I’ve been reading Dogen’s classic book Shobogenzo, and while it is interesting, I was also a little disappointed. At the beginning it goes on at some length about lineages and the silent transmission of the dharma from the Buddha to Mahakasyapa and on down, and it seems quite concerned with proving status. I’m going to continue reading a bit, but it wasn’t a good start. It’s also a big fat tome.
It’s interesting to compare it to other books written by great sages, like the Tao Te Ching or Sri Ramana Maharshi’s Words of Grace or Seng’tsan’s Xin Xin Ming. These are very slim volumes, but they give you a joy when you read them, they do something to you, and you can keep coming back to them, they have a certain dense-ness.
Recently I have been considering alternate ways of reading books. Rather than taking a great tome and filling my brain with it for hours and then watching the knowledge evaporate, im taking more care in what I read, I’m going slower. And I’m being more selective in what I chose to read.
Do you have particular texts that you keep coming back to? What books would you consider to have been written by enlightened people?