I am pleased to announce the print availability of “First Dogen Book”, a brand new book containing extensively annotated translations of selected fascicles from Dogen’s Shobogenzo.
First Dogen Book is available for $19.95 from:
- , the publisher
The fascicles included are:
- Bendowa (Dialog on the Way of Commitment)
- Genjo Koan (Truth Unfolding)
- Uji (A Particular Hour)
- Soshi Seirai I (Why the First Patriarch Came from the West)
These translations balance accessibility and readability; accuracy and fidelity; and style and expressiveness. Although no translation is perfect, and in particular there are aspects to the beauty of Dogen’s prose that simply defy reproduction, I hope the reader will find that the research, analysis and thought devoted to each word of the translations bring new light to the meaning and relevance of these old favorites.
The annotations, by the way, are not meant to be a teisho-like elucidation of the essays’ deeper meaning. Dogen can speak for himself if only given the voice to do so. Rather, the focus is on pointing out interesting or challenging aspects of Dogen’s prose and possible alternatives for interpreting or translating it, including those taken by past translators. The annotations also present historical and cultural background to enhance the reader’s understanding.
Those of you who have encountered previous versions of my translations of any of these fascicles may be interested in knowing that the translations here have been extensively revised.
Here is a paragraph from Bendowa:
This enlightened world circles back to directly but imperceptibly sustain the people of zazen, that they might completely leave behind the body/mind distinction, disconnect from random, impure perceptions and thoughts, affirm and enter into the intrinsic truth of Buddhism, raise up the teachings at countless places of practice, share the chance for transcendence widely, and proclaim its law. As they do, soil and earth and grass and trees, fences and walls and tiles and pebbles throughout this world exude holiness. Blessed by the wind and water at the wellsprings of this outpouring, and graced by the incomparably subtle and inconceivable teaching, they soon arrive at enlightenment. Those taking up this water and fire endow themselves and everyone with whom they live and speak with endless virtue by spreading the teaching of original awakening, their efforts imbuing the entire universe, within and without, with inexhaustible, indestructible, inconceivable, and immeasurable truth.
Excerpt from Uji:
This particular hour, however, unfolds uncaged. Heavenly monarchs and their subjects, now unfolding to the left, unfolding to the right, are, even as you read this at a particular hour, brimming with our energy. On land and sea unfolds a particular hour for these masses, now filled with strength. Light or dark, man or beast, we form this particular hour into the present with every drop of our power, we step it through the flow with every fiber of our being. Were it otherwise, know that not a single phenomenon or object would unfold or stepflow whatsoever.