to commensurate stature.
Dogen's Extensive Record is the first-ever complete and scholarly translation of this monumental work into English and this edition is the first time it has been available in paperback. This edition contains extensive and detailed research and annotation by scholars, translators and Zen teachers Taigen Dan Leighton and Shohaku Okumura, as well as forewords by the eighteenth-century poet-monk Ryokan and Tenshin Reb Anderson, former abbot of the San Francisco Zen Center - plus introductory essays from Dogen scholar Steven Heine, and the prominent, late American Zen master John Daido Loori.
The red (or ‘vermilion’) thread originally connoted the color of the silk undergarments courtesans were obliged to wear. Most spiritual traditions do their best to distance themselves as thoroughly as possible from such direct and intimate contact with the fact of impassioned human bodily being, if not to declare open war upon the flesh, and the female body that most plainly bears flesh into the world. Spirituality has trouble dealing with the fact that we arrive here covered in blood.
But the red thread can never be cut. Why not? Why would no perfectly accomplished saint ever even dream of cutting it?
Red Thread Zen will set out to explore every corner of the magnificent koan of being ‘still attached to the red thread, or ‘line of tears’. This is an argument against the bloodless and socially disengaged form of ‘Buddhism’ that is generally being gestated in the West, one that shades too readily into the blandest of bland self-help.
This edition also contains commentary on Bendowa by Kosho Uchiyama Roshi, a foreword by Taigen Daniel Leighton, and an Introduction by Shohaku Okumura, both of whom prepared this English translation.
Unlike many scholarly studies, which offer detailed perspectives on historical development, or guides for personal practice written by contemporary Buddhist teachers, this volume takes a middle path between these two approaches, weaving together both history and insight to convey to the general reader the conditions, energy, and creativity that characterize Chan. Following a survey of the birth and development of Chan, its practices and spirituality are fleshed out through stories and teachings drawn from the lives of four masters: Bodhidharma, Huineng, Mazu, and Linji. Finally, the meaning of Chan as a living spiritual tradition is addressed through a philosophical reading of its practice as the realization of wisdom, attentive mastery, and moral clarity.
The Shobogenzo Zuimonki consists largely of brief talks, horatatory remarks, and instructional and cautionary comments by the Soto Zen Master Dogen (1200-1253). Translated, shobogenzo means the eye of the true law. Roughly translated, zuimonki means easy for the ears to understand, or simplified.