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A Dream Within a Dream

Studies in Japanese Thought


Prof. Steven Heine

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.
The Author: Steven Heine, former Fulbright Researcher and a professor of religion at LaSalle University, has published a book on comparative philosophy, Existential and Ontological Dimensions of Time in Heidegger and Dôgen (with a translation of Dôgen's «Uji» fascicle), and on Japanese religio-aesthetics, A Blade of Grass: Japanese Poetry and Aesthetics in Dôgen Zen (with a translation of Dôgen's poetry collection øPeter Lang, 1989!). Heine is also the editor and partial translator of Masao Abe's A Study of Dôgen: His Philosophy of Religion, and he is currently working on a book examining the relation between Dôgen and the Zen kôan tradition.