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Mark Foote

Member Since 23 Sep 2009
Offline Last Active Yesterday, 08:29 PM

Posts I've Made

In Topic: Dogen's Shobogenzo

Yesterday, 08:26 PM

Did you see the article from Carl Bielefeldt at Stanford regarding the translation of Shobogenzo he and Griff Foulk are working on?


Something from that:


“From the perspective of the Sōtō organization, the answer is probably largely institutional: the organization is now sponsoring an authorized edition of the Shōbōgenzō in Japanese. It would also like to have an authorized edition in English. Since Dōgen is the founder of Sōtō, and his Shōbōgenzō is the most important scripture of the school, this felt need for an official version is easy to understand. But so what? What does this mean for us as readers of the Shōbōgenzō? After all, it’s not as if we’re all going to stop reading the other translations and adopt the church version as our bible. Just because it’s been authorized in Tokyo doesn’t mean it’s better than what we’ve got already.


Frankly, speaking as one of the translators, I don’t think our translations will be better than the best of what we’ve got already. Of course, it’s not so easy to say what makes a “better” translation. OK, we want to it to be accurate. But what does that mean? True to the letter of the original? True to the meaning? True to the spirit? True to Dōgen’s intention in writing it? True to the varied Sōtō traditions of interpretation? This is something we could talk about later. But for now, if by “better” we mean the translation that we put by our bedside or stuff in our back pack when we go camping, I don’t think I’d choose ours. If ours are going to be better in any way, they’ll be better in some other way than this, good for something else besides bedtime reading.”


That’s from here:



Carl goes on to give an example of their translation of "Ocean Seal Samadhi", with what he feels are the necessary references in order to understand the material Dogen is drawing on:


"Samādhi is the actual present; it is a saying. It is “the night” when “the hand gropes for the pillow behind.”(1) The groping for a pillow like this of “the hand groping for the pillow behind” in the night is not merely “hundreds of millions of tens of thousands of kalpas”; it is “in the ocean, I always preached only the Lotus Sūtra of the Wondrous Dharma.”(2) Because “they don’t state, ‘I arise,’” “I am in the ocean.”(3) The former face is the “I always preached” of “the slightest motion of a single wave, and ten thousand waves follow”; the latter face is the Lotus Sūtra of the Wondrous Dharma of “the slightest motion of ten thousand waves, and a single wave follows.”(4) Whether we wind up or let out “a line of a thousand feet” or ten thousand feet, what we regret is that it “goes straight down.” The former face and latter face here are “I am on the face of the ocean.” They are like saying “the former head” and “the latter head.” The former head and the latter head are “putting a head on top on your head.”(5)"
1. Allusion to a dialogue between Yunyan Tansheng (780?-841) and fellow disciple Daowu Yuanzhi (769-835) regarding the Bodhisattva Avalokiteśvara, who in one form is represented as having a thousand arms with an eye in the palm of each hand. “Yunyan asked Daowu, ‘How does the bodhisattva of great compassion use so many hands and eyes?’ Wu said, ‘Like a person searching behind him for his pillow in the night.’”
2. Allusion to two passages from the Lotus Sutra: (a) From the Sadāparibhūta chapter, in which the Buddha is emphasizing the rare opportunity to encounter the teaching of the sūtra: “After hundreds of millions of tens of thousands of kalpas, after an inconceivable period, they [the bodhisattvas] can hear this Lotus Sūtra. After hundreds of millions of tens of thousands of kalpas, after an inconceivable period, the buddhas, the bhagavats, preach this sūtra.” (From the Devadatta chapter, in which the Bodhisattva Mañjuśrī is explaining how he taught the sūtra in the realm of the nāgas: “In the ocean, I always preached only the Lotus Sūtra of the Wondrous Dharma.”
3. Allusion to a passage in the Vimalakīrti-sūtra, in which Vimalakīrti explains how the sick bodhisattva should view his body: “It is just the dharmas that combine to form this body. When it arises, it is simply the dharmas arising; when it ceases, it is simply the dharmas ceasing. When these dharmas arise, [the bodhisattva] does not state, ‘I arise’; when these dharmas cease, he does not state, ‘I cease.’”
4. Dōgen is here borrowing lines from a poem by the Tang-dynasty master Chuanzi (“the boatman”) Decheng (dates unknown): “A line of a thousand feet goes straight down / The slightest motion of a single wave, and ten thousand waves follow / The evening is still, the water cold; the fish aren’t feeding / I come home with a fully empty boat, loaded with moonlight.”
5. The awkward translations “former face,” “latter face,” and “former head,” “latter head” struggle to preserve the play here on the colloquiual Chinese suffixes mien and tou. Though they would ordinarily function simply as nominalizers, Dōgen uses their primary semantic senses to move from former and latter “faces” to the “face” (i.e., surface) of the ocean, then from former and latter “heads” to the common Zen expression “putting a head on top of your head” (i.e., seeking that which one already has).


Doesn't seem like a lot of material has appeared on the Stanford project in the last half-decade.  I could be wrong.  I know they have to get permission from Sotoshu to post it.

In Topic: Haiku Chain

Yesterday, 08:03 PM

like a one-man band
serenading our bumettes
"...we have wandered far..."


we have wandered far

only to return again

to where we are now

In Topic: What are you reading right now?

23 August 2014 - 07:38 PM

True Tales of the Weird, on the Project Gutenberg site linked by Spotless above.


Accounts from the late 1800's, very well written, not fiction.

In Topic: Haiku Chain

23 August 2014 - 06:57 PM

Plop! Aunt Judy's blouse!!!
Use caution with condiments!
Time to do laundry.


time to do laundry

sweep and mop these old wood floors

but really, just here

In Topic: What are you reading right now?

22 August 2014 - 09:29 PM

I think I've stumbled into the adult literature class, whilst I myself am reading:


Merle's Door, by Ted Kerasote (it's down at the bottom of this page)


(a follow up to Rin Tin Tin, by Susan Orlean)