New translation of "Why The First Patriarch Came From The West"

I’m pleased to make available a new compendium of my Dogen translations, under the name “First Dogen Book,” including my most recent project, a translation of “Why The First Patriarch Came From The West.” I have also revised and updated my previous translations.

As with my previous translations, this translation is distinguished by an intensive level of research and analysis not seen elsewhere, as well as an obsessive attention to style, rhythm and nuance.

The four essays in the book span the range from introductory to advanced. “Dialog on the Way of Commitment,” or Bendowa, is an introductory essay directed towards the newcomer to Zen Buddhism. “Truth Unfolding,” or Genjo Koan, is a definitive, elegant exposition of the importance of practice, one of Dogen’s primary themes. “A Particular Hour,” or Uji, is a compelling testament to the urgency of attending to the moment. Finally, the latest translation “Why the First Patriarch Came from the West,” or Soshi Seirai I, is a Zen meditation on the human condition. Together, they represent the essence, albeit highly distilled, of Dogen’s writings and teachings.

The translations are exhaustively annotated. The annotations are not in general meant to elucidate 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 aspects of Dogen’s prose and possible alternative interpretations. The notes also present historical and cultural background.

Download (170pp. PDF, 1MB).

One Response to “New translation of "Why The First Patriarch Came From The West"”

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