Plum Blossoms Open Early Spring

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Norman reviews Kazuaki Tanahashi's new translation of Dogen’s Shobo Genzo, Treasury of the True Dharma Eye: Zen Master Dogen’s Shobo Genzo (Shambhala Publications, 2011):

Shambhala’s publication of Kazuaki Tanahashi’s two volume translation of the complete text of Eihei Dogen’s Shobogenzo marks a watershed moment for Western Buddhism. Shobogenzo has been legendary for centuries. Written in the 13th century, it was at first known only to adepts and disciples, and eventually all but lost. In the 17th century the text was unearthed, edited, and published as the basis for a radical reformation of Soto Zen. In the 20th century, secular Japanese philosophers touted it as their answer to the great philosophies of the Occident. In the West, Shobogenzo stands almost alone among Buddhist writings as a work that philosophers and intellectuals with or without Buddhist affiliations take seriously.…

With all this, it is no surprise that Dogen’s major work has been translated many times into English.… With the Tanahashi version, it appears we now have an edition that will receive the sort of attention this great work deserves.

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Norman Fischer, “Plum Blossoms Open Early Spring," Tricycle: The Buddhist Review (April 2, 2011).