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Dogen's Manuals of Zen Meditation Paperback – August 16, 1990


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 267 pages
  • Publisher: University of California Press (August 16, 1990)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0520068351
  • ISBN-13: 978-0520068353
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 0.6 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 13.6 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,360,105 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"A long-awaited tour de force. Carl Bielefeldt focuses on a small and seemingly insignificant work by the famous Zen master Dogen Kigen (1200- 53) and coaxes from it an impressive number of important lessons about Chinese Ch'an, Japanese Zen, and the modern enterprise of Zen studies. . . . This book will be extremely useful in classes on the intellectual and religious histories of both China and Japan." -- John R. McRae, Journal of Asian Studies

"Bielefeldt's valuable contribution to Dogen research and beyond it to the history of Zen Buddhism is extremely rich in insightful perspectives and remarkable detail." -- Heinrich Doumoulin, Monumenta Nipponica

About the Author

Carl Bielefeldt is Associate Professor of Religious Studies at Stanford University.

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20 of 20 people found the following review helpful By nativewater on June 4, 2001
Format: Paperback
Dogen started his training as a Buddhist monk in Japan at age 13. At age 23, dissatisfied with his development, he and his teacher, Myozen traveled to China where they believed the true Dharma was to be found. After studying at several monasteries, Dogen found a compatible teacher who certified his understanding of the Dharma and even invited him to become his attendant. Dogen declined and at age 27 returned to Japan to teach the Dharma there.
And he started a prolific writing career. Among the many things he wrote was a meditation manual, dated speculatively 1233. It was based on a meditation manual written by the Chinese teacher Tsung-tse. A number of years after he wrote his meditation manual, Dogen revised it. This revised copy is the one generally known to followers of Dogen. It is these three meditation manuals, the one by Tsung-tse, the original one by Dogen and the later revision that form the focus of Bielefeldt's book. The original meditation manuals are quite short and are reproduced in a number of appendices. The discussion of how Dogen refined his text on meditation and how Dogen's thoughts on meditation differed from his antecedents form the bulk of the book. In addition, the book discusses the relationship of Dogen's teachings on meditation to that of the sudden and gradual schools of enlightenment that were current in China in Dogen's time.
All in all, pretty heavy reading. More than once, I found myself at the bottom of a page without any idea what I just read.. If you are a serious student of Zen history and the evolution and antecedents of Dogen's thought then this book is a worthwhile addition to your library. The five star rating is for content, not for ease of reading. If you are looking for an inspirational work on Dogen or instruction on how to meditate, you are better off looking elsewhere.
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7 of 7 people found the following review helpful By Ted Biringer on July 12, 2008
Format: Paperback
Carl Bielefeldt offers us the very best study and analysis of Eihei Dogen's Zen meditation texts yet available in English.

Bielefelt begins by introducing the reader to the history and basic content of Dogen's meditation manuals and their traditional role in the Soto Zen sect. He then analyzes them in light of a variety of Zen teachings. These include "sudden enlightenment and gradual cultivation", the Zen tradition of "mind to mind transmission", "zazen", "koans" and a variety of Zen methods and techniques in the use and interpretation of expression, language, practice and experience.

Bielefeldt then offers a thorough analysis of Dogen's Zazen gi from the perspective of the history of similar texts in Chan (Zen). Finally singling out of Tso-ch'an i, the Chinese meditation manual that most influenced Dogen's own Zazen gi.

Taking us on an inside tour, Bielefeldt shares his knowledge and insight on the relations of and tensions between the various meditation techniques propagated by the classic masters of Zen from the Tang through the Sung dynasties. Including thorough investigations into "silent illumination" "koan introspection" and the "genjokoan" (koan realized in life).

After bringing the reader to very crux of the profound teachings of Zen meditation, Carl Bielfeldt offers a profound study of Dogen's teaching on "nonthinking" which Dogen characterized as "the essential art of Zen." He then reveals some insightful, even startling implications of Dogen's teaching of "nonthinking", and presents some possible interpretations.

The Book concludes with a revealing "side by side" comparison of Dogen's various meditation manuals, highlighting similarities and differences.

This is a remarkable exploration of Dogen's work, and Zen meditation generally. A great book and a must read for all serious students of Zen.
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4 of 4 people found the following review helpful By nativewater on June 1, 2001
Format: Paperback
Dogen started his training as a Buddhist monk in Japan at age 13. At age 23, dissatisfied with his development, he and his teacher, Myozen traveled to China where they believed the true Dharma was to be found. After studying at several monasteries, Dogen found a compatible teacher who certified his understanding of the Dharma and even invited him to become his attendant. Dogen declined and at age 27 returned to Japan to teach the Dharma there.
And he started a prolific writing career. Among the many things he wrote was a meditation manual, dated speculatively 1233. It was based on a meditation manual written by the Chinese teacher Tsung-tse. A number of years after he wrote his meditation manual, Dogen revised it. This revised copy is the one generally known to followers of Dogen. It is these three meditation manuals, the one by Tsung-tse, the original one by Dogen and the later revision that form the focus of Bielefeldt's book. The original meditation manuals are quite short and are reproduced in a number of appendices. The discussion of how Dogen refined his text on meditation and how Dogen's thoughts on meditation differed from his antecedents form the bulk of the book. In addition, the book discusses the relationship of Dogen's teachings on meditation to that of the sudden and gradual schools of enlightenment that were current in China in Dogen's time.
All in all, pretty heavy reading. More than once, I found myself at the bottom of a page without any idea what I just read.. If you are a serious student of Zen history and the evolution and antecedents of Dogen's thought then this book is a worthwhile addition to your library. The five star rating is for content, not for ease of reading. If you are looking for an inspirational work on Dogen or instruction on how to meditate, you are better off looking elsewhere
Comment Was this review helpful to you? Yes No Sending feedback...
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Dogen's Manuals of Zen Meditation
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