Sounds of Valley Streams is a study of Zen Buddhist enlightenment in nine chapters of Shōbōgenzō Dōgen. Francis H. Cook has translated the nine chapters and has preceded them with four chapters of discussion. These essays show Dōgen bringing his religious intensity, philosophical depth, and poetic power to bear on a number of different facets of enlightenment. Using striking images and poetical expressions such as "one bright pearl," "dragon song," "beyond Buddha," and "a painting of a rice cake,"Dōgen explores such fundamental matters as the relationship between enlightenment and compassion, the dynamic nature of the enlightened life, the need to go beyond enlightenment, the nature of illusion and enlighten-ment, and what it is like to live the awakened life.
The centerpiece of the translation is Genjōkōan ("Manifesting Absolute Reality"). It is a manifesto of the Zen life in which Dōgen proclaims the religious insight that stands at the core of everything he wrote subsequently. Cook's translation of Genjōkōan is as accurate as possible, faithful to the original, and readable.
Francis H. Cook is Associate Professor at the University of California, Riverside.