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Dogen's Manuals of Zen Meditation

Carl Bielefeldt

Publication Year: 1990

Zen Buddhism is perhaps best known for its emphasis on meditation, and probably no figure in the history of Zen is more closely associated with meditation practice than the thirteenth-century Japanese master Dogen, founder of the Soto school. This study examines the historical and religious character of the practice as it is described in Dogen's own meditation texts, introducing new materials and original perspectives on one of the most influential spiritual traditions of East Asian civilization.

The Soto version of Zen meditation is known as "just sitting," a practice in which, through the cultivation of the subtle state of "nonthinking," the meditator is said to be brought into perfect accord with the higher consciousness of the "Buddha mind" inherent in all beings. This study examines the historical and religious character of the practice as it is described in Dogen's own meditation texts, introducing new materials and original perspectives on one of the most influential spiritual traditions of East Asian civilization.

Published by: University of California Press

Title Page, Copyright, Dedication

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pp. 2-5

Contents

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pp. v-vi

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Acknowledgments

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pp. vii-9

I should like to thank the Japan Foundation and the Social Science Research Council for grants in support of the initial research for this work; the Center for Japanese Studies, University of California, Berkeley, and the Center for Research in International Studies, Stanford University, for support...

Abbreviations and Conventions

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pp. ix-x

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Introduction

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pp. 1-12

The Zen school is the Meditation school, and the character of Zen can be traced in the tradition of its meditation teaching. Historians have shown us that the origins of the school in China are considerably later and more complicated than the traditional account of the lineage of Bodhidharma...

Part I: Texts

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pp. 13-25

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1. The Earliest Manual and the Origins of Dōgen's Zen

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pp. 15-34

According to traditional histories, Japanese Soto Zen began in 1227. On this date the young Dogen, fresh from his enlightenment on Mt. T'ien-t'ung, returned to his native soil. Such was the strength of his new conviction and the urgency of his new mission that, almost immediately upon disembarking,...

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2. The Vulgate Manual and the Development of Dōgen's Zen

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pp. 35-52

Despite its historical interest and the attention it has attracted from contemporary scholars, the Tenpuku text of the Fukan zazen gi seems to have had no impact on the development of the Soto school. Until its rediscovery in this century, it apparently remained unstudied by the Soto masters; in...

Part II: Sources

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pp. 53-65

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3. Ch'ang-lu Tsung-tse and the New Meditation Literature

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pp. 55-77

In the preceding chapters I have sketched some of the historical setting for Dogen's meditation teachings. Within such a setting the role of his Chinese master—and, indeed, of his Chinese experience in general—in the formation of these teachings becomes rather less clear than is usually maintained...

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4. The Sudden Practice and the Ch'an Meditation Discourse

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pp. 78-106

In the preceding chapter I have suggested that, whatever the supposed precedents for the Tso-ch'an i, Tsung-tse's manual is best understood as a new kind of Buddhist text, created in a new religious environment and intended for a new audience. Despite what Dogen and the Zen tradition...

Part III: Teachings

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pp. 107-119

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5. The Essential Art of Meditation and the Authentic Tradition of Enlightenment

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pp. 109-132

The Fukan zazen gi is by no means merely a practical manual on the techniques of contemplation: it is also—and perhaps more conspicuously—a theological statement of the Zen approach to Buddhism and a literary appreciation of Zen training. The text falls into three fairly distinct and...

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6. Nonthinking and the Practice of the Seated Buddha

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pp. 133-160

If the autograph manuscript of the Fukan zazen gi already displays some of the characteristic flavor of Dogen's Zen, the vulgate text, to which I want to turn in this chapter, is vintage Dogen. Written a decade or more after the original, Tenpuku version, it is a more mature expression of his writing....

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Conclusion

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pp. 161-170

In my discussion of the Fukan zazen giI have pointed to two general themes in Dogen's approach to the teaching of meditation that seem to distinguish his style from that of Tsung-tse: like many in the Ch'an tradition, he is careful always to bind his practice with its theory and present it as an...

Documents

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pp. 171-183

Document 1. "On the Origin of the 'Principles of Seated Meditation'" ("Fukan zazen gi senjutsu yurai")

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pp. 173-184

Documents 2 : A—E. "Principles of Seated Meditation": A Comparative Translation of Dōgen's Meditation Manuals

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pp. 174-187

Document 3. "Lancet of Seated Meditation"

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pp. 188-205

Glossary of Chinese and Japanese Names and Terms

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pp. 207-228

Works Cited

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pp. 229-244

Index

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pp. 245-259

Production Notes, Sponsor

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pp. 260-262


E-ISBN-13: 9780520909786
Print-ISBN-13: 9780520068353

Page Count: 267
Publication Year: 1990