Dogen, the thirteenth-century Zen master who founded the Japanese Soto school of Zen, is renowned as one the world's most remarkable religious geniuses. His works are both richly poetic and deeply insightful and philosophical, pointing to the endless depths of Zen exploration. And almost precisely because of these facts, Dogen is often difficult for readers to understand and fully appreciate.
Realizing Genjokoan is a comprehensive introduction to the teachings and approach of this great thinker, taking us on a thorough guided tour of the most important essay-Genjokoan-in Dogen's seminal work, the Shobogenzo. Indeed, the Genjokoan is regarded as the pinnacle of Dogen's writings, encompassing and encapsulating the essence of all the rest of his work.
Our tour guide for this journey is Shohaku Okumura, a prominent teacher in his own right, who has dedicated his life to translating and teaching Dogen.
This volume also includes an introduction to Dogen's life from Hee-Jin Kim's classic, Eihei Dogen: Mystical Realist, with updated annotations by Okumura.
Shohaku Okumura is a Soto Zen priest and Dharma successor of Kosho Uchiyama Roshi. He is a graduate of Komazawa University and has practiced in Japan at Antaiji, Zuioji, and the Kyoto Soto Zen Center, and in Massachusetts at the Pioneer Valley Zendo. He is the former director of the Soto Zen Buddhism International Center in San Francisco. His previously published books of translation include Shobogenzo Zuimonki, Dogen Zen, Zen Teachings of Homeless Kodo, and Opening the Hand of Thought. Okumura is also editor of Dogen Zen and Its Relevance for Our Time and SotoZen. He is the founding teacher of the Sanshin Zen Community, based in Bloomington, Indiana, where he lives with his family.
"Dogen's masterpiece is beautifully translated and clarified in an equally masterful way. An obvious labor of love based on many years of careful study, reflection, and practice that succeeds in bringing this profound text to life for all meditators."
– Larry Rosenberg, author of Breath by Breath
"An unequaled introduction to the writings of the great Zen master Eihei Dogen that opens doors to Dogen's vast understanding for everyone from newcomer to adept."
– Jisho Warner, co-editor of Opening the Hand of Thought
"Realizing Genjokoan is a stunning commentary on the famous first chapter of Dogen's Shobogenzo. Like all masterful commentaries, this one finds in the few short lines of the text the entire span of the Buddhist teachings. Okumura has been contemplating, studying, and teaching the Genjokoan for many decades, which is evident in both the remarkable insight he brings to the text and the clarity with which he presents it."
– Buddhadharma: The Buddhist Review
"This book is a treasure. Though many quite useful translations of Genjokoan are already available, as well as helpful commentaries, this book goes beyond. I have been considering Genjokoan for thirty-five years, and still I enjoyed many helpful revelations in this book. For all people interested in Zen, this book on Genjokoan will be a valuable and illuminating resource. Please enjoy it."
– from the foreword by Taigen Dan Leighton, editor and co-translator of Dogen's Extensive Record
"A clear and concise commentary on one of Dogen's most difficult pieces."