Visions of Awakening Space and Time: Dogen and the Lotus Sutra [NOOK Book]

Overview

As a religion concerned with universal liberation, Zen grew out of a Buddhist worldview very different from the currently prevalent scientific materialism. Indeed, says Taigen Dan Leighton, Zen cannot be fully understood outside of a worldview that sees reality itself as a vital, dynamic agent of awareness and healing. In this book, Leighton explicates that worldview through the writings of the Zen master Eihei Dogen (1200-1253), considered the founder of the Japanese Soto Zen ...
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Visions of Awakening Space and Time: Dogen and the Lotus Sutra

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Overview

As a religion concerned with universal liberation, Zen grew out of a Buddhist worldview very different from the currently prevalent scientific materialism. Indeed, says Taigen Dan Leighton, Zen cannot be fully understood outside of a worldview that sees reality itself as a vital, dynamic agent of awareness and healing. In this book, Leighton explicates that worldview through the writings of the Zen master Eihei Dogen (1200-1253), considered the founder of the Japanese Soto Zen tradition, which currently enjoys increasing popularity in the West.
The Lotus Sutra, arguably the most important Buddhist scripture in East Asia, contains a famous story about bodhisattvas (enlightening beings) who emerge from under the earth to preserve and expound the Lotus teaching in the distant future. The story reveals that the Buddha only appears to pass away, but actually has been practicing, and will continue to do so, over an inconceivably long life span.
Leighton traces commentaries on the Lotus Sutra from a range of key East Asian Buddhist thinkers, including Daosheng, Zhiyi, Zhanran, Saigyo, Myoe, Nichiren, Hakuin, and Ryokan. But his main focus is Eihei Dogen, the 13th century Japanese Soto Zen founder who imported Zen from China, and whose profuse, provocative, and poetic writings are important to the modern expansion of Buddhism to the West.
Dogen's use of this sutra expresses the critical role of Mahayana vision and imagination as the context of Zen teaching, and his interpretations of this story furthermore reveal his dynamic worldview of the earth, space, and time themselves as vital agents of spiritual awakening.
Leighton argues that Dogen uses the images and metaphors in this story to express his own religious worldview, in which earth, space, and time are lively agents in the bodhisattva project. Broader awareness of Dogen's worldview and its implications, says Leighton, can illuminate the possibilities for contemporary approaches to primary Mahayana concepts and practices.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780199886470
  • Publisher: Oxford University Press
  • Publication date: 5/11/2007
  • Sold by: Barnes & Noble
  • Format: eBook
  • File size: 3 MB

Meet the Author

Taigen Dan Leighton is an Adjunct Professor at the Graduate Theological Union, Institute of Buddhist Studies and author of Faces of Compassion: Classic Bodhisattva Archetypes and Their Modern Expression. He is primary co-translator and editor for several Zen translations, including D=ogen's Extensive Record and Cultivating the Empty Field. He is also a S=ot=o Zen priest and Dharma heir.

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Table of Contents

I. The Pivotal Lotus Story and Dogen's Worldview II. Hermeneutics and Discourse Styles in Study of the Lotus Sutra and Dogen III. Selected East Asian Interpretations of the Story IV. Dogen's Interpretations of this Lotus Sutra Story V. Dogen's View of Earth, Space, and Time Seen in Mahayana Context Afterword: Implications of Dogen's Mahayana Worldview Endnotes Bibliography

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 22, 2013

    The Lotus Sutra and the Zen worldview

    You've heard of the Lotus Sutra. Maybe you've tried to read it. Mystical stories. Polemics against other teachings. Rejoicing that the Buddha is about to preach the Lotus Sutra. Does he ever go ahead and do it? What do people get out of this scripture? Who finds it relevant? Dogen, the greatest figure in Japanese Zen, for one. Leighton explains. The whole worldview of Zen turns out to reflect this lotus.

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