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Zen Poetry of Dogen: Verses from the Mountain of Eternal Peace Paperback


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Product Details

  • Paperback: 198 pages
  • Publisher: Dharma Communications Press (September 25, 2005)
  • ISBN-10: 1882795202
  • ISBN-13: 978-1882795208
  • Product Dimensions: 8.8 x 6 x 0.6 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #600,636 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews

From Library Journal

The founder of the Soto school of Zen Buddhism in Japan, which uses sitting meditation as the way to enlightenment, Dogen (1200-53) has previously been known to the West through his prose, especially the Shobogenzo?the first major Buddhist work composed in Japanese. In this ground-breaking work, Heine (religious studies, Florida International Univ.) gives a translation of Dogen's Japanese poetry (waka) and his Chinese verse (kanshi). In discussing the role of poetry in Dogen's approach to Zen, Heine deals with the religio-aesthetic tradition at the time Dogen wrote (medieval Japan), the larger literary context, the importance of form in Dogen's poetry, and his major poetic themes. The author then presents the translations with helpful commentary. As important as it is to have these nature poems together in English for the first time, the work also fills in gaps in our knowledge of Dogen's life. A truly important work; highly recommended for any library.?David Bourquin, California State Univ., San Bernadino
Copyright 1997 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.

Language Notes

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

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15 of 15 people found the following review helpful By Joel Brown on September 6, 2002
Format: Paperback
Firstly, I must forewarn that my fivestar rating may be an overly biased praise of this book because I have never read any other books about Dogen, yet for this reason I thoroughly enjoyed it from start to finish. But it was undoubtedly well written and explained.
In Dogen I'm left with different impressions than I am with the "stereotypical" Zen Masters (if there is such a thing) who retain an apparent lack of emotion and a "white foam at the mouth" (silence) other than when spouting seemingly paradoxical koans. In these poetry collections the reader senses his deep and genuine humanity. He is more open to verbal expression of the Truth (which would make sense for a poet) than the aforementioned Zen Masters. (the wall-gazing Brahmin's "A special transmission outside the teachings/No reliance on words and letters") He does not disagree on the ultimately inexpressability of Truth with ideas, but, as he himself puts it,
"The Dharma, like an oyster
Washed atop a high cliff:
Even waves crashing against
The reefy coast, like words,
May reach but cannot wash it away."
He asserts that complementary creative resource of verbal expression "can display but not exhaust it."
Emotionally, nearly all of the poems convey his unfathomably deep relations and extensions to the natural universe. These are the most awe-inspiring and mystical feelings one can possess, and certainly something overlooked by much of the modern world. Whether or not a Buddhist is to consider Dogen as bona fide as any other Zen Master, I would find it hard to believe that one would not find life in the devotion of his poetry.
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14 of 14 people found the following review helpful By tepi on July 7, 2001
Format: Paperback
THE ZEN POETRY OF DOGEN : Verses from the Mountain of Eternal Peace. Translated by Steven Heine. 183 pp. Boston, Mass.: Tuttle Publishing, 1997. ISBN 0-8048-3107-6 (pbk.)
Dogen Zenji (1200-1253), founder of the Soto Zen sect, is not only one of Japan's greatest Zen Masters, but he is thought by some to have been the most brilliant writer Japan has ever produced. Although he is better known in the West for his more purely philosophic writings, most especially for his magnum opus, the 'Shobogenzo' or 'Treasury of the True Dharma Eye,' few of his poems have appeared in English before.
Happily the present book now remedies this lack. Besides containing a complete translation of Dogen's Japanese poetry, it also contains a representative selection of his Chinese poems. Alongside the Japanese poems, Steven Heine has thoughtfully provided romanized Japanese transcriptions. The book, which is well-printed on excellent paper (although the font used for the poems might have been bolder), also includes nine interesting halftone illustrations of Dogen, his calligraphy, Eiheiji Temple, etc.
Most of the poems were composed on the mountain peak of Eiheiji Temple or the 'Temple of Eternal Peace,' the temple Dogen himself founded. They are of many types (Lyrical, Doctrinal, Devotional, Personal) and cover a wide range of themes (Impermanence, Emotions, Nature, Illusion, Language, China, etc.). Here is a brief example, with my obliques to indicate line breaks:
"To what shall / I liken the world? / Moonlight, reflected / In dewdrops, / Shaken from a crane's bill" (p.69).
Heine's renderings, on the whole, read quite well, and an occasional flatness is more than made up for by the excellence of his very full commentary which takes up the first half of the book.
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By Cleo on September 12, 2013
Format: Kindle Edition Verified Purchase
This is a lovely text that can be re-read and always yield some new insight. It is inspirational for anyone - not only those who practice Zen.
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