This book is a collection of articles by one of the leading scholars in Japanese thought dealing with three areas of Japanese philosophy and religion: Dôgen's Zen view of liberation, including the key doctrines of casting off body-mind, being-time, and spontaneous manifestation of the kôan; the relation between Buddhism, literary aesthetics, and folk religion; and a comparison of Japanese and Western thought, particularly Heidegger, on science, language, and death. The central theme throughout these essays is the meaning of time and impermanence in Japanese religion and culture based on Buddhist contemplation. The book's title refers to a phrase used by Dôgen, the dramatist Chikamatsu, and others that plays on the twofold image of «dream» representing either the fleeting world of illusion or the nonsubstantial realm of ultimate reality. One of the articles is a new annotated translation of Dôgen's
Shôbôgenzô «Muchû setsumu» («Disclosing a Dream Within a Dream») fascicle. Other essays offer novel interpretations of Chikamatsu and Kyoto-school thinkers Kuki Shûzô and Nishitani Keiji in addition to Japanese folk religion.