These essays are about the Japanese Zen master Dogen Zenji, (1200-1253) founder of the Soto school. For more on Dogen and translations of some of his works, see the Dogen Teachings
page under Zen Teachings.
Questions, broken links, suggestions, etc, please
. search thezensite
William M Bodiford: Remembering Dogen: Eiheiji and Dogen Hagiography
This is an excellent essay on the history of Eiheiji and its centuries-long fight to become the head temple of the Sōtō Sect and memorialize its founder, Dogen. A fascinating history. from The Journal of Japanese Studies 32.1 (2006) pp1-21
Johannes Cairns: Tracing The Rhetoric Of Contemporary Zen: Dogen Sangha And The Modernization Of Japanese Zen Buddhism In The Light Of A Rhetorical Analysis Of A Weblog
This is a BA thesis by Cairns focussing on a rhetorical analysis, via a weblog, of the Dogen Sangha, an international Zen group founded by Gudo Nishijima.
Bernard Faure: The Daruma-shū, Dōgen,
and Sōtō Zen
Faure examines the influence of the Bodhidharma (Daruma) School on Dogen's teachings and the Shobogenzo. As he says, "The traditional history of...Zen in Japan is not exempt from distortions." Excellent article! from Monumenta Nipponica, Vol. 42, No. 1. (Spring, 1987), pp. 25-55.I suggest you also read Heine's Did Dogen Go to China?
for more on Dogen hagiography.
T. Griffith Foulk: History of the Soto Zen School
The Dõgen Canon: Dõgen's Pre-Shõbõgenzõ Writings and the Question of Change in His Later Works from The Japanese Journal of Religious Studies, 1997. Heine argues a Three Periods Theory of Dogen's writing suggesting that the main change, which occurred with the opening of Eihei-ji in 1245, was a matter of altering the style of instruction rather than the content or ideology.
Critical Buddhism the Debate Concerning the 75-fascicle and 12-fascicle Shōbōgenzō Texts Heine evaluates the views of Critical Buddhsim on how the two Shobogenzo texts illuminate Dogen's perspectives on original enlightenment thought in terms of his attitude to causality and karmic retribution. from Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 1994 24/1
Koans in the Dogen Tradition : How and Why Dogen Does what He Does with Koans: Heine analyses how Dogen used koans in his teaching and "that Dogen does not have a single, simple or uniform method of koan interpretation, but he varies rhetorical and narrative strategies to bring out particular ideas concerning specific items of doctrine and ritual." from Philosophy East and West, Vol 54, No. 2, January 2004
Did Dogen Go to China?: Heine examines the evidence of Dogen's famous trip to China and the meeting with his teacher, Ju-ching. He concludes, Yes, Dogen did go to China but the real story is somewhat different than the hagiography tells. Excellent article from: Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 30/1–2: 27–59 Heine's book on this, Did Dogen Go to China? What He Wrote and When He Wrote It is available from Oxford University Press
A Day in the Life: Two Recent Works on Dogen's
Shōbōgenzō Gyoji [Sustained Practice] Fascicle
Heine reviews 2 books on this, Ishi Shudo's Shobogenzo [Gyoji] ni manabu and Yasuraoka Kosaku's Shobogenzo [Gyoji] jo from Japanese Journal of Religious Studies 35/2: 363-371
I suggest you also read Faure's article, The Daruma-shū, Dōgen,
and Sōtō Zen,
to find more influences on the Dogen hagiography.
Norimoto Iino: Dogen's Zen View of Interdependence
Dogen had an all-encompassing, many-sided view of interdependence (parasparāpeksā
). This is a lovely article, eloquent and a joy to read. Highly recommended
T. P. Kasulis: The Zen Philsopher: a review article on Dogen scholarship in English
: Kasulis begins by arguing that Zen can be interpreted through philosophical enquiry and goes on to review some major works of translation of Dogen. This article was originally published in 1978 in Philosophy East and West, Volume 28, no. 3, July
so the reviews are limited (showing how much has changed since then in Dogen studies) but it's still worth reading. Recommended.
Taigen Dan Leighton: The Lotus Sutra as a Source for Dogen's Discourse Style
Leighton discusses Dogen's appropriation of the Lotus Sutra at a rhetorical device in the Shobogenzo and other writings of Dogen.
Reflections on Translating Dogen: Leighton talks of the joy of discovering (and translating) Dogen. originally published in Dharma Eye, October 2001
John Daido Loori: Dogen's 300 Koans and the Kana Shobogenzo
Loori talks about some observations made while translating this unique collection of koans.
David R Loy Language against its own mystifications: Deconstruction in Nagarjuna and Dogen
Loy compares these two great thinkers because "Nagarjuna and Dogen ... point to many of the same Buddhist insights because they deconstruct the same type of dualities, most of which may be understood as versions of our commonsense but delusive distinction between substance and attribute, subject and predicate." He then goes on to look at the differences between the two. from Philosophy East and West 1999. Vol. 49, Iss. 3
Douglas K. Mikkelson: Who Is Arguing About the Cat? Moral Action and Englightenment According to Dogen
. A very interesting essay on Dogen's response to Nan-ch'uan cutting the cat, Pai-chang's Fox and the moral consequences of action. Did Nan-ch'uan commit evil by cutting the cat?
Terry C Muck: Zen Master Dogen Meets a Thirteenth-century Postmodernist
A lovely little essay exploring the koan Tokuzan Meets a Rice-Cake Seller. As Muck says, Dogen "offers the seeds of fruitful ideas for a way forward: beyond rationalism, without rancor, toward a true ecumenism of the human spirit." Recommended. from Journal of Ecumenical Studies, 1998, Vol. 35, Iss. 1
Yasuaki Nara: The Soto Zen School in Japan
Dr Nara looks at some social issues regarding Soto Zen in modern Japan. Specifically, he focusses on the questions of discrimination and funerals within the school.
The whole collection of Nishijima's essays can be found here.
Understanding the Shobogenzo: quite a long essay. Includes his explanation of his SOAR structure (subjective, objective, action and real). Also includes his translation of the Genjo Koan essay.
Japanese Buddhism and the Meiji Restoration: includes Nishijima's introduction to Nagarjuna's Mulamadhyamakakarika, which Nishijima claims is "identical to the theories of Dogen".
Three Philosophies and One Reality: essays based on a series of talks given by Nishijima on Dogen.
David Putney: Some Problems of Interpretation: early and late writings of Dogen
. “The purpose of this essay will be to concentrate primarily on two key hermeneutical problems: (1) the problem of the textual relationship between Dogen's late versus his early writings, and (2) the problem of Dogen's method of expression in his early and mid-period writings…. The results of this inquiry may furnish a groundwork for addressing the philosophical questions regarding Dogen's early, middle, and late views on Original Enlightenment, "Buddha Nature," and Causality.” from Philosophy East and West
Volume 46, Number 4
‘Place’ And ‘Being-Time’: Spatiotemporal Concepts In The Thought Of Nishida Kitarō And Dōgen Kigen "Perhaps the best known among ... spatiotemporal East Asian concepts are the notions of ‘place’ (basho) of Nishida Kitarō (1870–1945) and the ‘being-time’ (uji) of Dōgen Kigen (1200–1253). This article is an effort at a comparative analysis of these notions, focusing especially on Nishida’s philosophy as a synthesis of Western and Asian philosophical discourses." An interesting essay comparing Nishida and Dōgen's approach to a fundamental philosophical/religious problem. from Philosophy East and West - Volume 54, Number 1, January 2004, pp. 29-51
Inside the Concept: Rethinking Dōgen's Language The article places Dōgen's writing technique in the context of the linguistic changes that were taking place both in China and Japan at the time of his writing as well as the general attitude of Chan/Zen thinkers toward language, arguing that the Chan/Zen critique was not pointed to language as such, but its reified and alienated forms. Dōgen's concept-making could accordingly be seen as an effort to keep language 'alive.' from Asian Philosophy
Vol. 21, No. 2, May 2011
The Existential Moment:Rereading Dogen's Theory of Time Tackling one of Dogen's most philosophical writings, his theory on time, Uji, Raud reinterprets Dogen's Uji "with stress on the momentary rather than the durational" aspects of Dogen time. from Philosophy East and West Vol. 62 No. 2, April 2012.
Kevin Schilbrack: Metaphysics in Dogen
"The first section of this essay introduces a definition of metaphysics that, although drawn from the Western philosophical tradition, is, I hope, generic enough to be useful for the study of philosophy outside the West, and then argues for the legitimacy of metaphysics as an interpretative tool for the understanding of Zen Buddhist thought. The second section spells out what I take to be the basic features of Dogen's metaphysics, and the third deals with a rival non-metaphysical interpretation of Dogen's philosophy. from: Philosophy East and West, Vol. 50, No. 1 (January 2000)
Otani Tetsuo: To Transmit Dogen Zenji's Dharma
Tetsuo looks at the importance of transmission to Dogen, its history in the Soto sect and the significance of dharma transmission today in Soto Japan.
Dale S Wright: Doctrine and the Concept of Truth in Dōgen's Shōbōgenzō
Wright looks at what Dōgen saw as the "truth" in practice and belief. "The aim of
this study of the Shōbōgenzō will be to clarify its implicit concept of
truth, and to show how such clarification can shed light on the
meaning of the text as a whole." This is an excellent essay and well worth reading for a better understanding of Dōgen's Shōbōgenzō.