In a world where a certain kind of intellectualism is valued over many other human capacities, it’s easy to feel inferior to those we perceive to be smarter than ourselves and to imagine that the things that we do not understand with our intellect will somehow hold us back from a more profound experience of… Continue reading Dogen – Remember That You Are Alive Only Today In This Moment
In addition to the volumes of essays and lectures on Zen and Zen practice, Dogen also expressed himself and his teachings through poetry. This particular verse, which reflects on a moment of realization in which the poet’s mind underwent a profound perceptive shift, is written in a Chinese style. The translation is Philip Whalen and… Continue reading Snow Makes a Mountain
Four and fifty years I’ve hung the sky with stars. Now I leap through- What shattering! – Eihei Dogen (1200-1253)
Waka is a Japanese word for poem that surfaced more than a millenium ago to differentiate the Chinese kanshi poems from the work of local scribes. A waka can have a long or short form, and the short ones can often read like haikus, a poetic embodiment of transience. This short one was written by… Continue reading Dogen’s Waka on Impermanence
The Fukanzazenki is a 13th century Japanese text that provides the most fundamental instructions for Zen meditation, including details on the ideal environment and posture for practice.
In this short chapter from the Shobogenzo, Sho-ji, Dogen plays with the distinction between the nuances of the two different meanings, life and death being static and self-defined events, which he argues have no substance or existence, and living and dying which are an endless flow of events and dynamic being
The Hokyo-ki is a short memoir written by Dogen later in his life that chronicles his exchanges with Master Ju-ching (Tendo Nyojo in Japanese, also known as Rujing). Dogen only spent two years studying under Ju-ching at his monastery on Mount Tiantong, but the master’s teachings were highly transformative for the young Japanese monk and… Continue reading What is Essential is Only to Understand with Immediacy – from Dogen’s Hokyo-ki
Last week we published the Jijuyu Zanmai, which is the second part of the first half of Master Dogen’s Bendowa, the first text to be written in casual Japanese to explain the Zen Dogen had learned in China under Master Rujing. This text is the very first part of the Bendowa that precedes the Jijuyu… Continue reading “When you release it, it fills your hand; when you speak it fills your mouth” – Dogen’s Bendowa
This is the second part of Dogen Zenji’s Genjo-koan, (read the first part here), one of the most fundamental chapters of the Shobogenzo which illustrates the key tenets of Soto Zen philosophy. In this second half of the text, Dogen talks about the mystery of knowing the elements we live in and how practice occurs… Continue reading The Genjo-koan (Part 2)
Ibn Arabi was a 13th century mystic, poet and philosopher in the Islamic tradition. He lived between Spain and North Africa and produced a prodigious and varied output during his lifetime.