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Dogen's Extensive Record: A Translation of the Eihei Koroku Hardcover – March 1, 1995

4.7 out of 5 stars 3 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews


"This is a gem of a book that succeeds in conveying the warmth and compassion of one of Buddhism's great towering figures." (The Middle Way: Journal of the Buddhist Society)

"Leighton and Okumura have rendered Dogen's dense and idiosyncratic language in clear, lively, and engaging English. This is no small accomplishment. All readers will benefit greatly from this outstanding contribution to the study of Dogen and Zen Buddhism." (Philosophy East & West)

"This massive work will be a valuable asset not just for students of the Zen teacher Dogen (1200-1253), but for all students of Zen and Buddhism in general. In short, Leighton and Okumura's translation of Dogen's Extensive Record is a valuable contribution to the growing body of Zen literature available in English. It allows Western readers to discover a new side of Dogen, the side he presented to his own students on a daily basis. It will reward careful study." (William M. Bodiford, in Buddhadharma: The Practitioner's Quarterly)

"The many hours of dedicated work [that produced the book] will be much appreciated by all of us now and in the future who value Dogen's inspired writing and talks." (Mel Weitsman, abbot of Berkeley Zen Center)

"This is a significant time in terms of understanding Dogen in the West, [with] Taigen Dan Leighton and Shohaku Okumura's translation of the Eihei Koroku coming out. People are going to see an entirely different style in this collection of Dogen's later teachings." (Steven Heine, Director, Institute of Asian Studies; co-author of Buddhism in the Modern World, in the forum-style article, "Understanding Dogen," in Buddhadharma)

"This new and hefty volume represents the [previously unseen] other half of Dogen's teaching. We owe a great debt to Taigen Dan Leighton and Shohaku Okumura for this monumental translation, a labor of love and a generous offering to those who choose to wander beyond the beaten path." (Inquiring Mind)

About the Author

Eihei Dogen founded the Japanese Soto School of Zen, and is renowned as one of the world's most remarkable religious thinkers. As Shakespeare does with English, Dogen utterly transforms the language of Zen, using it in novel and extraordinarily beautiful ways in his voluminous writings. Born in 1200 to an aristocratic background, he was ordained a monk in the Japanese Tendai School in his early teens, but became dissatisfied with Japanese Buddhism. After traveling in China from 1223 to 1227, he returned to introduce to Japan the Soto lineage and the large body of Chan teaching stories, or koans, which he had thoroughly mastered. From 1233 to 1243 he taught near the cultural capital of Kyoto, then in 1243 moved to the remote northern mountains and founded the temple Eiheiji, still one of the headquarter temples of Soto Zen. There, until his illness and death in 1253, he trained a core group of monks who spread  Soto Zen throughout the Japanese countryside. Dogen's writings are noted for their poetic and philosophic depth, though aimed at spiritual practitioners. His two major, massive works are Shobogenzo (True Dharma Eye Treasury) and Eihei Koroku (Dogen's Extensive Record). Although not studied for many centuries aside from  Soto scholars, in modern times Dogen's writings, through translation, have become an important part of the spread of Buddhism in the West.

Taigen Dan Leighton, Soto Zen priest and successor in the Suzuki Roshi lineage, received Dharma Transmission in 2000 from Reb Anderson Roshi and is Dharma Teacher at Ancient Dragon Zen Gate in Chicago. After residing for years at San Francisco Zen Center and Tassajara monastery, Taigen also practiced for two years in Kyoto, Japan. Taigen is author of Zen Questions: Zazen, Dogen, and the Spirit of Creative Inquiry, Faces of Compassion: Classic Bodhisattva Archetypes and Their Modern Expression, and Visions of Awakening Space and Time: Dogen and the Lotus Sutra. He has edited and co-translated several Zen texts including: Dogen's Extensive Record: A Translation of Eihei Koroku, Cultivating the Empty Field: The Silent Illumination of Zen Master Hongzhi, Dogen's Pure Standards for the Zen Community, and The Wholehearted Way, and has contributed to many other books and journals. Taigen teaches online at Berkeley Graduate Theological Union, from where he has a PhD. He has taught at other universities including Saint Mary's College, the California Institute of Integral Studies, and in Chicago at Meadville Lombard Theological Seminary and Loyola University Chicago. Taigen has long been active in social justice programs, including Peace and Environmental Activism.

Shohaku Okumura is a Soto Zen priest and Dharma successor of Kosho Uchiyama Roshi. He is a graduate of Komazawa University and has practiced in Japan at Antaiji, Zuioji, and the Kyoto Soto Zen Center, and in Massachusetts at the Pioneer Valley Zendo. He is the former director of the Soto Zen Buddhism International Center in San Francisco. His previously published books of translation include Shobogenzo Zuimonki, Dogen Zen, Zen Teachings of Homeless Kodo, and Opening the Hand of Thought. Okumura is also editor of Dogen Zen and Its Relevance for Our Time and SotoZen. He is the founding teacher of the Sanshin Zen Community, based in Bloomington, Indiana, where he lives with his family.

Reb Anderson Roshi moved to San Francisco in 1967 to study Zen Buddhism with Shunryu Suzuki Roshi, who ordained him as a priest in 1970. Since then, he has continued to practice at the San Francisco Zen Center, where he served as abbot from 1986 to 1995 and is now a senior dharma teacher. Anderson Roshi lectures and leads retreats around the world, and is the author of Warm Smiles from Cold Mountains and Being Upright. He lives with his family and friends at Green Dragon Temple, Green Gulch Farm, near Muir Beach, in Northern California.

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 720 pages
  • Publisher: Wisdom Publications; 1st edition (March 1, 1995)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0861713052
  • ISBN-13: 978-0861713059
  • Product Dimensions: 6 x 1.8 x 9 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1.6 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,528,055 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Top Customer Reviews

By Daniel M. Kaplan on November 10, 2004
Format: Hardcover Verified Purchase
Dogen's Extensive Record, here translated by Taigen Dan Leighton et al, is an incredible accomplishment in translation and understanding this seminal figure in the history of Zen, and Japanese Zen. These records were mostly recorded later in his teaching career and reflect an intimacy not seen as often in his more popularly known work., SHobogenzo, despite others thinking to the contrary. Dogen here inspires, instructs, challenges and presents in a way that EVERY zen student will find inspiring and challenging. Whereas Lin Chi didn't have a lyrical bone in his body, despite being an exceptional teacher, Dogen is highly lyrical and poetic. Taigen's introduction is worth the reading as well, as it contextualizes and lays out a context in which to read this Extensive Record.

Taigen Leighton has to be the foremost Dogen scholar in our time, and as an ordained Soto priest in the line of Shunryu Suzuki roshi, gives play to his love for the founder of Soto Zen in Japan.

Dogen is such an important figure that he transcends Zen and Buddhism and is considered one of the great literary and philosophical figures in Japanese history.

This is a book you will come back to over and over again, tasting Dogen in ways that stay with you, that challenge you, as all good zen teachers do.
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Format: Hardcover
The Eihei Koroku (Dogen's Extensive Record) is second in importance, of Zen master Eiehei Dogen's writings, only to (the Kana) Shobogenzo (True Dharma-Eye Treasury).

This translation, rendered primarily by Taigen Dan Leighton (who also provides edited it and provides an excellent introduction) and Shohaku Okumura, is a monumental achievement.

Taigen Dan Leighton is the Zen teacher/scholar who has furnished students of Zen with a number of superb translations, including: "Cultivating the Empty Field" (The Record of Hongzhi -- who was a major influnce on Dogen), "The Wholehearted Way: A Translation of Eihei Dogen's 'Bendowa'", and his latest "Visions of Awakening Space and Time: Dogen and the Lotus Sutra." Leighton has spent decades of practice and study exploring Dogen's masterful works in the only way one truly can--by studying it AND applying it in actual practice.

Consequently, Leighton has come to understand this outstanding figure of Zen history as very few can. The Eheie Koroku offers us a glimpse of Dogen that is not afforded in the Shobogenzo alone. Informal and intimate throghout a large part of this record, we can sense Dogen the human being behind the Zen Giant. At the same time, Dogen's fundamental teachings of Zen are revealed to hold a remarkable consistency with his other records--and best of all, Dogen is witnessed as he actually taught his own small group of close, intimate disciples.

Taigen's introduction, notes, and massive "back matter" (glossaries, tables, etc.) is itself worth the price of the book.

Essential reading/reference/lifetime study for all English reading students--and a fascinating inside view for anyone wanting to get a handle on one of the most influential Zen masters of all time.
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Format: Hardcover
I have a great feeling holding this book. And its heavy, you can use it as a weapon. This book is for those who have come a bit on the path of zen and in Dogen studies. I use it as a `quoteoftheday' book looking up a dharma hall discourse and digest it slowly.
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