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Moon In a Dewdrop: Writings of Zen Master Dogen Paperback – October 31, 1995


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Moon In a Dewdrop: Writings of Zen Master Dogen + The Essential Dogen: Writings of the Great Zen Master + Sky Above, Great Wind: The Life and Poetry of Zen Master Ryokan
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Product Details

  • Paperback: 356 pages
  • Publisher: North Point Press; Reissue edition (October 31, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 086547186X
  • ISBN-13: 978-0865471863
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 6.2 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 14.4 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (20 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #74,345 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

Review

"Moon in a Dewdrop is empty and clear at the same time, like the reflection of the moon in a drop of water."--San Francisco Chronicle

"Kazuaki Tanahashi and his colleagues at the San Francisco Zen Center...have given us an accessible and comprehensive Dogen in English."--Vajradhatu Sun

"Kazuaki Tanahashi...has preserved Dogen's spirit and character in his careful and comprehensive translations."--East West

Language Notes

Text: English, Japanese

Customer Reviews

4.7 out of 5 stars
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This book is full of thoughtful writing and beautiful haiku poems.
Crystal Bowen
I wholeheartedly recommend this book to any one who is interested in Zen and a greater depth of reality.
N. Beumer
As one reader comments, "this book is worth reading for a lifetime."
Jingyang Wang

Most Helpful Customer Reviews

148 of 156 people found the following review helpful By tepi on May 28, 2001
Format: Paperback
'MOON IN A DEWDROP - WRITNGS OF ZEN MASTER DOGEN,' edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi. Translated by Robert Aitken, Philip Whalen, et al. 356 pp. San Francisco: North Point Press, 1985 and reprinted.
Eihei Dogen (1200-1253), who was an exceptionally gifted child, was born into an aristocratic household in Kyoto. The death of his mother when he was eight years old so impressed upon him the central Buddhist truth of impermanency, that he forsook his aristocratic privileges when he was thirteen and went to Mt. Hiei to study to become a Buddhist monk.
But since no-one in Japan could satisfactorily answer his questions - not surprising when you consider that he was the greatest genius Japan has ever produced - he went off to China in 1223 in search of a Master. There he studied under the Soto Ch'an (Zen) Master Ju-ching (1163-1228), attained enlightenment, and returned to Japan to become the founder Japanese Soto Zen.
Zen first became known to the West largely through the writings of D. T. Suzuki, who was a follower of the 'Sudden Enlightenment' or direct koan-using Rinzai Zen. Soto Zen, in contrast, is a gentler method which places greater reliance on Zazen or deep meditation, and is the method that has gained the largest number of adherents in Japan.
To discover just how profound Dogen was, you will have to turn to his magnum opus, the 'Shobogenzo' or 'Treasury of the True Dharma Eye.' This has been translated, in whole or in part, a number of times, but an edition I can heartily recommend is the present book.
Besides twenty texts from the 'Shobogenzo,' this 356-page book includes four additional texts and a selection of Dogen's poems.
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24 of 24 people found the following review helpful By james on April 14, 2006
Format: Paperback
Eihei Dogen is without a doubt the greatest writer in Zen history. His masterwork, the Shobogenzo, represents one of the most comprehensive, fascinating, and valuable works of Buddhist literature. In Moon in a Dewdrop, Kazuaki Tanahashi has compiled the best single volume Dogen in the English language. This contains the best translations I have ever read of several of Dogen's seminal works - Genjo Koan, Uji, Yuibutsu Yobutsu, Sansuikyo, Zenki, and the Tenzo Kyokun.
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42 of 46 people found the following review helpful By Swing King on March 4, 2004
Format: Paperback
Dogen may very well be the most important master in all of Zen history, next to Shakyamuni of course. This particular book is a translation of portions derived from Dogen's masterwork, Shobogenzo. I would suggest purchasing with this "Enlightenment Unfolds: The essential teachings of Zen Master Dogen" by the same author, it's somewhat like a follow-up. Also beneficial readings come from many of the works out there from the late modern master Taizan Maezumi. This book offers clear translations of some of the most central aspects of Dogen's fascinating style of Zen (still one of the predominant schools to have survived to date). One of the previous reviewers mentioned this book's wonderful glossary of terms, to which I must agree; It's at once extensive and dense. If you are looking for a really accurate (as well as fairly easy to read) book on Dogen Zenji aside from the entire Shobogenzo itself, don't look any further. Your needs are all met right here. Enjoy!
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By Lawrence on October 10, 2008
Format: Paperback
Dôgen-Zenji was the greatest figure in Japanese Zen; if literary output were the criterion he would be the greatest of all Zen Masters. He was one of those rare beings who combine the contemplative's insight into reality with the poet's gift of words.
His immense masterwork, the "True Dharma-Eye Treasury," covers all aspects of Buddhist practice from rarefied metaphysics to behaviour at mealtimes: all dualities are comprehended in Enlightenment, leaving no distinction between the mundane and the sublime.

I have four books of excerpts, but this is my favourite: the poetic and metaphysical chapters predominate over practical and instructional ones. Literary Japanese, supple, intricate and elliptical, was wildly different from modern English, but the translators have done wonders in achieving clear and (fairly) natural versions, though word-choices sometimes puzzle. A good balance has also been struck between a surfeit of footnotes and too many baffling allusions.

This is a book to read, re-read and grow into, depth after depth. It expresses as much of the beauty, mystery and profundity of Zen (and existence itself,) as can be expressed in words... and then a little more. Even when I'm reading a passage I can't make head or tail of, I feel my body go cold, as when reading great poetry. This is a book that haunts, astonishes and humbles, a book to trudge through the snow for, to swim icy rivers for... and you can buy it so easily.
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10 of 10 people found the following review helpful By N. Beumer on July 9, 2006
Format: Paperback
"moon in a dewdrop" is a collection of writings by Eihei Dogen, the founder of Soto Zen. The text is divided into four sections, which are clear and easy to understand. There are notes and a glossary so that the meaning of the text can be clearly grasped. The book is a five star raft.

Now to the writing, Dogen speaks from experience, insight gained through deep meditation, lived every day. The text is not meant to be intellectually grasped as a doctrine. This can be understood by the presentation of the first section being "Practical Instructions" and the first writing being "Zazen-Gi" or Rules for Zazen. Sitting with "moon in a dewdrop" is like sitting with Dogen himself, at every turn Dogen is pointing to reality and inviting us to fully enter it and taste it for ourselves. The text is a practical manual to be used in conjunction with Zazen, Dogen wrote for all those, who truly wish to taste the essence of Buddhism and reality.

The writing is five star.

I wholeheartedly recommend this book to any one who is interested in Zen and a greater depth of reality.
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