Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Moon in a Dewdrop: Writings of Zen Master Dogen” as Want to Read:
Moon in a Dewdrop: Writings of Zen Master Dogen
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Moon in a Dewdrop: Writings of Zen Master Dogen

4.28  ·  Rating details ·  1,048 ratings  ·  29 reviews
Eihei Dogen (1200-1253), among the first to transmit Zen Buddhism from China to Japan and founder of the important Soto School, was not only a profoundly influential and provocative Zen philosopher but also one of the most stimulating figures in Japanese letters.

Kazuaki Tanahashi, collaborating with several other Zen authorities, has produced sensitive and accurate transla
Paperback, 356 pages
Published October 31st 1995 by North Point Press (first published 1985)
More Details... Edit Details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
Average rating 4.28  · 
Rating details
 ·  1,048 ratings  ·  29 reviews

More filters
Sort order
Start your review of Moon in a Dewdrop: Writings of Zen Master Dogen
Jul 20, 2018 rated it it was amazing
This is recreational reading in the very BEST sense of the word... It is reading that will, if you let it, RE-CREATE your headspace.

It’ll clear out all the cobwebs of traditional, discursive thinking.

To understand the gist of what Dogen is saying, though, you'll have to put on your Anti-thinking Cap.

Feed your dreamscapes rather than your calculator. Think against thinking, as Martin Heidegger told us!

Dogen lived in the same historical timeframe in Japan as Thomas Aquinas, way over in Europe. A
Adrian Alvarez
May 04, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Viewing Peach Blossoms and Realizing the Way

In spring wind
peach blossoms
begin to come apart.
Doubts do not grow
branches and leaves.

-pg 214

The amount of wisdom in this collection of writings by 13th Century Zen Master Dogen is devastating. I had to read the book very slowly, sometimes only a single page per day. The book is broken into five main parts after a brief but interesting introduction and biography of the man:

Part 1, Practical Instructions; Part 2, Philosophical Works; Part 3, Poetic Imag
I picked up a copy of this book because I am still a little intimidated by the prospect of reading the complete “Shobogenzo”; I know it’s going to happen, and I know it’s not going to happen in the near future. This collection of Dogen Zenji’s writings is still pretty big, but it’s much more portable, and it’s a much less daunting way to begin exploring his work.

For the non-Zen nerds reading this, Dogen Zenji was the founder of the Soto Zen school of Buddhism, and lived in Japan in the 13th cent
Mar 31, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: buddhism
Beautiful meditations on life, death, language, liberation. I didn't feel like I could read this book from cover to cover, because after a while it feels like you've stepped into Wonderland and the same linguistic terms just keep repeating over and over. But reading it bit by bit, it helps you step out of the habits of daily living and see the world with new eyes.
What I appreciated most about this publication was the glossary in the back that explained unfamiliar terms and allusions. I felt like
Jul 06, 2012 rated it it was amazing
A book kept at hand by my bed.
Jul 05, 2015 rated it liked it
Dogen’s writing can run from straightforward practical instruction to completely confusing discussions along the lines of “A is B, but not-B is not not-A. A is not B, but B is A. A is A. B is B. Consider this deeply.” A little bit of the latter goes a really long way for me, but the more approachable selections outweigh the genuinely obscure ones in this collection.

Don’t expect much help from Tanahashi’s notes, they could be better organized and don’t clarify much anyway.
Mar 09, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This is a book I will be reading for the rest of my life, and am almost certain I will never understand, but will always appreciate.
Sep 05, 2017 rated it really liked it

( … )
Under the burden
of solitude,
under the burden
of dissatisfaction

the weight,
the weight we carry
is love
( … )

Allen Ginsberg (3 June 1926 – 5 April 1997 / Newark, New Jersey)

The village I finally reach

Eihei Dogen (1200 – 1253) is one of the great teachers of Zen Buddhism and an inspiring poet and writer.

Dogen ordained as a monk at the age of fourteen and started studying Zen at eighteen. He went to China at the age of twenty-four to complete his study. He established his first training centre ‘K
Andrew Olsen
Aug 04, 2014 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: my-books-1
The writings of a zen master can sometimes be difficult to understand. But the writings of Dogen are so clear they can be confusing. This book is a selection of his enormous corpus of literature and some of the ideas surrounding the self, being and not-being rival the ideas of Sartre, Heidegger, Camus, and Marleau-Ponty for existential importance. It is amazing to think that his ideas recently were rediscovered.

As for Buddhist thought it is beautifully written and often peaceful to read. Trying
Aug 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
As a sample collection of Dogen's material, it comes as no surprise that there will be highs and lows in the collection. Parts are confounding and beautiful. Parts are simple, yet overwhelming. And parts are more informational about different formal approaches to Buddhism. As always, many portions of this text should be reread because the effect of the teaching is a lifetime of practice. ...more
Eric Jonas
Feb 20, 2019 rated it it was amazing
Stunningly poetic translations of the foundational Zen Master Dogen. Mystifying and enigmatic, almost haunting at times. Meant to be read slowly and meditatively over many sittings. Let each passage sink in, preferably after reading several times over.
michael lequire
Dec 15, 2017 rated it it was amazing
It's a beautiful thing to spend one's time reading this. The essence of zazen, the mountains, the rivers and the mind. A joy to read and learn. ...more
Aug 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
ikkyu would have found this book to be invaluable kindling and/or toilet paper
Rui Carlos
Jan 20, 2021 rated it really liked it
I've had this book for decades waiting for me to be ready to read it. I finished it from cover to cover, including all the appendices and glossary, within two months. A person in a meditation group I attend called the work "abstruse". I might go so far as to call them Dōgen's "Abstruse Sutras". Of course, I jest. But if you study Sōtō Zen Buddhism, it all basically coalesced through him from his studies in China to return to Japan and form a school that lasts roughly 800 years. I have another ra ...more
Michelle Wruck
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
Dogen is wonderful but I'm afraid he often appears to be more enigmatic than is really necessary. Tanahashi does a good job of demystifying Dogen's language by explaining the Buddhist references used throughout but I believe there could be even more annotation to this end. The other commonly read collection of his work, The Heart of Dogen's Shobogenzo, translated by Wadell and Abe is also a good collection, though more philosophical in nature, the prose less beautiful, and the footnotes even les ...more
Jul 11, 2017 rated it really liked it
Shelves: zen
This is not an easy read. The terminology is specialised and unfamiliar. It is hard to get a glimpse of the meanings behind this unfamiliar language. This is not your average Zen text. There are some sections in which Dogen deals with the practicalities of Zen, but there are also sections in which there is no familiar ground to stand on. Not to be recommended for the newcomer to Zen. This not Alan Watts or Robert Aitken level.
Dane Wozniak
Jul 07, 2020 rated it did not like it
Shelves: ohm
I didnt enjoy this in the slightest. Esoteric and clunky. Sounds to me like mostly nonsense. Nothing here to really grapple with intellectually. Feels like it has the coat of deep philosophy, but the author is really naked underneath. There must be something I'm missing, because he is more than well respected, I'm chalking this feeling up to me being unlearned, the translation being poor (or impossible) and time not doing it justice. Either way a big thumbs down. ...more
Jul 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing
What Can I say to this book?

It is a big koan. Most of Dogen's writings, especially, uji, are really hard to read. Even though his works contained a lot of metaphors, one of the reason why his works are so hard, I still find him a very learned master.
Nov 06, 2019 rated it really liked it
Shelves: 2019
Great. A more distilled set of writings might be more useful for myself and other readers new to Dogen.
May 10, 2018 rated it really liked it
A primary text of Dōgen’s teachings. Rather abstruse, but valuable Zen thought. Will revisit at a later date to appreciate fully.
Jun 03, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
I read this book years ago and have reread it many times. This is an excellent book on Zen Buddhism. It was written by Dogen Zenji, the founder of Soto Zen Buddhism in Japan.

He was born in 1200 in Japan and went to China to study Zen. He returned and founded Soto Zen Buddhism. His writings are clear and convey the wisdom of Zen.

One of my favorite chapters is Tenzo Kyoku or Instructions for the Cooks. He gives instructions for the cooks in the monastery, who because of their duties were not able
Dec 17, 2011 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: enlightening
This particular book is a translation of portions derived from Dogen's masterwork, Shobogenzo. I would suggest purchasing with this "Enlightenment Unfolds: The essential teachings of Zen Master Dogen" by the same author, it's somewhat like a follow-up. Also beneficial readings come from many of the works out there from the late modern master Taizan Maezumi. This book offers clear translations of some of the most central aspects of Dogen's fascinating style of Zen. ...more
J.W.D. Nicolello
I am not surprised Dogen came my way the way of Living Sober, and though a different sort of book, nonetheless another not so much to read through but read passages from anytime. I've already found the missing link for a work in progress through the words of Dogen. To the nightstand! ...more
Enrique Valdivia
Feb 19, 2010 rated it really liked it
Much of the later chapters were a bit esoteric. Seeing plum blossoms as eyes awakening was a nice way to welcome Spring this year.
Jure Godler
Dec 14, 2012 rated it it was amazing
My kind of book.
Joseph Michael Reynolds
Jul 28, 2012 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: read-and-re-read
Essential, if you are serious about the question..
Brendan Coster
Jun 15, 2015 rated it it was ok
Recommended to Brendan Coster by: NYPL
I wrote pretty much what I wanted in my review on "Beyond Thinking" - I'll take reading these two volumes and be done with it and know for damn sure I would never read his completed works. ...more
Nov 13, 2008 rated it really liked it
Just started this one - it's dense, but seems to be a good collection of various writings from this 13th century Japanese Zen Master. ...more
Bill Gusky
Sep 17, 2011 rated it really liked it
Great variety of writings. Pick it up, put it down, pick it up again and start someplace completely new. Hard not to find something worth chewing on.
rated it it was amazing
Jan 04, 2021
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »
There are no discussion topics on this book yet. Be the first to start one »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Zen Mind, Beginner's Mind: Informal Talks on Zen Meditation and Practice
  • The Zen Teaching of Bodhidharma
  • The Diamond Sutra
  • The Platform Sutra of the Sixth Patriarch
  • Nothing Special
  • The Way of Zen
  • Sky Above, Great Wind: The Life and Poetry of Zen Master Ryokan
  • One Hundred Leaves: A new annotated translation of the Hyakunin Isshu
  • Be Here Now
  • Awaken Children, Volume 7 (Awaken Children, #7)
  • The Way of the Bodhisattva
  • The Essential Rumi
  • The Soul of an Indian: And Other Writings from Ohiyesa (Charles Alexander Eastman)
  • Enlightenment Unfolds
  • The Heart of the Buddha's Teaching: Transforming Suffering into Peace, Joy, and Liberation
  • Wild Ivy: The Spiritual Autobiography of Zen Master Hakuin
  • The Power of Myth
  • Essential Zen
See similar books…
Dōgen Zenji (道元禅師; also Dōgen Kigen 道元希玄, or Eihei Dōgen 永平道元, or Koso Joyo Daishi) was a Zen Buddhist teacher and the founder of the Sōtō Zen school of Buddhism in Japan.

Related Articles

“I'm in a weird place because the book is about to come out. So I'm basically just walking around like a raw nerve and I'm not sure that I...
42 likes · 9 comments
“There is a simple way to become buddha: When you refrain from unwholesome actions, are not attached to birth and death, and are compassionate toward all sentient beings, respectful to seniors and kind to juniors, not excluding or desiring anything, with no designing thoughts or worries, you will be called a buddha. Do not seek anything else.” 42 likes
“Long ago a monk asked an old master, “When hundreds, thousands, or myriads of objects come all at once, what should be done?”
The master replied, “Don’t try to control them”
What he means is that in whatever way objects come, do not try to change them. Whatever comes is the buddha-dharma, not objects at all. Do not understand the master’s reply as merely a brilliant admonition, but realize that it is the truth. Even if you try to control what comes, it cannot be controlled.”
More quotes…