The Heart of Dōgen's Shōbōgenzō

Translated by Norman Waddell & Masao Abe

Subjects: Buddhism
Paperback : 9780791452424, 132 pages, January 2002
Hardcover : 9780791452417, 132 pages, January 2002

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Table of contents


Translator's Introduction

1. Fukanzazengi
(Universal Promotion of the Principles of Zazen)

2. Bendowa
(Negotiating the Way)

3. Ikka Myoju
(One Bright Pearl)

4. Genjokoan
(Manifesting Suchness)

5. Uji

6. Bussho

7. Sammai-O-Zammai
(The King of Samadhis Samadhi)

8. Shoji
(Birth and Death)

9. Zazengi
(The Principles of Zazen)



Two of Dōgen's most esteemed translators provide key chapters from his Zen masterpiece, the Shōbōgenzō, in English with annotations to guide the reader.


The Heart of Dōgen's Shōbōgenzō provides exhaustively annotated translations of the difficult core essays of Shōbōgenzō, the masterwork of Japanese Zen master Dōgen Kigen, the founder of Sōtō Zen. This book is centered around those essays that generations have regarded as containing the essence of Dōgen's teaching. These translations, revised from those that first appeared in the 1970s, clarify and enrich the understanding of Dōgen's religious thought and his basic ideas about Zen practice and doctrine. Dōgen's uncommon intellectual gifts, combined with a profound religious attainment and an extraordinary ability to articulate it, make Shōbōgenzō unique even in the vast literature the Zen school has produced over the centuries, securing it a special place in the history of world religious literature.

Norman Waddell is Professor in the Department of International Studies at Otani University in Kyoto, Japan. Masao Abe is Professor Emeritus at Nara University of Japan, and has taught Buddhism and Japanese philosophy at Columbia University, University of Chicago, Princeton University, Claremont Graduate School, University of Hawaii, and Haverford College, among others. He is the author of A Study of Dōgen: His Philosophy and Religion, also published by SUNY Press.


"These translations, originally published in The Eastern Buddhist journal more than twenty years ago, are the most accurate and complete renderings available. Many people have been eagerly waiting for years for these pieces to appear in a single, handy book." — Steven Heine, editor of A Study of Dogen: His Philosophy and Religion