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Treasury of the True Dharma Eye

Posted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 2:03 am
by Iconoclast
Greetings, I'm interested in purchasing Treasury of the True Dharma Eye. Is the Shambhala edition an accurate translation?

Thank you.

Re: Treasury of the True Dharma Eye

Posted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 9:17 am
by jundo cohen
Hi Iconoclast,

I will pass on what I have gathered over the years. Dogen is a fellow who mixed encyclopedic knowledge of very many Mahayana Sutras, Koan stories from China and other texts with a writing style that made great use of sound, poetic use of language, double/triple entendre and all manner of word play to bring forth juice from the Teachings. In fact, I have often compared his writing style to Picasso bending a picture of a guitar by reassembling the pieces at varied angles to bring out hidden aspects and contrasts, TS Elliot or a Jazzman like Coltrane running with a "standard tune" by synchopating and bending notes which reveal new meaning and give life to the same. ... It all gets pretty wild sometimes, man!

Here are a couple of pieces I wrote on "how to read Dogen"


SIT-A-LONG with JUNDO: Dogen - A Love Supreme
http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthre ... t=coltrane

How to Read Dogen
http://www.treeleaf.org/forums/showthre ... Read-Dogen

For that reason, it is really hard for the translators to capture all that in a single translation. The Shambhala/Tanahashi Sensei Translation you mention is considered the best compromise of general readability, poetic sense and faith to the original meaning, although it is not necessarily the most precisely and literally accurate at many points to achieve so (On the other hand, other translations may lose the poetry so important to Dogen in order to be precise. Still other translations lose both!). Most of the major translations by Tanahashi Sensei, by the way, are also available in shorter collections which have been around for many years such as "Moon In A Dewdrop" and "Enlightenment Unfolds" (you can find them on Amazon etc) that contain the most frequently cited Shobogenzo sections.

My own Teacher, Gudo Nishijima has a full translation of the entire Shobogenzo (with Chodo Cross) which I have been told by Dogen scholars like Steven Heine is generally extremely (maybe the most) precise, although with a few quirks of language of its own here and there. However, it sometimes sacrifices the poetic sense that Tanahashi achieves.

VOLUME I:::
http://www.bdk.or.jp/pdf/bdk/digitaldl/ ... 1_2009.pdf

VOLUME II:::
http://www.bdk.or.jp/pdf/bdk/digitaldl/ ... 2_2008.pdf

VOLUME III:::
http://www.bdk.or.jp/pdf/bdk/digitaldl/ ... 3_2008.pdf

VOLUME IV:::
http://www.bdk.or.jp/pdf/bdk/digitaldl/ ... 4_2008.pdf

The Soto Zen Text Project has translations of various sections by noted Dogenologists, and this collection is very helpful for the extensive footnotes which trace back the quotes and sources which are the "standard tunes" for Dogen's jazz.

http://stanford.edu/group/scbs/sztp3/tr ... tents.html

Also available online is a version from the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives. It is a good translation, but some say that the style is sometimes extremely flowery and reverential, in an almost King James biblical style ("Thou art the Lord") in keeping with that Lineage's flavor.

http://www.urbandharma.org/pdf/Shobogenzo.pdf

I have been told that other translation have their strength and weaknesses, You might be best advised to read two or three of the above side by side sometimes to triangulate and extrapolate where they are all coming from.

I hope that helps.

Gassho, Jundo

Re: Treasury of the True Dharma Eye

Posted: Sun Mar 06, 2016 8:34 pm
by Iconoclast
Thank you, that was helpful. I think ill go with the single volume complete works to save money and space on my bookshelf. I'm familiar with western and some eastern theology which will help me drive through difficult passages but, I have to admit, will be of little to no use in understanding Dogen. Should I start with less ambitious reading?

Thank you.

Re: Treasury of the True Dharma Eye

Posted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 3:24 am
by jundo cohen
Iconoclast wrote: Should I start with less ambitious reading?

Thank you.
Hi Iconoclast,

One of the best introductory books to Shobogenzo and Dogen is this one by Okumura Roshi on the Genjo Koan. The Genjo is considered by many the outline of most of what follows in the Genzo.

• Realizing Genjokoan: The Key to Dogen's Shobogenzo by Shohaku Okumura Roshi
http://www.wisdompubs.org/book/realizing-genjokoan

• Visions of Awakening Space and Time by Taigen Dan Leighton (an explanation of how Dogen's Shobo-jazz wild's the notes of the already wild Lotus Sutra tunes). Available as a very worthwhile short book ...

http://terebess.hu/zen/mesterek/Leighton-Visions.pdf

or as a couple of shorter articles on the same theme ...

http://www.thezensite.com/ZenEssays/Dog ... ource.html
https://nirc.nanzan-u.ac.jp/nfile/2862

I am also going to take this opportunity to recommend a new book by my Dharma Brother Brad Warner, although a much lighter and more reverently irreverent take on Dogen and Shobogenzo, and although I am only about 1/3 through at this point. Dogen takes bits of the Shobo, rewords the whole thing in lingo, cracks some jokes, is serious but has fun too, combined with a pretty free interpretation that somehow hits the nail right on the head in doing so. I am pretty impressed and tickled by the whole thing.

https://books.google.co.jp/books?id=ErW ... &q&f=false

Gassho, Jundo

Re: Treasury of the True Dharma Eye

Posted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 4:28 am
by gordtheseeker
I am also going to take this opportunity to recommend a new book by my Dharma Brother Brad Warner, although a much lighter and more reverently irreverent take on Dogen and Shobogenzo, and although I am only about 1/3 through at this point. Dogen takes bits of the Shobo, rewords the whole thing in lingo, cracks some jokes, is serious but has fun too, combined with a pretty free interpretation that somehow hits the nail right on the head in doing so. I am pretty impressed and tickled by the whole thing.
I always have enjoyed Brad's writing. I will have to get that. Thanks for the recommendation. :D

Re: Treasury of the True Dharma Eye

Posted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 4:53 pm
by Iconoclast
Recently, I tried to read one of Warner's books but he didn't resonate well with me. I'm not sure why. :ugeek:

I'm still on the fence about Dogen's work. I just don't want to buy a big, expensive volume if I'm not going to understand what I'm reading. My mind is thoroughly Westernized :thinking: , scholastic even. All of my deeper reading has been of Reformed Scholastic theologians so I really struggle with Eastern cosmology and philosophy.

Hakuin seems like a funny fella.

Re: Treasury of the True Dharma Eye

Posted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 5:47 pm
by Astus
Iconoclast wrote:I'm still on the fence about Dogen's work. I just don't want to buy a big, expensive volume if I'm not going to understand what I'm reading. My mind is thoroughly Westernized :thinking: , scholastic even. All of my deeper reading has been of Reformed Scholastic theologians so I really struggle with Eastern cosmology and philosophy.
You don't need to buy a thing, you can read the Shobogenzo online in two different translations, although personally I have found the Tanahashi version the best for general reading. You better start with his Zuimonki anyway. Then read a few introductory works, like Realizing Genjokoan and Dogen's Manuals of Zen Meditation. Anyway, as I see it, Dogen is difficult to read, especially without prior knowledge of East Asian Buddhism, particularly of Song era Chan.

Re: Treasury of the True Dharma Eye

Posted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 5:49 pm
by gordtheseeker
Iconoclast wrote:I'm still on the fence about Dogen's work. I just don't want to buy a big, expensive volume if I'm not going to understand what I'm reading. My mind is thoroughly Westernized :thinking: , scholastic even. All of my deeper reading has been of Reformed Scholastic theologians so I really struggle with Eastern cosmology and philosophy.
I avoid it. Too deep and heavy for me. Many people get ALOT from that monster work so it depends on the person I suppose.

Re: Treasury of the True Dharma Eye

Posted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 5:58 pm
by Iconoclast
Good advice folks. Thank you.

Re: Treasury of the True Dharma Eye

Posted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 6:12 pm
by Caodemarte
In case there is any confusion the Order of Buddhist Contemplatives' translation is offered for free in its pdf version (http://www.urbandharma.org/pdf/Shobogenzo.pdf) as is Gudo Nishijima's translation of the entire Shobogenzo (with Chodo Cross) (VOLUME I:::
http://www.bdk.or.jp/pdf/bdk/digitaldl/ ... 1_2009.pdf
VOLUME II:::
http://www.bdk.or.jp/pdf/bdk/digitaldl/ ... 2_2008.pdf
VOLUME III:::
http://www.bdk.or.jp/pdf/bdk/digitaldl/ ... 3_2008.pdf
VOLUME IV:::
http://www.bdk.or.jp/pdf/bdk/digitaldl/ ... 4_2008.pdf)

Re: Treasury of the True Dharma Eye

Posted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 6:39 pm
by jundo cohen
Astus wrote: You don't need to buy a thing, you can read the Shobogenzo online in two different translations, although personally I have found the Tanahashi version the best for general reading. You better start with his Zuimonki anyway. Then read a few introductory works, like Realizing Genjokoan and Dogen's Manuals of Zen Meditation. Anyway, as I see it, Dogen is difficult to read, especially without prior knowledge of East Asian Buddhism, particularly of Song era Chan.
Dogen's Manuals of Zen Meditation is another excellent recommendation.

I actually don't find Zuimonki so enticing for new students. It was Dogen preaching to the monks as drill seargent and tough football couch, trying to build up their morale during what must have been often difficult and discouraging days and they were struggling to survive as a group. A lot of hard locker room talks in there to build up team spirit, and Dogen comes across as a real hard ass sometimes. There are other aspects of Dogen, including his more ecumenical phases, to know before that, I feel.

Gassho, Jundo

Re: Treasury of the True Dharma Eye

Posted: Mon Mar 07, 2016 6:53 pm
by Iconoclast
Thank you for info and free pdfs. I have difficultly reading on a tablet or reader but I'll give it a shot.

I just placed an order for Hakuin's Poisons Blossoms from a Thicket of Thorn, a pocket edition of the Dhammapada and Red Pine's commentary on the Heart Sutra.

Looking forward to digging in.

Re: Treasury of the True Dharma Eye

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 3:17 pm
by Iconodule
When I first read Dogen, I found a lot of his prose impenetrable. I thought he was some sort of medieval surrealist poet. However, familiarizing myself with some general Mahayana metaphysics, and especially the Hua-Yan school, helped me make a lot more sense of it. Thomas Cleary's book Entry into the Inconceivable is a good introduction to this area of Mahayana thought.

Since you mention a background in reformed scholasticism, I would say that, though obviously Buddhism is not in the Christian scholastic tradition, it is in its own way a very scholastic religion. The abhidharma and lam rim literatures make Aquinas' Summa look almost slapdash by comparison. Buddhist metaphysics may be very different from Christian metaphysics but it is expressed in a logical, systematic way which is not hard for a "Western" mind to follow.

Re: Treasury of the True Dharma Eye

Posted: Thu May 19, 2016 4:07 pm
by dzogchungpa
Iconodule wrote:When I first read Dogen, I found a lot of his prose impenetrable. I thought he was some sort of medieval surrealist poet. However, familiarizing myself with some general Mahayana metaphysics, and especially the Hua-Yan school, helped me make a lot more sense of it. Thomas Cleary's book Entry into the Inconceivable is a good introduction to this area of Mahayana thought.

Since you mention a background in reformed scholasticism, I would say that, though obviously Buddhism is not in the Christian scholastic tradition, it is in its own way a very scholastic religion. The abhidharma and lam rim literatures make Aquinas' Summa look almost slapdash by comparison. Buddhist metaphysics may be very different from Christian metaphysics but it is expressed in a logical, systematic way which is not hard for a "Western" mind to follow.
You and Iconoclast make a good team. :thumbsup: