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  • Dōgen Zenji no shisō-teki kenkyū 道元禅師の思想的研究 (Studies in Dōgen Zenji’s thought) by Tsunoda Tairyū 角田泰隆
  • Eitan Bolokan (bio)
Dōgen Zenji no shisō-teki kenkyū 道元禅師の思想的研究 (Studies in Dōgen Zenji’s thought). By Tsunoda Tairyū 角田泰隆. Tokyo: Shunjūsha, 2015. Pp. 672. 25000 ¥, isbn 978-4-393-11317-2.

Tsunoda Tairyū (b. 1957) of Komazawa University is one of the foremost authorities on shūgaku 宗学, or “Sōtō theology,” in Japanese academia, and a leading philologist of Dōgen’s writings, in particular the Shōbōgenzō 正法眼蔵 (Treasury of the True Dharma Eye). Tsunoda’s ongoing investigation of Dōgen’s philosophy culminated in the year 2015 when his extensive study Dōgen Zenji no shisō-teki kenkyū 道元禅師の思想的研究 (Studies in Dōgen Zenji’s thought) was published by Shunjūsha.

Tsunoda opens by introducing the fundamental methodologies that constitute Sōtō theological scholarship. The first is sankyū 参究, or scholarship based on one’s faith in the tradition. With sankyū, Tsunoda argues, the standpoint of faith renders scholarship as more of a subjective rather than a critical endeavor (p. 5). The second methodological approach is kenkyū 研究, or scientific research. This point of view, Tsunoda proposes, is inherently more objective than the sankyū method, and tends to depart from sectarian dispositions (pp. 5–6). Nonetheless, these two paradigms are constantly in dialogue, and he sees both as representing the vital efforts of the Sōtō school in continuously interpreting the philosophical aspects of Dōgen’s Zen (pp. 6–7) and making them relevant down through the generations.

To illustrate these aspects within the history of Sōtō hermeneutics, Tsunoda presents a detailed review of the various sectarian efforts and their successful integration with modern scholastic approaches. He goes on to define sankyū in terms of dentō-shūgaku 伝統宗学 or “traditional theology,” and kenkyū as modern scientific research, proposing that the integration between these two methodologies began toward the end of the Edo period (1603–1868), ultimately continuing to this day. He singles out the works of Etō Sokuō 衞藤即應 (1888–1958) as a clear example of this merger, and identifies his own methodology as continuing this fruitful, though challenging, admixture of sankyū and kenkyū — of faith questioned by critical inspection (pp. 21–22).

Yet another important issue that arises in the introduction is the historical and cultural prism applied to the study of Dōgen. Here, Tsunoda adopts a nontraditional [End Page 274] approach, arguing that the place of Dōgen’s philosophy within the history of Buddhism should be examined through looking into Dōgen’s own understanding of the evolution of the Dharma — and his place within it. Indeed, the manner in which this subjective stance is reflected can be found in Dōgen’s own writings and sermons. Tsunoda claims that clarifying Dōgen’s own point of view regarding his place within the Dharma is no less crucial than providing an analysis of the historical and cultural context of his life (“Dōgen Zenji ga toraeta bukkyōshi no kaimei mo jūyō de aru” 道-元禅師が捉えた仏教史の解明も重要である-—-p. 50). While such analysis is indeed essential, Tsunoda chooses to begin with Dōgen the person before moving on to providing “external” context (pp. 23–24).

The remaining sections of the introduction consist of an analysis of the Shōbōgenzō collection. Tsunoda presents a close inspection of the different editorial resolutions in the 75-fascicle, 60-fascicle, 12-fascicle, and 28-fascicle versions, examining the distinct Shōbōgenzō editions compiled during the Edo period. Among these are the 89-fascicle edition compiled by Manzan Dōhaku 卍山道白 (1636–1715), and the 95-fascicle edition compiled by Eiheiji’s thirty-fifth abbot Hanjō Kōzen 版橈晃全 (1627–1693), which was established as the “Head-Temple Edition” by the fiftieth abbot Gentō Sokuchū 玄透即中 (1729–1807) (pp. 51–126).

The crux of Tsunoda’s study begins in a section titled “The Core of Dōgen’s Zen” (Dōgen Zen no kakushin 道元禅の核心). Here, he discusses Dōgen’s “tremendous doubt” (dai-gimon 大疑問) as a young student of the Japanese Tendai School, and how it was pacified during his stay in China. Tsunoda claims that while Dōgen’s doubt caused him to...


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