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Three Philosophies And One Reality & Nhk Radio Talks

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  • Posted March 4, 2012

    An abbreviated version of 'To Meet the Real Dragon'

    This is a somewhat abbreviated version of Mr. Nishijima’s longer book, ‘To Meet the Real Dragon’, covering many of the same ideas and philosophy. ‘Three Philosophies…’ is probably better suited to an individual just learning about Zen and zazen since it cuts to the core of Dogen’s philosophy and his ‘Shobogenzo’ (of which Mr. Nishijima is an expert). On the other hand, readers may finish ‘Four Philosophies…’ with more questions and wanting more depth in which case, ‘To Meet the Real Dragon’ is strongly recommended. Both books argue that Buddhism emphasizes action over philosophy, and the best type of action one can take to understand how things really are is zazen. Unfortunately, no explanation is given in ‘Four Philosophies…’ for how to actually do zazen (although a very detailed presentation is contained in ‘To Meet the Real Dragon’). What was most interesting to me was Mr. Nishijima’s interpretation of the Four Noble Truths, which is quite non-traditional but also quite logical. Persons interested in this aspect of the dharma should give this book a read; it’s only a hundred pages long (plus a few) so is not a big investment of time. And his three philosophy approach to the Four Noble Truths is quite intriguing.

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