Buddhism: Zen: Early Masters & Teachings
Zen Buddhism: Early Masters & Teachings
Bodhidharma (5th or 6th century CE)
Bodhidharma: "None. Good deeds done with worldly intent bring good karma, but no merit."
Emperor Wu: "So what is the highest meaning of noble truth?"
Bodhidharma: "There is no noble truth, there is only emptiness."
Emperor Wu: "Then, who is standing before me?"
Bodhidharma: "I know not, Your Majesty."
Huineng (638–713 CE)
Engaging Dogen's Zen is a practice-oriented study of Shushogi (a canonical distillation of Dogen's thought used as a primer in the Soto School of Zen) and Fukanzazengi (Dogen's essential text on the practice of "just sitting," a text recited daily in the Soto School of Zen). It is also a study of the entire self. Here, the principles of Soto Zen practice are unpacked and explained by leading contemporary Buddhists from the living tradition--monks, priests, academics, and community teachers. Tackling Dogen's approach to key issues, such as the preeminence of shikantaza, universal buddha nature, and what it means to be a Mahayana Buddhist, the contributors to the volume help Zen practitioners and any who are trying to deepen their lives to appreciate better the teachings of Soto Zen and make these teachings part of their lives.
Treasury of the True Dharma Eye: Zen Master Dogen's Shobo Genzo by Dogen, edited & translated by Kazuaki Tanahashi. Boulder, CO: Shambhala Publications, 2013.
Treasury of the True Dharma Eye (Shobo Genzo, in Japanese) is a monumental work, considered to be one of the profoundest expressions of Zen wisdom ever put on paper, and also the most outstanding literary and philosophical work of Japan. It is a collection of essays by Eihei Dogen (1200–1253), founder of Zen’s Soto school. Kazuaki Tanahashi and a team of translators that represent a Who’s Who of American Zen have produced a translation of the great work that combines accuracy with a deep understanding of Dogen’s voice and literary gifts. This volume includes a wealth of materials to aid understanding, including maps, lineage charts, a bibliography, and an exhaustive glossary of names and terms.
Dogen: Textual and Historical Studies, edited by Steven Heine. New York: Oxford University Press, 2012.
This collection of essays explores the life and thought of Zen Master Dōgen (1200-1253), the founder of the Japanese Soto sect. Through both textual and historical analysis, the volume shows Dōgen 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 Dōgen'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 (genjōkōan). It also analyzes the historical significance of this seminal figure: for instance, Dōgen's methods of appropriating or contrasting with Chan sources, as well as how Dōgen was understood and examined in later periods, including modern times.
Dogen's Extensive Record: A Translation of the Eihei Koroku by Dogen, edited & translated by Taigen Daniel Leighton & Shohaku Okumura. Boston: Wisdom Publications, 2010.
As Shakespeare does with English, Dogen utterly transforms the language of Zen, using it in novel and extraordinarily beautiful ways to point to everything important in the religious life. The Eihei Koroku is a collection of all Dogen's 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. This book 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.
Hakuin (白隠 慧鶴, 1686 – 1769)
With this volume, Norman Waddell completes his acclaimed translation - the first full publication in a foreign language - of the teaching record of one of the greatest Zen masters of all time. Hakuin lived at a time when Japanese Buddhism as a whole and his own Rinzai sect in particular were at low ebb. Through tremendous force of character and creative energy, he initiated a reform movement that swept the country, and today, all Rinzai Zen masters trace their lineage through him. Poison Blossoms contains a highly diverse set of materials: formal and informal presentations to monastic and lay disciples, poems, practice instructions, inscriptions for paintings, comments on koans, letters, and funeral orations. While most items are brief, easily read in a quick sitting, the book also includes extended commentaries on the Heart Sutra, one of Mahayana Buddhism’s central texts; on the famously difficult Five Ranks of Tung-shan; and on the accomplishments of his eminent predecessor Gudō Tōshoku. Having devoted himself for more than three decades to the study and translation of Hakuin's works, Norman Waddell is peerless when it comes to conveying into English the vital, sometimes elegant, often earthy voice of this outstanding teacher.
Hakuin's Precious Mirror Cave: A Zen Miscellany by Hakuin, translated by Norman Waddell. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint, 2009.
The two great streams of Zen Buddhism are the Soto sect, known as the School of Quiet Reflection, and the Rinzai school of rigorous koan study. Hakuin is credited with the modern revival of the Rinzai sect and is its most important teacher. Hakuin’s life has been a great inspiration to the students and practitioners of Zen in the West, his writings offering great authority and practical application. This collection of six diverse and independent works contains five pieces never translated into English before, some of which have been—until quite recently—unknown, even in Japan. One piece offers the most detailed biographical account of his life, from birth to death, and another is his earliest spiritual autobiography. A rich and various group, the offerings here will be important to seasoned practitioners as well as attractive to Zen newcomers.
The Religious Art of Zen Master Hakuin by Katsuhiro Yoshizawa, translated by Norman Waddell. Berkeley, CA: Counterpoint, 2009.
A charismatic and extraordinary Zen teacher and artist, Hakuin is credited with almost single-handedly reforming and revitalizing Japanese Zen from a state of extreme spiritual decline. As a teacher, he placed special emphasis on koan practice, inventing new koans such as the famous “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” He also stressed the need to extend the benefits of Zen to others. What made Hakuin even more remarkable was that he was not only a religious teacher but also a prolific artist. Using calligraphy and painting to create "visual Dharma," his teachings were rendered on paper in pictures, characters, and images, uniquely and magnificently expressing the nature of enlightenment as he wished to impart it to his students. This book contains many of Hakuin’s finest calligraphies and paintings, along with brilliant commentary by Katsuhiro Yoshizawa, the leading Japanese expert on Hakuin and his work. Yoshizawa masterfully guides the reader from one piece of artwork to the next, sharing the story of Hakuin’s life, revealing the profound religious meaning embedded in each illustration, and providing a detailed documentary of the lessons of one of Zen’s most respected teachers.
The Essential Teachings of Zen Master Hakuin: A Translation of the Sokko-roku Kaien-fusetsu by Hakuin, translated by Norman Waddell. Boston, MA: Shambhala Publications, 1994.
A fiery and intensely dynamic Zen teacher, Hakuin placed special emphasis on koan practice, inventing many new koans himself, including the famous “What is the sound of one hand clapping?” As an artist, Hakuin used calligraphy and painting to create “visual Dharma”—teachings that powerfully express the nature of enlightenment. The text translated here offers an excellent introduction to the work of this extraordinary teacher. Hakuin sets forth his vision of authentic Zen teaching and practice, condemning his contemporaries, whom he held responsible for the decline of Zen, and exhorting his students to dedicate themselves to "breaking through the Zen barrier." Included are reproductions of several of Hakuin’s finest calligraphies and paintings.