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Book Review, The Essential Dogen: Writings of the Great Zen Master, by Kazuaki Tanahashi and Peter Levitt

Kazuaki Tanahashi and Peter Levitt, ed. The Essential Dōgen: Writings of the Great Zen Master. Boulder: Shambhala Publications, 2013. Available as paperback, Kindle edition and audiobook.
In Zen, experience is more valued than intellectual understanding. And it is an unusually direct experience of the teachings of the 13th century grand master of Japanese Zen that the Essential Dōgen offers us. This collection is packed with many of Dōgen’s most famous passages, quotes and poems. The translations and commentary offer deep insights into Dōgen’s thinking whilst matching the poetic style of the original as good as possible in the English language.

The book will be welcomed by those who want to read Dōgen but who are not (yet) ready to tackle the full Shobogenzo which is also five times more expensive. It will also be of interest to anybody who is worried about increasing levels of fear and aggression in 21st century Western societies. In the excellent introduction A Walk with Dōgen into Ou…