By Hee-Jin Kim
Contributor Note: ahead via Taigen Dan Leighton
Eihei Dogen, the founding father of the japanese department of the Soto Zen Buddhist university, is taken into account one of many world's such a lot extraordinary spiritual philosophers. Eihei Dogen: Mystical Realist is a finished advent to the genius of this fabulous philosopher. This thirteenth-century determine has a lot to coach us all and the questions that drove him have constantly been on the middle of Buddhist practice.
At the age of 7, in 1207, Dogen misplaced his mom, who at her dying earnestly requested him to turn into a monastic to hunt the reality of Buddhism. we're informed that during the midst of profound grief, Dogen skilled the impermanence of all issues as he watched the incense smoke ascending at his mother's funeral provider. This left an indelible impact upon the younger Dogen; later, he may emphasize again and again the intimate dating among the will for enlightenment and the attention of impermanence. His lifestyle wouldn't be a sentimental flight from, yet a compassionate figuring out of, the insupportable truth of existence.
At age thirteen, Dogen obtained ordination at Mt. Hiei. And but, a question arose: "As I examine either the exoteric and the esoteric colleges of Buddhism, they keep that people are endowed with Dharma-nature by way of delivery. if so, why did the buddhas of every age - certainly in ownership of enlightenment - locate it essential to search enlightenment and have interaction in non secular practice?" whilst it turned transparent that nobody on Mt. Hiei may well provide a passable solution to this non secular challenge, he sought in different places, finally making the treacherous trip to China. This used to be the real starting of a lifetime of relentless wondering, perform, and instructing - an immensely inspiring contribution to the Buddhadharma.
As you may think, a e-book as bold as Eihei Dogen: Mystical Realist should be either academically rigorous and eminently readable to be successful. Professor Hee-Jim Kim's paintings is certainly either.
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Extra resources for Eihei Dogen: Mystical Realist (3rd Edition)
Furthermore, Zen is still in the making. 23 Many of these alleged Zen qualities are exaggerations or misinterpretations that have helped create a distorted image of Zen. Dßgen, as we shall see later, conceived of Zen quite differently—his style of Zen was “rational,” “analytic,” and “exact,” though these adjectives should not be understood in the sense of the Western philosophical tradition. 24 Second, Dßgen was a religious thinker, not merely or even primarily a philosopher. As I mentioned previously, nonsectarian students of Dßgen are often mistaken in viewing him as a philosopher who attempted to build a philosophical system.
Although the ancient teachers of this country wrote books, taught disciples, and expounded teachings to humans and gods, their speeches were green and their expression yet immature. They did not attain the summit of an intellectual grasp of doctrines, much less the neighborhood of enlightenment. They merely transmitted words and letters, while their disciples recited names and sounds. Day and night they counted others’ riches for nothing. Herein lies my charge against the ancient teachers. Some led people to seek enlightenment outside the conditions of mind, while still others led them to desire rebirth in other lands.
As for an aspiration for greatness, I wished to emulate the greatness of Indian and Chinese monastics and scholars rather than my countryfolk. Also I should have aspired to be equal to the gods of heavens and invisible worlds, Buddhas and bodhisattvas. 53 This passage summarized Dßgen’s ten-plus years of spiritual struggle at Hiei and Kenninji. His original question remained unanswered; he could not find a right teacher, and the general circumstances of Japanese Buddhism at the time were unfavorable to him.