Genjo Koan reloaded

I’ve massively revised my translation of Dogen’s Genjo Koan, which I now translate as “Unfolding Puzzle”. The new version is designed to appeal to the contemporary Western sense and is much more interpretive in style, although it is based on a scrupulous re-reading of Dogen’s original Japanese and numerous commentaries and translations both into modern Japanese and English.

I’ve chosen to publish this in the form of a 32-page book available here, where you can also find a free preview, including brief notes about the essay and the translation.


Gaining enlightenment
is like water cradling the reflection of the moon.
The moon remains dry;
the water remains unbroken.

However large and bright the moon,
it can be reflected in mere inches of water,

or in the dew on a reed,
or even in a single drop.

Man is no more ruffled by enlightenment

than the water is ruffled by the moon.
Enlightenment can no more be blocked by man
than the moon can be blocked by a dewdrop,
whose depth inevitably fits it to perfection.

Briefly or at length,

examine the expanse of the water;
observe the extent of the moon in the heaven.

One Response to “Genjo Koan reloaded”

  1. Numenware, a blog about neurotheology » Blog Archive » Genjo Koan reloaded (II) Says:

    […] mentioned in an earlier post, I’ve completely redone my translation of Dōgen’s Genjō Kōan, entitled […]

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