The True Dharma Eye: Zen Master Dogen’s Three Hundred Koans

The True Dharma Eye

John Daido Loori (Author, Translator)
Kazuaki Tanahashi (Translator)
Publisher:‎ Shambhala
Language: English
Paperback:‎ 528 pages



A collection of three hundred koans compiled by Eihei Dogen, the thirteenth-century founder of Soto Zen in Japan, this book presents readers with a uniquely contemporary perspective on his profound teachings and their relevance for modern Western practitioners of Zen. Following the traditional format for koan collections, John Daido Loori Roshi, an American Zen master, has added his own commentary and accompanying verse for each of Dogen’s koans. Zen students and scholars will find The True Dharma Eye to be a source of deep insight into the mind of one of the world’s greatest religious thinkers, as well as the practice of koan study itself.

The words “in the hope of nibbana” are often found printed on invitations to anniversaries or festival meals, sent by the Burmese to their friends. Early in the morning, monks are fed, followed by other invited friends who arrive for a good social meal together. All of this is done, as the invitation reassures, “in the hope of nibbana.” Thus does the ordinary Buddhist, himself far from nibbana, honor those who are striving, humbly hoping that his modest charitable efforts will somehow by the process of kammic multiplication add up to a nibbanic sum in the end. Such words characterize the Buddhist ethical endeavor.

“In the Hope of Nibbāna” offers a glimpse into the process of a “religion” and a culture struggling to align ethical values with the realities of the modern world. Buddhism is deeply woven into the fabric of life in Burma, now called Myanmar, and the country’s insular history has made it an ideal place to experience Buddhism’s influence on a culture and people.