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6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A powerful study of Dogen's teachings on Zen meditation, July 12, 2008
This review is from: Dogen's Manuals of Zen Meditation (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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