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Flowers Fall: A Commentary on Zen Master Dogen's Genjokoan Paperback – May 1, 2001


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Flowers Fall: A Commentary on Zen Master Dogen's Genjokoan + Realizing Genjokoan: The Key to Dogen's Shobogenzo
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 176 pages
  • Publisher: Shambhala (May 1, 2001)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 157062674X
  • ISBN-13: 978-1570626746
  • Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.6 x 0.5 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 8.3 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.8 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (5 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,450,863 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Language Notes

Text: English (translation)
Original Language: Japanese --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

About the Author

Yasutani Hakuun (1885-1973) was born in Japan during the Meiji era. Born into a poor family, he was adopted at the age of five and went to live in a country temple. He trained in many temples before starting a family at the age of thirty. At forty, he returned to the priesthood again, and eventually came to study with the Soto priest Harada Sogaku. Under this teacher, Hakuun's practice deepened, and he went on to teach monks and lay practitioners. He authored almost one hundred volumes of writings.

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Customer Reviews

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Most Helpful Customer Reviews

39 of 44 people found the following review helpful By Kim Boykin on March 25, 1998
Format: Paperback
I practice Zen and have always gotten the feeling that I'm supposed to find Dogen's writing poetic and wise, but I've mainly found it to be obtuse, paradoxical gobbledy-gook, and I'm suspicious that many who rave about Dogen don't actually understand him either. This book helped me to see that Dogen may actually deserve his reputation as THE master of Soto Zen.

The commentator, Yasutani Roshi, is perhaps best known for his classic introductory lectures on Zen training in "The Three Pillars of Zen." If you've ever wondered what the heck you think you're trying to do on that zafu, when the whole point is that you already ARE a buddha, you might find this helpful. I liked Yasutani's attention to the tensions between Rinzai and Soto approaches to Zen (with some pointed scolding of the Soto folks) and the relationship between practice and enlightenment. I highly recommend this for folks who've been practicing Zen for a while and want a taste of Dogen.

Another Dogen commentary I highly recommend: Francis Dojun Cook's "How to Raise an Ox: Zen Practice as Taught in Zen Master Dogen's Shobogenzo."
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16 of 16 people found the following review helpful By Robert T. Myers on July 14, 2003
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Very simply, for those interested in Dogen and his "Genjo-Koan", there is no other meaningful commentary available in English. This one is originally written in Japanese and has a Japanese sensibility, but is well translated and delves deeply into the nuances of Dogen's masterpiece. One can quibble with Yasutani's interpretations, but at the end of the day Dogen is just a mirror in which the face of the commentator is reflected -- everyone can and will have their theory about what our favorite Soto Zen Master was actually saying in his cryptic, exuberant, philosophical tour de force. Yasutani has more than one axe to grind but that just adds spice to the mix. All in all, a must-read for the Dogen and Genjo-Koan student.
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5 of 6 people found the following review helpful By Harry Iwatsuki on September 21, 2007
Format: Paperback
FLOWERS FALL is an explication of the first fascicle of the Shobogenzo by one of our Diamond Sangha Dharma ancestors. You might remember him as the last "dai-osho" in our sutra dedication. Yasutani is most well know for his lectures introducing Zen training that are included in The Three Pillars of Zen edited by Philip Kapalau.

Yasutani really delivers on his promise to unpack Genjokoan. As he says, "Dogen Zenji's sentences are brief and to the point, and also the style is elevated, so unless one with a clear dharma eye fleshes them out appropriately, lowers the style and re-phrases them for a spoon-feeding, they won't be understood by beginners. To read and chew on the original texts as they are is best, but as a temporary foothold I'll add a little padding." He makes the tough sledding enjoyable as he brings out Dogen's pointers to Zen practice.

Hey, get a clue as to why cushion time (zazen) is needed, in spite of the fact that we have Buddha Nature - are Buddha Nature - already. And then there's the side trips into scolding the Soto folks and ripping the Rinzai. Actually, it's more like Yasutani was taking my own lax and misdirected practice to task. Not exactly grandmotherly, but I didn't lose too much blood.

[...]
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Stephen Davenport on November 10, 2011
Format: Paperback
Perhaps the most profound text I have ever read. I carried this around many years and finally let it go at a temple in Korea. I have read alternative translations and this is by far the best. I came across this book in bargain bin. Seriously I almost jumped for joy when I realized what I had bought for $5. It's elevated language suited to those who want to be exposed to this type of thought. If you've never heard of Dogen this will excite and amaze you.
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0 of 1 people found the following review helpful By Crystal Bowen on May 4, 2013
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I love this book for self study. It is in beautiful shape and arrived quickly. There are many different things to ponder and it has been a great book to read.
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