Dogen: Textual and Historical Studies

Oxford University Press
Free sample

In this groundbreaking collection of essays edited by Steven Heine, leading scholars of Buddhism from both sides of the Pacific explore the life and thought of Zen Master Dogen (1200-1253), the founder of the Japanese Soto sect. Through both textual and historical analysis, the volume shows Dogen in context of the Chinese Chan tradition that influenced him and demonstrates the tremendous, lasting impact he had on Buddhist thought and culture in Japan. Special attention is given to the Shobogenzo and several of its fascicles, which express D?gen's views on such practices and rituals as using supranormal powers (jinzu), reading the sutras (kankin), diligent training in zazen meditation (shikan taza), and the koan realized in everyday life (genjokoan). Dogen: Textual and Historical Studies also analyzes the historical significance of this seminal figure: for instance, Dogen's methods of appropriating or contrasting with Chan sources, as well as how Dogen was understood and examined in later periods, including modern times. This book is a crucial contribution to the advancement of specialized studies of Dogen, as well as to the Chan/Zen school in the context of East Asian religions and their social and historical trends.
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About the author

Steven Heine is an authority on Japanese religion and society, especially the history of Zen Buddhism and the life and works of Dogen. He has published two dozen books, including Did Dogen Go to China? (2006), Zen Skin, Zen Marrow (2010), and Zen Masters (2010).
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Additional Information

Publisher
Oxford University Press
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Published on
Feb 1, 2012
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Pages
312
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ISBN
9780199923175
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Best For
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Language
English
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Genres
Religion / Buddhism / History
Religion / Buddhism / Zen
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Content Protection
This content is DRM protected.
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Eligible for Family Library

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This book provides an in-depth textual and literary analysis of the Blue Cliff Record (Chinese Biyanlu, Japanese Hekiganroku), a seminal Chan/Zen Buddhist collection of commentaries on one hundred gongan/koan cases, considered in light of historical, cultural, and intellectual trends from the Song dynasty (960-1279). Compiled by the disciples of Yuanwu Keqin in 1128, the Blue Cliff Record is considered a classic of East Asian literature for its creative integration of prose and verse as well as hybrid or capping-phrase interpretations of perplexing cases.The collection employs a variety of rhetorical devices culled from both classic and vernacular literary sources and styles and is particularly notable for its use of indirection, allusiveness, irony, paradox, and wordplay, all characteristic of the approach of literary or lettered Chan. However, as instrumental and influential as it is considered to be, the Blue Cliff Record has long been shrouded in controversy. The collection is probably best known today for having been destroyed in the 1130s at the dawn of the Southern Song dynasty (1127-1279) by Dahui Zonggao, Yuanwu's main disciple and harshest critic. It was out of circulation for nearly two centuries before being revived and partially reconstructed in the early 1300s. In this book, Steven Heine examines the diverse ideological connections and disconnections behind subsequent commentaries and translations of the Blue Cliff Record, thereby shedding light on the broad range of gongan literature produced in the eleventh to thirteenth centuries and beyond.
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