SHOBOGENZO: 1. Bendowa 'On the endeavour of the way'

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  • Kokuu
    Treeleaf Priest
    • Nov 2012
    • 6786

    SHOBOGENZO: 1. Bendowa 'On the endeavour of the way'

    Matt W and I both recently obtained a copy of the Tanahashi translation of Shobogenzo and thought it might be a good idea to work our way through together discussing each fascicle in turn. After asking Jundo's permission we are going to do that as a series of threads on here so that anyone else who wishes to do this can join in too.

    Hopefully it is needless to say we have no expert knowledge about this but are just wanting to share our thoughts and impressions. It would be lovely if others wanted to do the same.

    All buddha tathagatas, who directly transmit inconceivable dharma and actualize supreme, perfect enlightenment, have a wondrous way, unsurpassed and unconditioned. Only buddhas transmit it to buddhas without veering off; self-fulfilling samadhi is its standard. Sitting upright, practicing Zen, is the authentic gate to the unconfined realm of samadhi.

    Gassho
    Andy
  • Taikyo
    Friend of Treeleaf
    • Nov 2012
    • 363

    #2
    I'd be very pleased to join you.

    Gassho

    David

    Comment

    • Kyonin
      Treeleaf Priest / Engineer
      • Oct 2010
      • 6742

      #3
      Can I join

      Gassho,

      Kyonin
      Hondō Kyōnin
      奔道 協忍

      Comment

      • Jundo
        Treeleaf Founder and Priest
        • Apr 2006
        • 39459

        #4
        Yes, have fun Dogenizing. Play the 'Genzo.

        For those folks new to jazzy Dogen's style, I point you to ...

        How to Read Dogen
        LONG POST A few excerpts for some tips and hints I've posted from time to time for those who want to dip into a bit of Shobogenzo ... ---- In my own "in a nutshell" description of how to approach Shobogenzo ... I often describe Dogen as a Jazzman, bending and re-livening the "standard tunes" of Zen


        ... which might also be called ... How to Dance-be Danced by-Dogen ...

        Gassho, J
        ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

        Comment

        • Mp

          #5
          Great idea Andy, I would enjoy being part of the adventure.

          Gassho
          Shingen

          Comment

          • MyoHo
            Member
            • Feb 2013
            • 632

            #6
            Coool! Looking forward to it guys!

            Gassho

            Enkyo
            Mu

            Comment

            • Fugu
              Member
              • May 2013
              • 101

              #7
              Does anybody know and can comment on the differences between the Tanahashi translation and the Nearman? I have a digital copy of the latter but would rather have a hard copy for ease of study, but a used copy is $499!! This rather shoots my vow of poverty in the foot.

              Gassho,
              Fugu

              Comment

              • Risho
                Member
                • May 2010
                • 3179

                #8
                I would love to join too. Is it ok if I use the Nishijima translation?

                Gassho

                Risho
                Email: risho.treeleaf@gmail.com

                Comment

                • Seimyo
                  Member
                  • Jan 2012
                  • 861

                  #9
                  Hi Fugu,
                  I cannot help with the differences but I can say that the book has been reissued and it's actually less than the original volumes.



                  Gassho.
                  Seimyo

                  明 Seimyō (Christhatischris)

                  Comment

                  • Jundo
                    Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                    • Apr 2006
                    • 39459

                    #10
                    Originally posted by Fugu
                    Does anybody know and can comment on the differences between the Tanahashi translation and the Nearman? I have a digital copy of the latter but would rather have a hard copy for ease of study, but a used copy is $499!! This rather shoots my vow of poverty in the foot.

                    Gassho,
                    Fugu
                    Here is what I usually post on the various translations when it comes up ...

                    ---------------

                    Actually, there are now several complete and partial Shobogenzo available online, plus a wonderful new complete translation in print.

                    Personally, I think the [Shasta Abbey/Rev. Nearman] translation you linked to needs to be taken with some caution (I will say why below), although all the translations have their strengths and weaknesses. In fact, when I have read or talked about Shobogenzo, I have often looked at two or more translations simultaneously to see how the various translators have approached Dogen's poetry and word play (he was a great word gamester). Looking at a couple of translations at once can help triangulate the many dimensions in his worlds and words.

                    First, available online, the most complete list of the various Shobogenzo online is here ...

                    English translation of Dogen's complete Shobogenzo and links to other translations of chapters.


                    ... although Terebess also has some translations online not found even there ...



                    My teacher, Nishijima Roshi, and Taigu's Teacher, Chodo Cross, have a complete Shobogenzo now fully available online for download here ...



                    The Soto Zen Text Project, a scholarly effort, will someday be complete, but has already accomplished much good work ... here:



                    To my taste, the edition by Shasta Abbey can be too worshipful and "Biblical" in tone, often with the flavor of the Book of Common Prayer of King James filled with "Thou" and "Our Lord" references to Buddha in keeping with the rather Churchy flavor of the OBC Lineage. However, it is masterful too.
                    English translation of Dogen's complete Shobogenzo and links to other translations of chapters.


                    Okay, which is "best" or, better said, what are some of the strengths and weaknesses of each?

                    The Shasta Abbey version by Rev. Hubert Nearman does not particularly ring my bell. I find it too flowery and reverential, possibly due to the flavor of that lineage. Others may find it suits their tastes however. Their founder was an incredible woman, but taken to inner voices and visions and speaking as an oracle of the Buddhas (much like Teresa of Avila). She also was trying to reconcile the Shasta Abbey practices with traditional Anglican ceremony (for example, their chants much resemble the Book of Common Prayer). Portions of the style and wording of their Shobogenzo are very "King James" in feel, which can be clearly felt in this translation. Of course, to each their own and it is a tremendous reference and accomplishment.

                    Awhile back, I did ask the noted Dogen scholar, Steve Heine:



                    (1) of all the Shobogenzo translations out there, which is the most "accurate" from the point of view of Buddhist scholarship and translation (i.e., most faithful to what Dogen actually wrote)? (2) which is the most readable by the non-specialist, while still being as faithful as possible to Dogen? I told him not to be polite to my teacher, Nishijima Roshi, in answering.

                    He said that,

                    ... as far as Shobogenzo translations, Waddell/Abe, is perhaps the most "accurate" even though out of date in some ways (it is a reprint of renderings done in the 1970s). Tanahashi's several books are always very very good, and perhaps the most accessible to a non-scholar (at the intersection of literal accuracy and readability). He highly recommended those. Nishijima/Cross, he said, is the best of the complete translations, but it has many problems in grammar, typos and other small quirks (due to my teacher's limited English abilities and some peculiarities about Chodo Cross' style and Nishijima Roshi's personal philosophy) that it is best for serious students who can pick out the minor problems and see the underlying strength.

                    The Soto Text project promises someday to be the best overall, but is coming out in small doses, still spotty and not quite living up to potential yet. Nishiyama/Stevens and Yokoi are to be avoided. Cleary, Masunaga, and Shasta all have some strengths, but are not nearly as good as the first sets above.
                    That is from a Dogen scholar's point of view.

                    I very much appreciate to read, for example, one of the other translations hand-in-hand with the "Soto Zen Text Project" version, when available. The reason is the wonderful work that has been done in tracing the history of the citations by Dogen which pepper the Shobogenzo.

                    Now, recently Kazu Tanahashi issued a full translation of the Shobogenzo (he had issued bits and pieces in past decades) that we have discussed before, and which I think will become the most widely used English Shobogenzo in the Zen World because it is a lovely mix of style (very important to Dogen, the wordsmith) and scholarship and substance and readability, sacrificing not too much on each front, by a gifted poet and Dogen scholar in conjunction with other gifted writers, priests and Dogen scholars.

                    ... although the price tag is a bit hefty (appropriate to the work that went into it) ...



                    Here is an article about Kaz Tanahashi ...



                    If you wish to pick up some Tanahashi, his excellent partial translations (of key portions of Shobogenzo) have been available for many years, less of a major investment ...

                    Moon in a Dewdrop



                    Enlightenment Unfolds



                    Now, I have written a couple of things too on "How to Read Dogen" (if "read" is the best word for it ... hmmm) ...

                    LONG POST A few excerpts for some tips and hints I've posted from time to time for those who want to dip into a bit of Shobogenzo ... ---- In my own "in a nutshell" description of how to approach Shobogenzo ... I often describe Dogen as a Jazzman, bending and re-livening the "standard tunes" of Zen


                    Gassho, Jundo
                    Last edited by Jundo; 07-11-2013, 02:28 AM.
                    ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                    Comment

                    • Joyo

                      #11
                      I would like to join, I'm just a bit confused because I've never heard of this book, my library doesn't have it, and I have a lot of other expenses right now so I don't really have the funds to buy it.

                      Jundo, is this all that I need right here, or is this just parts of the book? http://www.bdkamerica.org/digital/dB...enzo1_2009.pdf

                      Gassho,
                      Treena

                      Comment

                      • Jundo
                        Treeleaf Founder and Priest
                        • Apr 2006
                        • 39459

                        #12
                        Hi Treena,

                        That is all of Vol. 1 in the translation by my Teacher Nishijima Roshi with Chodo Cross (Taegu's Teacher). The other volumes are also available at the same site. Not as poetic perhaps as the Tanahashi versions, but very precise.

                        Treena, expect the James Joyce or T.S. Eliot of Dharma! Not always a "straight read" but something to be felt in the marrow of the bones.

                        Gassho, J
                        ALL OF LIFE IS OUR TEMPLE

                        Comment

                        • Jishin
                          Member
                          • Oct 2012
                          • 4820

                          #13


                          Treasury of the True Dharma Eye

                          by Tanahashi

                          $39.99 on kindle

                          Gassho, John

                          Comment

                          • tedmac
                            Member
                            • Jun 2010
                            • 89

                            #14
                            I can't afford the book now, but if I can follow using an online edition then I'm down for the practice. Unless there is a reason to do otherwise, I'll follow in the Nishijima/Cross translation.

                            Peacing,
                            Untei

                            Comment

                            • Joyo

                              #15
                              Originally posted by Jundo
                              Hi Treena,

                              That is all of Vol. 1 in the translation by my Teacher Nishijima Roshi with Chodo Cross (Taegu's Teacher). The other volumes are also available at the same site. Not as poetic perhaps as the Tanahashi versions, but very precise.

                              Treena, expect the James Joyce or T.S. Eliot of Dharma! Not always a "straight read" but something to be felt in the marrow of the bones.

                              Gassho, J
                              Ok, thanks, Jundo. Then I guess I am in, and I will use this online edition. The T.S. Eliot of the dharma sounds very interesting!!

                              Comment

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