torsdag 25 juni 2009

Bookreview: shinji shobogenzo


Product Description
When the thirteenth century master Eihei Dogen, one of the most influential thinkers in Zen Buddhism and founder of the Japanese Soto school, returned to Japan after four years of study in China, the fruit of his pilgrimage was recorded in a collection of koans called the Chinese Shobogenzo, also known as Shinji or Mana Shobogenzo. This collection of three hundred main cases was first published in 1766 under the title Shobogenzo Sambyakusoku (Treasury of the True Dharma Eye: Three Hundred Cases), and was known to have provided the raw material for much of Dogen's better known Japanese-language Kana Shobogenzo. Dogen's collection of koans may come as a surprise to students of Zen as Dogen and the Soto school are generally known for the practice of shikantaza, or "just sitting," rather than for koan practice. Nevertheless, a careful study of Dogen's work reveals that he did use koans extensively in his writing and teaching, not only in the Kana Shobogenzo, but most of his other works as well.

There is two different versions available of the Shinji shobogenzo. One translation made by John Daido Loori and Kazuaki Tanahashi and a translation made by Master Gudo Nishijima. Both are translations of the same anthology, that of Dogen's 301 koan stories. Master Nishijima adds a brief comentary to each koan and points out what he consideres the heart of the koan, Master Loori adds a comment, verses and notes to each koan.
Master Loori's book uses an "easier/more free" language than Master Nishijima, but Master Nishijima is perhaps more accurate in his translation of the text.

Those things considered I find them very good on their own accord, but even better in tandem. What Master Nishijima misses, Master loori brings to the surface and vice versa.

Master Loori version

Master Nishijima version

May the force be with you

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