Read How to Cook Your Life: From the Zen Kitchen to Enlightenment by Dōgen Kosho Uchiyama Online


In the thirteenth century, Zen master Dogen—perhaps the most significant of all Japanese philosophers, and the founder of the Japanese Soto Zen sect—wrote a practical manual of Instructions for the Zen Cook . In drawing parallels between preparing meals for the Zen monastery and spiritual training, he reveals far more than simply the rules and manners of the Zen kitchen; hIn the thirteenth century, Zen master Dogen—perhaps the most significant of all Japanese philosophers, and the founder of the Japanese Soto Zen sect—wrote a practical manual of Instructions for the Zen Cook . In drawing parallels between preparing meals for the Zen monastery and spiritual training, he reveals far more than simply the rules and manners of the Zen kitchen; he teaches us how to "cook," or refine our lives. In this volume Kosho Uchiyama Roshi undertakes the task of elucidating Dogen's text for the benefit of modern-day readers of Zen. Taken together, his translation and commentary truly constitute a "cookbook for life," one that shows us how to live with an unbiased mind in the midst of our workaday world....

Title : How to Cook Your Life: From the Zen Kitchen to Enlightenment
Author :
Rating :
ISBN : 9781590302910
Format Type : Paperback
Number of Pages : 136 Pages
Status : Available For Download
Last checked : 21 Minutes ago!

How to Cook Your Life: From the Zen Kitchen to Enlightenment Reviews

  • Gabrielle
    2019-03-06 11:23

    "Instructions for the Zen Cook" is probably Dogen's most famous writing: it's a rather short text that was meant to be exactly what the title implies, a set of instructions for the cook of a Zen temple. That position was actually very important in a temple's administration, and Dogen believed it entailed a lot of responsibilities that went beyond preparation of food. This book is a translation of the original text, followed by commentaries on the essay by Rosho Uchiyama Roshi, a Japanese Zen monk.This is one of Dogen's most accessible texts, because unlike the Shobogenzo, it's not really ambiguous or contradictory, but really straightforward. It's also applicable to pretty much every situation in life. It can seem bizarre to think that a 800 years old book intended for a monastery cook can have so much relevance in modern life, but it actually does, and it’s not that much of a mental stretch to see it. The essence of this text is the importance of awareness and giving one’s full attention to what needs to be done, regardless of circumstances; those concepts are very relevant to modern life.Cooking happens to be something I love to do, and I remember looking at my pots, pans, knives and other implements with a very different eye after reading "Instructions for the Zen Cook" for the first time. Once you understand that the focus, care and respect you give your tools and ingredients can be expanded to every other daily activity your partake in, it can really change the way you approach even the most mundane activity. It makes me smile to think that a spatula can be a good instrument with which to teach the Dharma.I just love this book. Even the translator’s introduction was insightful and helpful! And the commentary expands on ideas brought up in the essay, such as Parental Mind, the concept of the Self, discrimination of worldly values and the goal of practice - giving the reader a deeper understanding of the many ways in which Dogen's essay can be a source of great teachings. This is truly a classic, and an essential text for Zen Buddhists.

  • Andrew
    2019-03-22 16:10

    I can think of very few activities that exemplify the spirit of zen as well as cooking. It's a task so simple and yet so full of meaning. I came to this book hoping for thoughts and insight regarding the zen of cooking, but unfortunately my expectations were a bit off target. This book was written by Dogen Zenji over eight centuries ago specifically on the merits of the office of tenzo, or head of the kitchen, in a zen monestary. Brad Warner speaks very reverently about Dogen's work, which was another reason that brought me to this book. However, I was somewhat surprised to learn upon starting it that only the first chapter is written by Dogen, and the rest is commentary by Kosho Uchiyama (with over a quarter of the book's pages as translator's notes). Dogen's writing is indeed eloquent, and holds up well after all this time. The commentary is interesting, but nothing terribly new for those familiar with Zen Buddhism. The entire book is heavily colored by the monastic existence led by both Dogen and Kosho. It doesn't render the book completely inaccessible to a lay person, but it does distance their perspective somewhat. There was one line from Dogen, however, that made the book worth reading in itself. It's like a lifetime of zen practice wrapped into one sentence:"A fool sees himself as another, but a wise man sees others as himself"

  • Ginny Hanson
    2019-03-22 14:23

    "We need to learn what it means to emerge from a life which is confused, incomplete,and carelessly haphazard, a life based on compromise, on always fooling ourselves and others about who we are, about how we live; we need to learn what it means to settle naturally into our lives."A 13th century Buddhist monk gives advice that transcends time.Translated in 1982.Philosophical search for the meaning of life.

  • John
    2019-03-14 12:07

    Jet engines roar.Air conditioners hum.Waving band of sunlightOpens the mind to embraceThe ten thousand things.Can a manual for the monastery cook (Tenzo) illuminate the whole path, truth and delusion, practice/enlightenment. Absolutely! "Everything you encounter is your life". Nothing other than washing rice and cleaning pots. And that's more than enough. Wonderful commentary by Uchiyama Roshi. Here's Dogen himself - "The true bond established between ourselves and the Buddha is born of the smallest offering made with sincerity rather than of some grandiose donation made without it. This is our practice as human beings."

  • Al Maki
    2019-03-19 16:29

    This is a translation of "Instructions for the Cook", a short manual by Dogen, the founder of Soto Zen. "Instructions for the Cook" gives instruction on the practical application of Zen to life in the world, which in my experience, makes it very helpful to a Westerners. I've read several translations and this one with commentary by Kosho Uchiyama is by far my favourite. Kosho Uchiyama was of course a native speaker and also understand the material thoroughly being an abbot in the Soto tradition. It's indicative of the Soto Zen attitude that a book on how to be a cook should be one of its important documents.

  • Fred Sampson
    2019-03-27 10:20

    Brilliant. Accessible. Perhaps a challenge for newcomers, but I think Uchiyama actually provides an excellent introduction to the basics of Zen. I flagged a dozen pages with pithy quotations and insights. This is a book I'll return to again and again.

  • Stevekoziatek
    2019-03-12 14:22

    This is by far one of my favorite books on Zen living. Dogen's deceptively simple description of the tasks involved in cooking for a Zen monastery conceal great lessons for cooking one's own life, a recipe for deep, personal dharma practice.

  • Sharad
    2019-03-25 16:31

    If only I could do what I read.

  • Justin
    2019-02-27 16:12

    The translator communicates very well. This is good since the majority of the book is not a translation but a discussion of the text. This book was much easier to read than other Eastern books. The translator can be both redundant, verbose, and judgmental. I realize that no one is perfect and he is pretty good in this regard but it is interesting to hear someone with profound knowledge repeatedly rail against prostitutes.

  • Don Groves
    2019-03-12 09:27

    A good friend of mine gave me the 1990 edition more than 20 years when we both were far younger. I read it at the time but was more focused on the instructions to the cook than on how to cook my life. I've re-read it a few times over the years since then but the other evening I pulled it from the shelves and randomly flipped to one of Uchiyama's chapters. What he said made sense and I continued reading other chapters at random. Maybe I was too young to appreciate Refining Your Life when I first received it as a gift to fully comprehend what Uchiyama was saying or maybe now at this age I've realized myself has finally "settled upon itself."

  • dusty.rhodes
    2019-03-26 11:32

    what cooking is is what life extended meditation on that.i enjoyed it.i learned from times i felt the author/translator/whomever stray, but a translation is by definition unable to convey the same thing. heck, the same thing doesn't mean the same thing at different spacetimes!rambling ended.this book breathes "depth".

  • Wendy
    2019-03-15 16:28

    This is one of the most fabulous books I've read on my Sabbatical. It includes an ancient text by Zen Master Dogen, on how to be a Tenzo, or cook in a Monastary. The rest, as they say, is commentary by a 20th century Zen master. This is a great basic book on the practice of Zen as seen through the eyes of a cook. Terrific!

  • Neil Penso
    2019-03-06 09:21

    I enjoyed learning more about zen theory, but it took me three attempts to finish this one, and I caught myself flipping by the time I was half way through. It might just be where I am right now, but the book didn't grab me.

  • Alicia
    2019-03-17 16:30

    I chose to add this book to my to-read list because it is exotic and rare, involving the studies of two different categories that interest me very much, will this be a yawn fest though? I will have to wait until I can actually open this up to know. Definitely interesting though...

  • Konrad
    2019-03-14 16:08

    Just beautiful!

  • cesar
    2019-02-24 16:17

    wonderful book. a classic text by Zen Master Dogen and a spirited commentary from personal experience and great devotion to the path and his teachers by Roshi Uchiyama.

  • Mark
    2019-03-26 08:18

    A 13th century Buddhist monk gives advice that transcends time.