The Philosophy of Zen Master Dōgen: Egoless Perspectivism

Bret W. Davis

in The Oxford Handbook of World Philosophy

Published in print May 2011 | ISBN: 9780195328998
Published online September 2011 | | DOI:

Series: Oxford Handbooks

The Philosophy of Zen Master Dōgen: Egoless Perspectivism

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Dōgen Kigen (1200–1253), founder of the Sōtō school of Zen Buddhism, is undoubtedly one of the most original and profound thinkers in Japanese history. This article focuses on Dōgen's Genjōkōan, which can be translated as “The Presencing of Truth.” This key text for understanding Dōgen's thought is the core fascicle of his major work, Shōbōgenzō (Treasury of the True Dharma Eye). It is the “treasury of the true Dharma eye” that Śākyamuni Buddha (ca. 500 bce) is said to have transmitted to his successor, Mahākāshyapa, by silently holding up a flower. This event is held to mark the beginning of the Zen tradition, which is characterized by Bodhidharma (ca. 500 ce) as “a special transmission outside the scriptures; not depending on words and letters; directly pointing to the human mind; seeing into one's nature and becoming a Buddha”.

Keywords: Japanese philosophy; Dōgen Kigen; Bodhidharma; Zen Buddhism; Genjōkōan

Article.  5953 words. 

Subjects: Philosophy ; Non-Western Philosophy

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