Shobogenzo Reviews

dogen[1]_0I’m working on a new book about an old book, Dogen’s great masterwork Shobogenzo. This is why I haven’t been posting a whole lot here lately.

Doing this new book has gotten me more into studying Dogen and the Shobogenzo than I have been in a long time. So, since sometimes people ask me to recommend either translations of Shobogenzo or books about Dogen in general, I thought I’d take a stab at it.



Gudo Nishijima was my teacher so of course I am prejudiced to like this translation best. But the more I work with it, the more I am convinced it’s better than any other. About three and a half years ago, I wrote a piece on my old blog called Why The New Edition of Shobogenzo is the Second Best Translation. It’s still up there if you want to see it.

In that piece I said all my reasons for liking the Nishijima/Cross version best. They’re still the same reasons. Mike Cross did the actual translation. As he says, “The process took place in my brain.” He looked up the words, puzzled over how best to render them in his native language, and made an incredibly accurate facsimile of the original Japanese text in English.

But the translation was “initiated, guided, nurtured, and financially supported by Gudo Nishijima,” as Mike also says. Without Nishijima and his 60 years of working with Shobogenzo to guide and nurture the process, the current edition couldn’t have existed. Mike has always felt that I didn’t give him proper credit for his work. He may be right. I’m sorry Mike! I think Mike was a genius at making the English say precisely what it says in Japanese.

If you want a version of Shobogenzo that feels like you’ve put on magic glasses that allow you to read 800 year-old Japanese, this is the one. The authors also provide copious footnotes that tell you what ancient sutras Dogen is referring to, who the old masters he names are, what certain of the original Japanese phrases are in case you’re wondering, and so on. It’s also cross-referenced with a 12-volume edition containing the original Japanese text plus a translation by Nishijima into modern Japanese. So if you know how to read some Japanese you can pretty easily look up anything that you feel like.

It’s available for free on-line as a pdf, though the pdf version omits all the Chinese characters that appear in the printed version and moves the footnotes from the bottom of each page to the end of each chapter.

Tanahashi/San Francisco Zen Center

This is the second best translation, as I said in that earlier article. It is far more readable than the Nishijima/Cross version. Which means it’s far more readable than the original by Dogen. Which means it’s also less like what Dogen actually wrote. It was also translated with an eye toward making it user-friendly and inoffensive to the sensibilities of ultra-sensitive folks from the Bay Area.

For example, the phrase  “sit upright like a king of (or under) the Bodhi tree” (kakuju-oh ni tanza) in Bendowa is rendered as “sit upright beneath the glorious Bodhi tree” so as not to be sexist. Where Dogen refers to the full lotus posture (kekka fuza) in the original, he says “sitting in meditation” in this translation so as not to offend anyone with tight hamstrings. In a section I was just working on, the word “parent” (oya) is translated as “mother” so as to make Dogen seem more inclusive of all genders. The list goes on.

There are also no footnotes. But there are a number of useful appendixes, a huge glossary, an index, and a bibliography that even includes a listing of my book Sit Down and Shut Up. Many of the translations used in this edition previously appeared in Tanahashi’s books Moon in a Dewdrop and Enlightenment Unfolds, where they are footnoted, but not as extensively as in the Nishijima/Cross edition. Those other books are also a lot cheaper.

Thomas Cleary

I only just started looking at this one. It’s not as bad as I was expecting it to be given that I’d heard Cleary did his translation in a hurry. But it’s got no footnotes* and it does seem to be more an exercise in being an absolute completist than in really trying to understand the meaning of Shobogenzo itself.

* Correction: It does have footnotes! Just not for every chapter and not as extensively as the Nishijima/Cross edition.

Kosen Nishiyama/John Stevens

This was the first complete translation of Shobogenzo into English… I believe. I say “I believe” because I have never seen any copies of volumes 3 or 4 of the four-volume set. Do they even exist? It’s a good translation. But the authors sort of attempt to explain Dogen within the text rather than do what Nishijima/Cross did and put that sort of thing in the footnotes. So you don’t know if you’re reading Dogen or reading Nishiyama and Stevens sometimes.

Good luck finding a copy!

Shasta Abbey

This was translated Reverend Master Hubert Nearman of Shasta Abbey, probably under the direction of Jiyu Kennet who ran the place. It’s available for free on-line, which is nice. It’s not bad. But the Reverend tends to go for overly flowery language sometimes. I occasionally refer to it when I see discrepancies between other translations and don’t feel like looking the phrase in question up in Japanese. It’s my tie-breaker version.

Stanford Soto Zen Text Project

Five or six years ago this was announced as the Shobogenzo translation to end all Shobogenzo translations. The Mother of All Shobogenzos in English! A few chapters have appeared on-line, and they’re pretty good. But where is the rest of it? Will we ever know?


The Essential Dogen by Kazuaki Tanahashi

This is sort of a Dogen’s gretest hits collection of short passages from Shobogenzo and other writings. Unfortunately you never know where a given quote comes from in case you want to look it up and see how it functions in context. Still, it’s a nice starter book on Dogen.

Sit Down and Shut Up by Brad Warner

It’s weird to review my own book. But I have actually been going back to it as a reference! It’s been seven years since I wrote it, so it almost feels like somebody else’s book. It’s a darned good introduction to what’s in Shobogenzo if I do say so myself.

Zen Mind Beginner’s Mind by Shunryu Suzuki 

Although Shunryu Suzuki doesn’t reference Dogen very often in this book – and sometimes when he does he misquotes him! – it’s still a great introduction to Dogen’s outlook, which informs Suzuki’s philosophy throughout.


If this is interesting, let me know. There are a lot of other Dogen books I could talk about.

*   *   *

Deep into the process of writing a new book, I have no other income than what I get as donations from this blog. Every little bit helps! Donate! Become a micro-donor! Just don’t make me go out on the Philadelphia subways begging for spare change! Thank you!

*   *   *

Here’s my upcoming touring schedule:

Aug. 2 Dogen Sangha Los Angeles

Sept. 5-7 Houston Zen Center (I will probably do events in Austin  around the same time)

Oct. 1 Turku Panimoravintola Koulu, Finland– Movie screening

Oct. 2 Helsinki, Finland — Lecture Event

Oct. 3-5 Helsinki, Finland Zen retreat at Helsinki Zen Center

Oct. 6 Movie Screening in Espoo, Finland

Oct. 8 Lecture in Munich, Germany

Oct. 10-11 Retreat in Munich, Germany

Oct. 12-17 Retreat at Benediktushof near Würzburg, Germany

Oct 18-19 Retreat in Bonn, Germany

Oct 20 Hamburg, Germany

Oct 24: Lecture in Groningen, Netherlands

Oct 25: Day-long zazen in Groningen, Netherlands

Oct 26: Movie screening in Eindhoven, Netherlands at Natlab

Oct 27: Evening zazen in Eindhoven, Netherlands

Oct 28: Evening zazen in Nijmegen, Netherlands

Oct 29: Lecture in Amsterdam, Netherlands  at “De Roos” bookstore from 19.00-21.00  (P Cornelisz Hooftstr 183)

Oct 30: Lecture in Utrecht, Netherlands at “De wijze kater” bookstore from 19.00-21.00 ( Mariaplaats 1,  Utrecht)

Nov 1-2: Retreat in Utrecht, Netherlands

Nov. 2: Movie screening in Utrecht, Netherlands at ACU

Nov 6-8: Retreat in Hebden Bridge, UK

Nov 9: Noon — 5pm  Manchester, UK

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80 Responses

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  1. navybsn
    navybsn July 2, 2014 at 12:10 pm |

    Definitely looking forward to a new book (even though I haven’t quite finished the last one!) and especially one on this topic. I’ve attempted the Nishijima/Cross translation in small pieces but still fail miserably. Maybe something in more plain language with the explanations you are so good at? Fingers crossed.

  2. YeahNo
    YeahNo July 2, 2014 at 12:37 pm |

    My copy of Cleary has notes at the end of each chapter. Agree that it feels completist, but I feel that way about all of Cleary’s stuff, just because he’s done so much.

    Somewhere on Amazon, Cross has a review of Vol 3 where he is critical of the work he did with Nishijima, especially toward the end of the collaboration.

    Sit Down/Shut Up was my first introduction to Dogen and Shobogenzo. Looking forward to the new work.

  3. Wibble
    Wibble July 2, 2014 at 1:07 pm |

    Brad’s link to Shobogenzo pdf doesn’t work.
    This one does…

  4. Mumbles
    Mumbles July 2, 2014 at 1:45 pm |

    When I started coming around here many years ago now, I think it was Alan who rightly spanked me for criticizing what I projected upon Brad as my fantasy version of a zen master without having read any of his books.

    After that I began thumbing through whatever BW title might happen to be on any random bookstore’s shelves. I finally decided to buy a copy of Sit Down and Shut Up and was pleasantly surprised by how well it was written on a very difficult subject. I’ve read it a couple times and may go back again.

    It remains my favorite title of Brad’s, although I passed on the last couple so maybe they’re more awesome? But I doubt it. If you are new to Brad’s opus, I can highly recommend Sit Down and Shut Up. Hope the new one is as good/and or a great compliment to it. Looking forward to it.

  5. Dan
    Dan July 2, 2014 at 1:55 pm |

    Yes, please talk about other Dogen books!

    Also, can you talk about how this new book will be similar to/different from Sit Down and Shut Up?

  6. Alan Sailer
    Alan Sailer July 2, 2014 at 1:57 pm |


    I don’t remember spanking you, but it sounds probable. I sometimes get exercised when people get all critical on Brad, although I have spent a fair amount of my time doing exactly that.

    It also may have been during one of my far too common cranky stages, like the one I’m having this week.

    I still think Sit Down is his “best” book meaning that I got the most out of it. I’d give second place a tie between Hardcore and There is no God.


    1. Mumbles
      Mumbles July 2, 2014 at 2:46 pm |

      I deserved it. And I thank you for that, Alan. It got me off my butt and shamed me into reading most of his stuff, all of which I’ve enjoyed for different reasons.

  7. The Idiot
    The Idiot July 2, 2014 at 3:54 pm |

    Hurrah for Mike Cross !!

  8. sri_barence
    sri_barence July 2, 2014 at 6:45 pm |

    I’m going through the Nishijima/Cross version for the third time. I really like the style. And I think I’m beginning to get a feel for Dogen’s philosophy. It is great fun!

    1. Mumbles
      Mumbles July 2, 2014 at 9:48 pm |

      I watched the whole thing with the sound off for extra effect.

  9. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote July 2, 2014 at 10:17 pm |

    Says I already entered it, but where did it go?– yodalayee-oo

  10. Proulx Michel
    Proulx Michel July 2, 2014 at 11:37 pm |

    I also hold “Sit Down and Shut Up” very highly.

  11. Steve
    Steve July 3, 2014 at 7:04 am |

    I also like Sit Down and Shut Up and am periodically impressed all over again as I pick it up. For example, Brad’s take on “think not thinking” in that book is so much more understandable than say Hee-Jin Kim.

    On the translations – I know absolutely nothing about the Japanese language, but I like the Kaz translation. However, if I’m really struggling with “what the hell is this about?”, I will read the Nishijima/Cross translation. There is a directness to it. It’s less poetic in my view. “Flowers die even though we like them.” gets the point across to me more easily than “In attachment, blossoms fall.” But once I’ve got a bead on it, I enjoy the Kaz translation better.

  12. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote July 3, 2014 at 12:16 pm |

    Checking on the Stanford Soto Zen text project, I find this from 2004:

    “Most of our work won’t be published for a while yet. But the project has a web site, where we’ve begun putting up our translations as we get permission from the International Division. The translators and the editorial board want to put up as much material as we can, but we’re constrained by copyright concerns in the SōtōshÅ«. So, at this point, we’ve been limited to only a small selection of our work. ”

    Last word from the editors on the project website appears to be 2009.

    Say Brad– you, uh, got your permission from the International Division? (wonder what that’s about!)

  13. Harlan
    Harlan July 3, 2014 at 4:01 pm |

    Hi Mark, I suppose there could be some kind of super special eternal Japanese copyright on the Shobogenzo but it is hard to imagine a 1000 year document still bound by any copyright restrictions..

  14. Wibble
    Wibble July 3, 2014 at 4:21 pm |

    Translations of ancient texts are generally copyright.
    Mate of mine has been translating and publishing Pindar fragments for years and the translations are copyright Oxford University Press.

  15. Harlan
    Harlan July 3, 2014 at 5:35 pm |

    Yeah Wibble that makes sense. But what kind of copyright infringement would the Stanford team be concerned about? They are a group working on their own translation. There must be some kind of final approval needed by Sotoshu if you are under their umbrella, which apparently takes decades to get..

    1. Matt
      Matt July 6, 2014 at 7:06 pm |

      Well, it is possible to copyright an edition of an ancient text, even if you can’t copyright the text itself. (That is, the copyright law recognizes as creative work transcribing old manuscripts, checking multiple manuscript traditions for variants, etc.) So there could be totally legit (legally speaking) copyright issues involved, assuming that the Stanford folks aren’t working from original manuscripts that they themselves own.

      (Whether an academic project like this should be held up by copyright issues is a whole different issue, and one about which copyright law doesn’t really care.)

  16. Jinzang
    Jinzang July 3, 2014 at 5:46 pm |

    The biggest problem with “Sit Down and Shut Up” is that in places Dogen repeats Indian Mahayana philosophy. If you’re familar with that philosophy, you’ll recognize that and what Dogen is saying. If not, you’re likely to miss Dogen’s meaning. And Brad does that a few times. I hope he has a good editor for his new book that will give it a critical read.

    1. Fred
      Fred July 3, 2014 at 6:29 pm |

      Do you think that Hee-Jin Kim’s description of what Dogen says, has anything
      to do with what occurs in just sitting?

  17. Alan Sailer
    Alan Sailer July 3, 2014 at 6:30 pm |


    Your comment raises a question.

    I’m pretty new to all this stuff, but one of the things I have noticed that Dogen (as well as Brad, Joko Beck and others) seem to make sense mostly in retrospect.

    For example, when I first read the phrase “To study the self is to forget the self” it was absolute gibberish. After some years of practice, it’s actually starting to make some sense.

    So my question is what reading Mahayana philosophy will do for my understanding of Dogen?

    I’m not being confrontational at all, just curious.

    I will admit I have a knee jerk (negative) reaction when I feel that someone is implying that old texts are a purer source of wisdom, but I don’t think that is what you are saying.


  18. Jinzang
    Jinzang July 3, 2014 at 6:51 pm |

    “So my question is what reading Mahayana philosophy will do for my understanding of Dogen?”

    Just what I said. If you know the Mahayana philosophy, you will recognize it when Dogen repeats it in his own words and understand what he is talking about. If you aren’t familiar with it, you are likely to misunderstand what he is saying.

    That being said, philosophy will only take you so far, and practice is also important in understanding Dogen.

  19. Alan Sailer
    Alan Sailer July 3, 2014 at 7:00 pm |


    Thanks for the reply.

    My mind doesn’t cope well with philosophy (modern or ancient) so I guess I’ll just continue with the method that I’ve been using so far, letting my sitting practice slowly illuminate the text.


  20. Mumbles
    Mumbles July 3, 2014 at 7:57 pm |

    Original views -if indeed there are such a thing- usually arise from a combination of insights gained from (some kind of) practice filtered through previously accumulated knowledge.

    In this sense everyone is standing on the shoulders of others. Are you saying, Jinzang, that it is essential to know Dogen’s Indian Mahayana influences to “get” his understanding of them? What about their influences? How far back to you go? To the Ur text? Isn’t that where practice leads us, into the Great Silence where all these words trying to express it come from?

    Brad’s interpretation of Dogen’s writings is inevitably a contemporary understanding of it. Just as Dogen’s filtering his understanding of Indian Mahayana was. It would be impossible for Brad (or anyone) to accurately portray what Dogen “meant” in a way that would be essentially meaningful to a modern day audience other than in his own voice, his own understanding, for his own audience, not Dogen’s.

    Everything is a synthesis of everything else, on and on ad infinitum.

    1. Alan Sailer
      Alan Sailer July 4, 2014 at 8:02 am |


      That is a very eloquent description of my view. Thanks for putting it out there.


  21. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote July 3, 2014 at 10:45 pm |

    Jinzang, can you give a f’instance, on the Mahayana in Dogen’s teaching, something like a phrase from a Mahayana Sutra (or a belief ascribed to one of the early Buddhism schools, a school later branded as Mahayana) and Dogen’s use of it?

    I often encounter things that belong to the history that I don’t get and that aren’t explained in the Zen literature– the Blue Cliff record at least gives a partial rundown of some of the historical references being made, but I haven’t seen much about famous sutras in the footnotes of Shobogenzo that I’ve seen. I would have to say, however, that I’m blind and deaf about these things because of my lack of interest in Mahayana sutras.

  22. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote July 3, 2014 at 10:50 pm |

    Meanwhile, the controversy concerning Sawaki continues over on Sweeping Zen, while I have to thank the Reverend for helping me explain a point, here.

    No good turning phrase unstoned.

    1. Fred
      Fred July 4, 2014 at 5:28 am |

      Reverend Nonin?

    2. minkfoot
      minkfoot July 4, 2014 at 8:49 am |

      MF, I tried to find what you were referring to in re: Sawaki, but found nothing recent of interest. Guess I still jones a little for the glory days of alt.zen. Not many places left to practice my self-righteous sneer.

      Was it about warmongering or a fresh scandal from a long-dead monk?

  23. Jinzang
    Jinzang July 4, 2014 at 6:11 am |

    “Jinzang, can you give a f’instance, on the Mahayana in Dogen’s teaching, something like a phrase from a Mahayana Sutra”

    For example, in the Fukan Zazengi, Dogen compares the body to a dewdrop or a flash of lightning, which is a reference to the last verse in the Diamond Cutter Sutra. Most Zen students will get the reference, because the sutra is well known in Zen. And I’m not saying Brad didn’t get this or would get this reference wrong. But there are other references in Dogen that they might miss.

  24. Alan Sailer
    Alan Sailer July 4, 2014 at 8:10 am |


    Thanks for giving an example.

    In this case, however, dewdrops and lightning are common metaphors for the transient nature of life. I have mostly read them in western literature, but it seems that eastern writing also used them.

    “Life is but a day:
    A fragile dewdrop on its perilious way
    From a tree’s summit”


    In any case, since I’m at heart a lazy bum, I’ll keep doing things backwards.


  25. Wibble
    Wibble July 4, 2014 at 8:56 am |

    Is Sweeping Zen still alive?
    Every time I go there it’s Peter Mathiessen’s obit ( RIP) and nothing since.
    Thing is with all these flippin’ ancient texts is that’s what they are.
    Flippin’ ancient.
    DW is the place to find ancient texts revered as ‘holy’ scripture and dudes whacking each other over the head with cut n pastes from their fave sutra or similar.
    Can’t see the point personally.
    Only book I’ve ever followed is the AtoZ road map book for Leicestershire.
    It helps me to get where I need to be anywhere around the county.


  26. Fred
    Fred July 4, 2014 at 2:24 pm |


    “After we develop the mind of practice through enlightenment, we will realize that the source of all these forms of mind is “no-mind.” “No-mind” is the true Buddhist mind undivided, beyond discrimination of opposites – and contains no analysis. To comprehend the true way we need “thinking without thinking”

  27. Fred
    Fred July 4, 2014 at 2:32 pm |

    Hearing and seeing the world in its true form without imposing a structure of
    thought, or a representational analysis, upon the light and sound waves reaching
    the brain.

    What Sutra is that from?

    1. minkfoot
      minkfoot July 4, 2014 at 6:00 pm |

      The Lanka? Just slowly going through Red Pine’s version, and I can’t think of any specific places, but it seems to have that taste.

  28. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote July 4, 2014 at 2:34 pm |

    Thanks for that, Jinzhang–

    As a lamp, a cataract, a star in space / an illusion, a dewdrop, a bubble / a dream, a cloud, a flash of lightening / view all created things like this.

    (Red Pine’s literal version of the last verse of the Diamond Sutra)

    Interesting that Terebess Asia Online has nine different translations of Fukanzazengi (one of the places Dogen refers to dewdrops and lightnening flashes), with some substantial differences in translation. I like Cleary’s:

    Who has the folly to look forward to what lasts but a moment? Add to this consideration the fact that the physical body is like a dewdrop on the grass, a lifetime is like a lightning flash: all of a sudden they are void, in an instant they are gone.

    “May those high-minded people who participate in this study and have long learned to feel an elephant by hand not be suspicious of a real dragon.
    Proceed energetically on the straightforward path of direct pointing, and honor people who have transcended learning and gone beyond effort. Join in the enlightenment of the Buddhas, inherit the state of mind of the Zen founders.

    Having long been thus, we should be thus. The treasury opens of itself, to be used at will.”

    Feeling around with the hand, yes. Hands and eyes throughout the body, there be dragons.

    Thread I was referring to is January, but the comments go into April and have material from folks who are still part of the Rinzai-ji community.

    Eshu Martin cites from a document last October:

    “I will remain as the spiritual head of the Rinzai-ji temples until the succeeding Zen Master can be confirmed, and I will remain as the Chief Abbot of Rinzai-ji and Abbot of the main Zen Training Centers, until the directives below are fully implemented.”

    checking that document through the link he provided, it appears that getting Sasaki to agree to this is a substantive step forward, as he gives up all teaching duties. However, the document also says this:

    To make things clear:
    1. I decline to appoint a dharma successor (Hossu) at this time.
    2. I decline to authorize or acknowledge anyone as qualified to give sanzen or teisho at this time.
    3. It is my deepest spiritual desire that my students and disciples remember and reflect on my teachings, earnestly practice the study of the Diamond Sutra, and receive guidance from my published teachings.
    4. I will remain as the spiritual head of the Rinzai-ji temples until the succeeding Zen Master can be confirmed, and I will remain as the Chief Abbot of Rinzai-ji and Abbot of the main Zen Training Centers, until the directives below are fully implemented.

    Doesn’t make clear whether the Board can appoint the succeeding Zen Master (instead of Sawaki); I think they will have to do that someday.

  29. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote July 4, 2014 at 2:39 pm |

    sorry, minkfoot, probably just old news (new to me).

    1. minkfoot
      minkfoot July 4, 2014 at 3:19 pm |

      You seem to have a fault in spelling Sasaki/Sawaki. I’m not as interested in Sasaki as I am in Sawaki.

      Speaking of which, the Buddhism Now site has this bit about the friendship between Sawaki and Rinzai monk Kozan:

      And just because I know you love reading Mahayana Sutras, there’s quite the image of a part of the Vimalakirti Sutra at the top of that blog. A lot of humor in that sutra, though at the expense of the Hearers. There’s even some spiritual slapstick between Shariputra and The Goddess.

  30. minkfoot
    minkfoot July 4, 2014 at 3:30 pm |

    It’s been a couple of decades since I read the aforementioned sutra, so I took a look around the InfraNebs and found a .pdf of a translation by Uma Thurman’s father. Right there on the second page, while the sutra is still being set up, this line jumped out at me:
    “They had attained the intuitive tolerance of the ultimate incomprehensibility of all things.”

    1. The Idiot
      The Idiot July 4, 2014 at 4:04 pm |

      But that makes no sense at all!

    2. minkfoot
      minkfoot July 4, 2014 at 4:14 pm |

      Hit it, Harry!

      “Back to back
      Belly to belly
      We don’t give a damn
      Cuz we dead already!”

  31. The Idiot
    The Idiot July 4, 2014 at 5:15 pm |

    “Heart to hearts
    Brain to brains
    All that’s left is work
    to relieve others pain.”

  32. Alan Sailer
    Alan Sailer July 4, 2014 at 6:05 pm |

    At the Mount baldy retreat last April Brad read from a booklet full of stuff about Sawaki. He was one of Nishijima’s teachers if I remember correctly.

    The stuff was lots of fun, Sawaki sounds like a guy with a real earthy approach to zen. I did a little searching when I got back but didn’t find much.

    I believe Brad got the information from the library at Tassajara.


    1. minkfoot
      minkfoot July 4, 2014 at 6:50 pm |

      The website for Antai-ji has some stuff:

  33. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote July 4, 2014 at 8:13 pm |

    Thanks, minkfoot, for the correction and the link. I was talking about Sasaki, you’re right. That was a great story.

    Didn’t see any image from a sutra at the top of that blog, though– just three guys in robes.

    More nonsense for The Idiot ‘n me:

    “An Ancient said: ‘Utterly kill a dead man, then you will see a live man. Bring a dead man fully to life, then you will see a dead man.'”

    (Yuanwu’s commentary, verse for the 41st case of the Blue Cliff Record)

    1. minkfoot
      minkfoot July 5, 2014 at 6:47 am |

      What I meant was the most recent post in the blog. Prolly down a few from the top now.

  34. The Idiot
    The Idiot July 5, 2014 at 2:24 pm |

    *(Ive got to get a better name)

    Minkfoot, loook! Flowers in Space

    1. minkfoot
      minkfoot July 5, 2014 at 4:59 pm |

      You know the three cravings, right? Craving for being, craving for nonbeing, craving for sensory stimulation?

      The video was pretty cool . . . if you’re into that sort of thing.

      1. The Idiot
        The Idiot July 5, 2014 at 5:37 pm |

        Yes absolutely it is a sensory feast, you’re right. I was drawn to the imagery of particle-ized forms spontaneously appearing in space, which for some reason reminds me of stuff I’ve read about in Buddhist texts. Stream entry, that sort of thing. Honestly though I’m increasingly on a karma yoga bent these days. Work has that focus. I haven’t sat in a long time so I’m a real tourist positing about this. Craving for cool thoughts, thats for sure :O)

        1. minkfoot
          minkfoot July 6, 2014 at 10:40 am |

          Dear The Idiot –

          Yes, a thousand points of light!

          But do you really go in for the quantal mode of creation, at the expense of the continuum?

          Vaguely related is the account of creation in a scripture soon to be written from a religion yet to be named. First, God created the appearances of all things. About to create the things themselves, She realized that reality needed no more than the appearances. So, saving Herself much time and effort, She happily went on to other matters.

          That’s why you find no self-being when you look under the hood, and that’s the true meaning of the false quote from the Lanka:
          Things are not as they appear,
          Nor are they otherwise.

      2. minkfoot
        minkfoot July 6, 2014 at 6:06 am |

        Then again, the tantric principle of transcending craving by thoroughly satiating it has some merit.

        1. Mumbles
          Mumbles July 6, 2014 at 5:02 pm |

          Here! Here!!

    1. minkfoot
      minkfoot July 5, 2014 at 4:56 pm |

      Wish I had a hi-def version of the pix. Jolly crowd at V.’s house, even though they had 94,000,000 crashers from another universe.

  35. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote July 5, 2014 at 2:36 pm |

    “In 2009, Sparklehorse teamed up with Danger Mouse and David Lynch in the project Dark Night of the Soul.”

    Thanks, Mumster!

  36. The Grand Canyon
    The Grand Canyon July 5, 2014 at 2:48 pm |

    “There’s a seeker born every minute.” – The Firesign Theater

    1. Fred
      Fred July 5, 2014 at 4:54 pm |

      “We’re All Bozos On This Bus.” – The Firesign Theatre

    2. minkfoot
      minkfoot July 5, 2014 at 5:05 pm |

      “I was in the Last Chant Saloon, and a bunch of Theosophists were in the back raising the Devil. They had him about ten feet off the floor. I could see by his red horn and muddy hooves that he was up to no good, and I said “Sam Pacoo, there ain’t enough room in this life cycle for both of us!” Why that devil up and challenged me to a game of Ten Card Tarot–Pentacles wild. I seen him slip a high Priestess from the bottom of the deck…”

  37. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote July 5, 2014 at 8:42 pm |

    More great music I never heard before, thanks, Fred!

    Where I’m at tonight 3:30

  38. Mumbles
    Mumbles July 5, 2014 at 8:56 pm |

    Really Mark? Beck!!??

    You took me back with Romeo Void, I had that very ep, it was one of my nitrous oxide go-to’s back when…

  39. Proulx Michel
    Proulx Michel July 6, 2014 at 2:37 am |

    Jinzang, I am a bit intrigued by your Mahayana Philosophy thing. I thought that Mahayana was a general movement, pulling out from the formalism of the Old School (now more or less represented by Theravada), but that got divided between the Dharmaguptaka and Mulasarvastivada and some.
    Then I would have like at least one example of where you think Brad got it wrong in SD&SU because of that thing.

  40. The Idiot
    The Idiot July 6, 2014 at 6:35 am |
  41. Jinzang
    Jinzang July 6, 2014 at 4:55 pm |

    Mahayana Philosophy is a body of Buddhist teaching, where some major ideas are emptiness, mind only, buddha nature, and the stages of the bodhisattva’s path. Zen and pretty much all of Chinese and Japanese Buddhism are part of the Mahayana. Educated monks like Dogen were very familiar with it.

    There are several places where Brad misreads Dogen. The one I found tonight was a trivial mistake, but typical. On page 247 he takes Dogen’s phrase “The Triple World is just mind” and explains the Triple World as past, present, and future. Which is what one would likely assume when hearing the phrase, but in Buddhist philosophy it refers to the world of desire (our world), the world of pure form (the devas), and the formless world (beings without form, just pure consciousness.) Admittedly, this is not a Mahayana doctine, it is a term shared among all the Buddhist schools.

  42. Mumbles
    Mumbles July 6, 2014 at 5:30 pm |

    “I haven’t sat in a long time…” -The Idiot

    Yesterday, a day or so after finally thoroughly cleaning up the area around my altar space, which looks like some kind of Himalayan syncretic Shiva worshipping /Buddhist yogi’s nightmare/heaven, what with its ritual daggers (purba activated in rice), drums, deer antlers, animal skins, rudra chakra beads, poisons, lingams, snake skins, incenses, depictions of various protector beings, ritual bells, vajra, precious jewels, minerals, alchemical concoctions, brass vessel full of spirit seals and veve, grimoires, flutes, rattles, singing bowls, teeth, candles, yantras, flasks, vases, flowers, offerings, baskets, stupa, skull cup, other stuff and frankly, things I can’t talk about…anyway, after finally cleaning up a small puppy puddle left as an offering no doubt by our littlest canine family member, for the first time in almost a year I decided to sit on zafu and zabuton and formally “meditate.”

    Contemplating first the large blue black statue of Samantrabhadra w/the red philosophic Stone of the Wise in his open palm sitting facing me atop a smoked bamboo table, slowly, my gaze rose upward at the large painting of Lord Shiva. My eyes closed and I fell into the unfathomable depths of my-n0-self, into great broiling masses of blackness toward the primordial hum of the nervous system OMmmmmm.

    Then outside somebody’s car horn started up and honked for 1/2 an hour.

    At first I used noting practice to return full depth charge, then baled to go play with the dogs.

  43. Fred
    Fred July 6, 2014 at 5:57 pm |

    the primordial hum of a machine within a machine where the illusion of self is

    where is this triple world

  44. Mumbles
    Mumbles July 6, 2014 at 6:50 pm |


  45. Mark Foote
    Mark Foote July 6, 2014 at 10:42 pm |

    Blue Cliff Record, 37th Case:

    “P’an Shan imparted the words which said, ‘There is nothing in the triple world; where can mind be found?'”

    Where, indeed.

    “Have you not seen how the Third Patriarch said, ‘Grasp it, and you lose balance and surely enter a false path. Let go naturally, there is neither going nor abiding in essence.’ … There is nothing in the Triple World, where can mind be found? If you make an intellectual interpretation, you will just die at his words…”

    (from the commentary to the case)

    “The Triple World is just Mind”– he tried to kill me!

    Let’s Part, more new music to Mark (thanks Id)!

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