Japan’s Original Zen Teacher
An essential introduction to the life, writings, and legacy of one of Japan's most prolific Buddhist masters.
The founder of the Soto school of Zen in Japan, Eihei Dogen (1200–1253) is one of the most influential Buddhist teachers of all time. Although Dogen’s writings have reached wide prominence among contemporary Buddhists and philosophers, there is much that remains enigmatic about his life and writings. In Dogen: Japan’s Original Zen Teacher, respected Dogen scholar and translator Steven Heine offers a nuanced portrait of the master’s historical context, life, and work, paying special attention to issues such as:
• The nature of the “great doubt” that motivated Dogen’s religious quest
• The sociopolitical turmoil of Kamakura Japan that led to dynamic innovations in medieval Japanese Buddhism
• The challenges and transformations Dogen experienced during his pivotal time in China
• Key inflection points and unresolved questions regarding Dogen’s teaching career in Japan
• Ongoing controversies in the scholarly interpretations of Dogen’s biography and teachings
Synthesizing a lifetime of research and reflection into an accessible narrative, this new addition to the Lives of the Masters series illuminates thought-provoking perspectives on Dogen’s character and teachings, as well as his relevance to contemporary practitioners.