Eihei Dogen (1200-53), founder of the Soto school of Zen Buddhism, is a key figure in the intellectual history of Japan, but for many centuries his work was not widely read. This changed in 1926, when the publication of Watsuji Tetsuro’s “Shamon Dogen” (“The Monk Dogen”) reframed him as a philosopher in the contemporary sense and inspired a new interest in Dogen’s writings.

Hee-Jin Kim’s “Eihei Dogen: Mystical Realist,” originally published in 1975, was a landmark text in English-language Dogen studies. Translations of the Zen master’s writings and closer examinations of his life and thinking have proliferated in the years since (the introduction to this new edition contains a helpful list of major examples), but Kim’s work is still an excellent single-volume overview.

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