Gendo Roshi‘s talk on Eihei Dogen Zenji’s essay “Uji” or “The Time-Being” appears below.
“Uji,” composed in 1240, is one fascicle of master Dogen’s extended work, The Kana Shobogenzo or Treasury of the True Dharma Eye. You may read a translation of “Uji” here.
Gendo Roshi encourages the submission of comments here or on Great Wave’s YouTube channel.
West Shore Community College has announced that Gendo Sensei will read from his new book, The Driftwood Shrine: Discovering Zen in American Poetry, at 2:30 p.m., Wednesday, October 12, in the Administrative and Conference Building Café of West Shore Community College, in Scottville, Michigan.
All members and friends of the Great Wave Zen Sangha are cordially invited to attend.
Gendo Sensei is a college professor of writing and literature with numerous publications of poetry and essays. “My life is characterized by some seemingly long, intertwined vines of contrasting, if not competing, interests and activities. These include my enduring love of writing of all kinds, but especially of poetry; my firm commitment to the transformational power of education; the curiously creative and powerful ability of contemporary technology to stimulate and amplify our teaching and learning; and my now 30-year commitment to Zen practice,” says Sensei.
Gendo Sensei’s reading will be followed by a question and answer session. Copies of the book will be available for those who would like to purchase a signed copy. The book may also be purchased at most online retailers and in Ludington bookstores. For more information and to read excerpts from the book, please see The Driftwood Shrine blog.
Sumeru Books Press Release for The Driftwood Shrine
Representing a new approach to the West’s evolving understanding of Buddhism, The Driftwood Shrine: Discovering Zen in American Poetry is the first collection of Zen teachings to be based on the poems of great American writers. In reassuring, forthright, and often surprising language, Gendo Sensei explains how Emily Dickinson, William Carlos Williams, H.D., Richard Wright, and many other poets enshrined the gentle light of the Buddha’s teaching in their work.
Poetry lovers and Zen practitioners alike will find themselves moved toward a penetrating awareness of the realms of spiritual resolve, impermanence, desire, faith, and awakening.
“Through a two way mirror, American poetry and Zen mutually illuminate in this wise telling of the human story of awakening, rendered warm, intimate and authentic in its glimpses of the author’s own struggle and journey. Gendo Sensei holds nothing back in this compelling invitation to come face-to-face with ourselves through a fresh look at some of our most beloved master poets.”
—Susan Myoyu Andersen, Roshi,
abbot Great Plains Zen Center
“Rather than treating Zen as an exotic import from the East, this wonderful series of meditations discerns and extracts its essence from the heart of American poetry.”
author of After Buddhism
“I was deeply moved by this book. This is something subtle and beautiful, brought to us by a wise and generous teacher. Here the heart of the Zen way is fully revealed as we read some of the great poetry of the West.”
“An eloquent, insightful and intriguingly personal account of the flourishing of the Zen mind in American writing, starting long before the word and the practice were known here, down through the glory days of the Beat Generation. The author finds in close readings of many poems some of the brilliance, humor and glad perplexity of the koan.”
author of In Time
Buddhism is the religion based on the teachings of the Shakyamuni Buddha, an Indian who experienced Great Awakening while seated under the Bodhi Tree and who devoted his life to teaching others about 2600 years ago. Though the Buddhist tradition today is vast and its outward expression varies from country to country, it nevertheless is quite consistent in its basic teaching: that all things in the universe are subject to change and that human suffering, dissatisfaction, or the sense that somehow life is unfulfilling or incomplete are all ultimately rooted in self-clinging and the greed, anger and ignorance it engenders. According to the Buddha, such self-clinging can be overcome through the development of the wisdom and compassion innately present in each of us.
Zen is a centuries-old form of the Buddhist tradition that originated in China and developed into its current forms in Korea, Japan, and
Vietnam. In the 20th century, Zen spread around the world and is now one of the fastest growing religions in the west. Practically speaking, Zen helps people become more focused, centered, and more receptive. It helps them avoid being blinded by their own preconceptions of themselves and others. Zen can also help people practice another religious tradition more deeply. Though people practice Zen for many reasons, ultimately Zen practice is an expression of our fundamental completeness and wholeness as we are.