In this groundbreaking collection of essays edited by Steven Heine, leading scholars of Buddhism from both sides of the Pacific explore the life and thought of Zen Master Dogen (1200-1253), the founder of the Japanese Soto sect. Through both textual and historical analysis, the volume shows Dogen in context of the Chinese Chan tradition that influenced him and demonstrates the tremendous, lasting impact he had on Buddhist thought and culture in Japan. The essays provide critical new insight into Dogen's writings. Special attention is given to the Shobogenzo and several of its fascicles, which express Dogen's views on such practices and rituals as using supranormal powers (jinzu), reading the sutras (kankin), diligent training in zazen meditation (shikan taza), and the koan realized in everyday life (genjokoan). Dogen: Textual and Historical Studies also analyzes the historical significance of this seminal figure: for instance, Dogen's methods of appropriating Chan sources and his role relative to that of his Japanese Zen predecessor Eisai, considered the founder of the Rinzai sect, who preceded Dogen in traveling to China.
This book is a crucial contribution to the advancement of specialized studies of Dogen, as well as to the Chan/Zen school in the context of East Asian religions and their social and historical trends.