Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Whole Worlds Are There

The first boxed set of books I remember getting excited about was when I was six or seven, and I went to Harrods on our yearly trip to London, armed with a book token and the more formidable of my grandmothers, and came away with the complete Narnia series. There have of course been others since then, though none spring to mind so readily. Now, two come into my life almost simultaneously, as previously mentioned. In the red corner, weighing in at 4lbs 2oz, and running to something like 1010 pages, the 'Gyoji Kihan', or the 'Standard Observances of the Soto Zen School'. In the blue corner, at 5lbs 4oz, and 1270 pages, more or less, the 'Shobogenzo' or the 'Treasury of the True Dharma Eye'. Now, as we mentioned yesterday, we are dwelling in non-separation, but even in the more conventional realms, these two works really do spring from the same source - one being Dogen's own words, and the other the ceremonial traditions that sprang from his lineage -although they occupy somewhat different places in the literary and religious spectrum, one being entirely, even painstakingly practical, while the other is eminently philosophical in entirely its own way. They are definitely complementary, and not just in their tasteful brown colour schemes; armed with just these two works, you could construct your own zen establishment, and, provided that you penetrated the skin, flesh, bones and marrow of the 'Shobogenzo', expound the true dharma therein. Of course as an itinerant monk, these would be somewhat of a burden, though these days  - and I have done this myself - you can fit the 'Gyoji Kihan' on a thumbdrive, and you would still have room left for the 'Shobogenzo' too, though this I have yet to see as a pdf, alas.


Anonymous said...

Pdf Nishijima/Cross offered under the Creative Commons license (includes permission to print) here:

kevin said...

This one doesn't have quite the pedigree of the Nishijima/Cross translation, but I've been making my way through it, printing a couple chapters at a time. If nothing else, the editor's preface is a great read.

I'll have to check out the above though for comparison.

Thanks for all the posts since I last thanked you!

Sandy's witterings said...

I've been meaning to pop into Waterstons and see what they've got on Zen. I can squash my Dhammapada in a pocket, which is a good book buying criteria for someone who spends a long time on buses and trains, so these volumes are definately out - probably to advanced for my needs and probably my purse too.

Shundo said...

Thanks for these tips