Shōbōgenzō Summaries

I have for some time wished to create summaries for all of the fascicles in Master Dōgen’s masterwork, Shōbōgenzō, so that I can see at a glance what the main themes are, highlight important passages, and reference any kōans or stories that they contain. Shōbōgenzō contains Dōgen’s descriptive and often poetic treatises on what it is like to be awakened, his writings on fundamental topics of Buddhism such as karma and cultivating bodhicitta, and descriptive guides of monastic living and ceremonies.

So, what I am attempting here is to provide an overview of each fascicle and, in addition, to include the English titles and fascicle number of all three of the complete translations by Gudo Nishijima & Chodo Cross, Reverend Hubert Nearman and Kazuaki Tanahashi, the date and place of writing and the number given in each of the 12, 28, 60 and 75 fascicle editions, as applicable. 

The three translations I mention are:

Master Dōgen’s Shōbōgenzō Books 1-4  by Gudo Nishijima and Chodo Cross (Windbell Publications)
Shōbōgenzō: The Treasure House of the Eye of the True Teaching by Reverend Hubert Nearman (Shasta Abbey Press)
Treasury of the True Dharma Eye by Kazuaki Tanahashi (Shambala Publications)

There is also a fourth complete translation which I do not have access to:

Shōbōgenzō: The Eye and Treasury of the True Law by Kosen Nishiyama (Nakayama Shobo)

All quotations in the summaries are taken from the translation by Nishijima and Cross.

I further thought it might be helpful to include a reference to any commentaries that have been written about a particular fascicle including, in some cases, whole books.  Several books are referred to numerous times as they contain multiple commentaries.  These include:

Deepest Practice, Deepest Wisdom by Kōshō Uchiyama (Wisdom Books)
Don’t Be A Jerk and It Came From Beyond Zen by Brad Warner (New World Library)
Receiving the Marrow edited by Eido Frances Carney (Temple Ground Press)
The Zen Master’s Dance by Jundo Cohen (Wisdom Books)

Please feel free to contact me at if you notice an error or have a suggestion for additional information to include. 

The Summaries (in alphabetical order)


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