The writings of Zen master Dogen are among the highest achievements not only of Japanese literature but of world literature. Dogen's writings are a near-perfect expression of truth, beautifully expressing the best of which the human race is capable. In this volume, Francis Cook presents ten selections from Dogen's masterwork, the Shobogenzo, as well as six of his own essays brilliantly illuminating the mind of this peerless master.
As the numbers of Zen practitioners have grown dramatically, so has interest in Dogen, one of the founders of Zen in Japan. In How to Raise an Ox, translator Francis Cook presents 9 of the 95 chapters of Dogen's classic Shobogenzo, along with Dogen's "General Recommendations for Doing Zazen." These 10 chapters focus on Zen practice and Dogen's complex understanding of the relationship of practice to enlightenment. Using numerous illustrations from Chinese Zen masters, Dogen shows how enlightenment relates to the mind, emptiness, and leaving home, and how it is that to practice is to be enlightened. This is the kind of book you want to go back to again and again for guidance and insights, and Cook makes it that much easier to understand by introducing the main concepts in his lengthy introduction. And so with Dogen's help, Zen can be as easy as raising an ox. --Brian Bruya