Related Subjects: Author Index Reviews Page 1 2
Book reviews for "Tanahashi,_Kazuaki" sorted by average review score:

Brush Mind
Published in Paperback by Parallax Pr (1998)
Author: Kazuaki Tanahashi
Amazon base price: $14.00
List price: $20.00 (that's 30% off!)
Used price: $8.50
Collectible price: $13.76
Buy one from zShops for: $13.21
Average review score:

Terrific Book
I agree with the review by pqbdpq. I want to add that the artist that worked on the book paints Zen inspired images in large format with a large cotton mop and a lot of ink. That changed my perspective considering the images in the book are actually much larger in real life.

a witty and amazingly beautiful book
This book is an artistic approach to the teachings of zen. Tanahashi also includes his own wit and humor which makes this book a thought-provoker and a real feel good too. It brings up many interesting ideas while explaining his own approach to oneness through art. This book includes many short poems, short thoughts and tons of beautiful paintings. These paintings, each named "mind #", coupled with his thoughtful sayings make for a perfect product. This is one book I read over - atleast once a week, its contents bring peace and humor to my life. I highly recommend it.

Endless Vow: The Zen Path of Soen Nakagawa
Published in Paperback by Shambhala Publications (1996)
Authors: Soen Nakagawa, Kazuaki Tanahashi, and Sherry Chayat
Amazon base price: $19.95
Used price: $5.79
Collectible price: $10.59
Buy one from zShops for: $13.32
Average review score:

Clearly, one of the greatest zen stories of our era
I love this book. It is for me, a book that strips away stereotypes about zen and zen monks, and shows the compassionate suffering and enlightenment of a rare being dedicated to dharmma and to life. This book is highly reccommended for anyone considering zen practice, or even for the sound novice who may consider monastic life. So much compassion comes from this book.

Miracles of the Moment, The Zen Circles of Kazuaki Tanahashi, 2002 Calendar
Published in Calendar by Brush Dance (01 July, 2001)
Author: Kazuaki Tanahashi
Amazon base price: $12.95
Average review score:

The simple beauty of Truth
"One by one everything has it, one by one everything is complete."
This calendar is absolutely beautiful. I have always had a thing for the zen circle: it expresses so many truths; from the absolute, unchangeable and true nature of the entire universe and everything in it to the path of liberation from Karma Mind to Clear Mind. Don't be without these circles, they will remind you - in a most elegant and aesthetic manner, of the Great Work yet to be done. Start with this very moment... and this calendar.

The Teachings of Zen: Master Dogen
Published in Audio Cassette by Audio Literature (1992)
Authors: Kazuaki Tanahashi and Gary Snyder
Amazon base price: $11.87
List price: $16.95 (that's 30% off!)
Used price: $11.78
Buy one from zShops for: $9.90
Average review score:

great meditation tape
I find listening to this tape over and over and over like a music tape, I am getting into Dogen's mind a little, and it is actually starting to make sense!!!! Egads, I should check myself in! It is really a different experience hearing it and trying to follow it, as compared to reading it. It has become sort of like poetry for me, I guess. Thanks to Gary Snyder and Kaz and Dogen. gassho.

Temple Dusk: Zen Haiku
Published in Paperback by Parallax Pr (1992)
Authors: Mitsu Suzuki, Kazuaki Tanahashi, and Gregory A. Wood
Amazon base price: $15.00
Used price: $7.00
Buy one from zShops for: $12.19
Average review score:

This IS "Zen in Haiku"
Many books have tried to make a case for the Zen Buddhist influence on Japanese haiku. But Zen influence on haiku is largely an American and British invention--mainly following on the misguided heels of R. H. Blyth. Contemporary American promoters of the "Zen view" of haiku generally don't "get it" at all. On the other hand, this book provides the absolute best example anywhere of a total interpenetration of Zen and haiku, in simply wonderful poems in Japanese with outstanding English translations. If you think Zen has something to do with haiku, or want to see how it might, toss all those assertions by blindered critics, and get this book in your hands, in your "hara". Then, maybe, you'll understand that it's not Zen influencing haiku, or haiku as an aspect of Zen practice, but simply poems that flow like ink from the brush, beautifully, simply, meaningfully.

Moon in a Dewdrop: Writings of Zen Master Dogen
Published in Paperback by North Point Press (1995)
Authors: Zen Master Dogen, Kazuaki Tanahashi, and Eihei Dogen
Amazon base price: $11.20
List price: $16.00 (that's 30% off!)
Used price: $6.35
Collectible price: $8.99
Buy one from zShops for: $10.52
Average review score:

Problems in translation by committee
The selection of essays and order of presentation were faultless. The language is beautiful but in some places suffered an inescapable temporality. For example the word, "actualize" was forced in place of more harmonious terms like, "realize", "awaken", "manifest", etc. A phrase from the New Age, "resonate with" was again, forced, making the work instantly dated.

The overall effect was that the translation became stuck in time and place: in San Francisco, the Human Potential Movement, 1980. This makes it much like some of the Victorian translations of Buddhist literature and gave it a faint, cloying after aroma of added agenda.

This may be a problem inherent in art and literature by committee. The editors are to be thanked for making some of Dogen's most poetic writings available to the non-Oriental languages reader. The sincere student of Dogen should obtain other translations and compare them with this one. My copy is already well marked, with word corrections that I believe restore some of the harmony and spirit of Dogen's work.

Tackling the Mountain Ranges of Dogen's Mind.
'MOON IN A DEWDROP - WRITNGS OF ZEN MASTER DOGEN,' edited by Kazuaki Tanahashi. Translated by Robert Aitken, Philip Whalen, et al. 356 pp. San Francisco: North Point Press, 1985 and reprinted.

Eihei Dogen (1200-1253), who was an exceptionally gifted child, was born into an aristocratic household in Kyoto. The death of his mother when he was eight years old so impressed upon him the central Buddhist truth of impermanency, that he forsook his aristocratic privileges when he was thirteen and went to Mt. Hiei to study to become a Buddhist monk.

But since no-one in Japan could satisfactorily answer his questions - not surprising when you consider that he was the greatest genius Japan has ever produced - he went off to China in 1223 in search of a Master. There he studied under the Soto Ch'an (Zen) Master Ju-ching (1163-1228), attained enlightenment, and returned to Japan to become the founder Japanese Soto Zen.

Zen first became known to the West largely through the writings of D. T. Suzuki, who was a follower of the 'Sudden Enlightenment' or direct koan-using Rinzai Zen. Soto Zen, in contrast, is a gentler method which places greater reliance on Zazen or deep meditation, and is the method that has gained the largest number of adherents in Japan.

To discover just how profound Dogen was, you will have to turn to his magnum opus, the 'Shobogenzo' or 'Treasury of the True Dharma Eye.' This has been translated, in whole or in part, a number of times, but an edition I can heartily recommend is the present book.

Besides twenty texts from the 'Shobogenzo,' this 356-page book includes four additional texts and a selection of Dogen's poems. It also contains a fine Introduction on Dogen's Life and Teachings, four Appendices, full Notes, an incredibly full and detailed bilingual Glossary of a kind you will not find elsewhere, a Selected Bibliography, and some interesting illustrations.

Dogen's Japanese is an excruciatingly difficult Japanese, so much so that some think it should be called 'Dogen-ese' and not Japanese. Think 'Finnegans Wake' and you'll get an inkling of the problems involved in translating him. The language and thought of the 'Shobogenzo' come from such a height that there can be no such thing as a definitive interpretation, and hence no such thing as a definitive translation.

'Moon in a Dewdrop' is the result of a collaborative effort by a team of highly competent American Zenists, some of them very well known. It has always seemed, in my humble opinion, that, considering the difficulties, they did a very fine job. To give you a taste, here are a few lines from the 'Genjo Koan' as translated by Robert Aitken and Kazuaki Tanahashi:

"The buddha way is, basically, leaping clear of the many and the one; thus there are birth and death, delusion and realization, sentient beings and buddhas. / Yet in attachment blossoms fall, and in aversion weeds spread" (page 69).

Prepared and sensitive readers will be bowled over by 'Moon in a Dewdrop.' Dogen leaves most other thinkers behind in the dust. But if you've never read any Dogen before, it might perhaps be better to start with Reiho Masunaga's 'A Primer of Soto Zen.' This is a translation of Dogen's 'Shobogenzo Zuimonki,' a short book of brief talks and instructions for Zen beginners and lay followers. In the 'Zuimonki' you can ramble at leisure the plains and foothills of Dogen's mind before attempting the mountains.

Despite the "Human Potential" Clumsiness...
This is one book to read. If there are better translations,that's good, too, but, for me, this was quite an eye-opener.

Dogenis THE philospher to bring up whenever you hear all this "Western-centric"... thrown at you from conservative scholars and Christian theocrats. A contemporary of Aquinas, Dogen anticipated and surpassed Shoepenauer, Hegel, and other 19th century philosphers.

Even if this translation is marred in places (and frankly, if you can read Japanese, ANY translation will be marred), the poetry and imagery of the original comes through. A voice from 800 years ago speaks, and comes to you. And you begin to see the man in the dew on the morning grass, in the meal you cook, and going to the bathroom.

Essential Zen
Published in Hardcover by HarperCollins (1994)
Authors: Kazuaki Tanahashi, Tensho David Schneider, and David Schneider
Amazon base price: $18.00
Used price: $1.80
Average review score:

I beg to differ......
As sad as it makes me to say it, I can't agree that this book is good for anyone who is JUST starting to learn about Zen. Call me an ignorant illiterate (I will admit that!) but I read lots of books on various religions and here is how I would rate this book. IF YOU KNOW SOMETHING ALREADY ABOU ZEN OR ARE WELL INTO IT: Four and a half to five stars. Lots of great excerpts from various authors, many of them Westerners. They're diverse in content and vary in length. So it's a great for collection anyone who already has some knowledge of Zen. IF YOU DON'T KNOW MUCH ABOUT ZEN: You'll have to skip a lot of the sections as you start reading them, and not because that is the subject's inherent nature. Someone who picked up this book to learn about Zen would definitely have to go and buy a few more books to figure out the meaning of a lot of the sections. BOTTOM LINE: If there had been a bit more explanation about each section before the excerpts this book would be the "essential" Zen. But anyone just learning will have to get other books first to truly grasp the essentials in this book.

Circular reasoning (of a different sort...)
In this text on Zen, Kazuaki Tanahashi and Tensho David Schneider explore many of the classic writings considered 'essential' to Zen as an East Asian tradition, as well as an incorporation of modern American writings that are representative of the fascination with and growth of Zen in the West. These writings reflect both serious and humourous sides; some are elegantly simple (without being simplistic) and others are enigmatic and complicated.

Tanahashi explains the incorporation of modern Western ideas and writing on Zen:

'If the present moment is when truth is actually experienced, then Western Zen, however young and immature, ought to be treated on a par with traditional Zen in China, Korea, and Japan.'

Zen is a difficult concept to grasp, not least of all because of its very simple underpinnings. Zen comes not from Buddhism alone but rather incorporates many strands -- always striving for completeness and looking for the interconnectedness of all, Zen has as a fundamental symbol or expression of enlightenment a circle: Shunryu Suzuki on his deathbed traced a circle in the air, symbolising transcendence, connexion, momentary enlightenment, everlasting completeness.

Schneider also discusses the very idea of a book on Zen:

'Zen prides itself on being a teaching 'outside words and letters'; thus any book of mere writing -- no matter how elevated or enlightened -- could not rightly be called essential. The essential Zen, in book form, would more likely consist of blank pages; a reader fills them in. Or not.'

The idea of the circle permeates this book. Throughout there are ink drawings of different kinds of circles, and the poetical verses and stories loop back upon themselves in many ways.

Now that things have been made perfectly clear, Tanahashi and Schneider proceed to develop the ideas of Zen in a very personal way, which is, after all, the only way in which Zen can be experienced and understood.

Which way
did you come from,
following dream paths at night,
while snow is still deep
in this mountain recess?
- Ryokan

Zen is a place, but it isn't. Zen is a journey, but not really. Zen is, and it isn't. Through poetry, tales of journeys, tales of myths, tales of being still, tales of understanding and confusion, the reader begins to see just a little piece of Zen, and yet, Zen is not something that comes in pieces, and is not something to be seen. Understand this, and you begin to understand Zen. Or not.

Through faith and doubt, through grand designs and commonplace daily life, Zen is there with enigmatic meanings, always designed toward the greater enlightenment, the greater completeness, the greater oneness. This essential text includes discussion of Zen practises designed toward the attainment of greater enlightenment. Coming full circle back to a discussion of The Circle, the ideas of Zen are still incomplete, and still fully presented.

He was offered the whole world
He declined and turned away.
He did not write poetry,
He lived poetry before it existed.
He did not speak of philosophy,
He cleaned up the dung philosophy left behind.
He had no address:
He lived in a ball of dust playing with the universe.
- Jung Kwung

A Wonderful Introduction to Zen
Tanahashi & Schneider's anthology creates a sense of the thread running through Zen because ancient stories from the T'ang Dynasty (619-906) are juxtaposed with stories about Zen aspirants in modern America. They do a wonderful job of illuminating several traits unique to Zen, not by explaining them discursively, but rather by providing one illuminating story after another. For example, type of guidance a novice receives in Zen is virtually unparalleled in the world's spiritual systems. An explanation of everything unique to it would most likely be arcane and dry, hardly helpful to the outsider. Instead, this book tells stories, profound touchstones from the tradition. My favorite entry from the chapter "Skillful Guidance is a story about the interaction of the Zen Master Nanquan (Japanese: Nansen, 748-835) and a hopeful pupil looking for him.--- Nanquan was working on the mountain. A monk came by and asked him, "What is the way that leads to Nanquan?" The master raised his sickle and said, "I bought this sickle for thirty cents." The monk said, "I'm not asking about the sickle you bought for thirty cents. What is the way that leads to Nanquan?" The master said, "It feels good when I use it." (p. 10) --- One of the many virtues of that story is that, until our intuition opens to it, we are very much like the monk in the story, and Nanquan is teaching us as well. As I read the book, I felt that I was being taught by both ancient and modern Masters, and the miracle is, across thirteen centuries, they speak with one voice. Admittedly, not every selection will make sense to the beginner on a first reading, but that is one of the book's strengths - many passages become deeper with repeated readings. This is not a once-through quick read; this is a text from which new insights might emerge for years and years. It is a book that challenges you to grow, and it will remain relevant as you grow. For this reason, I recommend it not only to beginners, but to seasoned Zen practitioners as well.

Enlightenment Unfolds: The Essential Teachings of Zen Master Dogen
Published in Paperback by Random House Trade Paperbacks (06 June, 2000)
Author: Kazuaki Tanahashi
Amazon base price: $12.57
List price: $17.95 (that's 30% off!)
Used price: $9.00
Buy one from zShops for: $11.69
Average review score:

Good for primary texts, bad for interpretation
This is a fine book if you are looking for some English translations of Dogen's primary texts. Unfortunately, it is very sparse in it's interpretation of those teachings. If you want to see what Dogen had to say, buy this book. If you want to understand him, go elsewhere. I suggest that you start with "Flowers Fall" and then move on to "Dogen ?Kigen: Mystical Realist". These will give you a solid ground in Dogen's thought. The later, alas, seems to be out of print, but a few used copies are drifting about.

A beautiful, inspiring work
Kaz Tanahashi and his collaborators have produced a remarkable portrait of Dogen Zenji, one of the most influential Buddhist teachers in history. The book includes several new translations from Dogen's Shobogenzo but goes substantially beyond this to include a variety of other writings from Dogen, including poems, informal lectures and Dogen's recollections of his own teacher, Rujing. The result of this is to bring Dogen much more to life than previous translations. Here we see Dogen as genuinely human, struggling with the limitations of a human life and profoundly inspired by that same life.

Brush Mind: Text, Art, and Design
Published in Paperback by Parallax Pr (1990)
Author: Kazuaki Tanahashi
Amazon base price: $15.00
Used price: $5.95
Average review score:
No reviews found.

Enku: Sculptor of a Hundred Thousand Buddhas
Published in Paperback by Shambhala Publications (1982)
Author: Kazuaki Tanahashi
Amazon base price: $13.95
Used price: $22.50
Average review score:
No reviews found.

Related Subjects: Author Index Reviews Page 1 2

Reviews are from readers at To add a review, follow the Amazon buy link above.