Japanese Poetry, The Masters

Dogen’s Waka on Impermanence

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

Japanese Texts, The Masters

What is Essential is Only to Understand with Immediacy – from Dogen’s Hokyo-ki

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

Texts, The Masters

The Genjo-koan (Part 2)

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)

Japanese Texts, Texts, The Masters

The Genjo-koan (Part 1)

The Genjo-koan, whose name can be translated as 'Realizing the Heart of the Matter', is one of the key chapters in Master Dogen's voluminous Shobogenzo. The Genjo-koan cuts to the heart of Dogen's teaching and presents us with the fundamental tenets of Zen practice as well as an account of its distinct phenomenology. This version… Continue reading The Genjo-koan (Part 1)