Great Minds 25, Dogen and Hakuin

Great Minds 25, Dogen and Hakuin

The 25th lecture in the Great Minds of the Eastern Intellectual Tradition by Dr. Grant Hardy of the University of North Carolina looks at the development of Zen Buddhism in Japan, and focuses on the lives of two of its great masters: Dogen and Hakuin.

Dogen is of course now regarded as one of the great masters of the zen tradition in Japan, and the founder of the northern, or Soto Zen school of Buddhism; Hakuin, who lived in the 18th century, though not the founder, became the embodiment of the Rinzai or southern school, and was fiercely opposed to Soto.

Dr. Hardy first gives more background on life in Japan, and the introduction of Buddhism there, and explains how certain monks had become dissatisfied with the teachings they had received and travelled again to China to try and find the True Dharma.

Dogen was one of these and eventually was to write many works, covering poetry, talks, commentaries and his most famous collection of essays called the Shōbōgenzō; Hakuin, on the other hand, was a fierce iconoclast, who scolded the monks of his own time, and left a famous autobiography explaining his own experiences of enlightenment (satori).

As always Dr. Hardy manages to get the essence across and conveys much more information and points of interest than his very limited format would seem to allow for.


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