Steven Heine

Steven Heine


Religious Studies

Office: SIPA504

Phone: 305-348-1788


Other titles: Affiliated Faculty, History


I specialize in Japanese religions, especially Zen Buddhism and the thought of Dogen, founder of the Soto sect, in the medieval period (13th century). I also research a variety of topics in Japanese and East Asian culture and literature from classical through modern times in comparative perspectives. My teaching includes these topics, but also covers much broader themes such as worldwide mysticism, folk religions east and west, religion and psychology, and the impact of modernization on religious traditions. I am director of the Institute for Asian Studies and associate director of the new Center for Transnational and Comparative Studies at FIU, and I especially enjoy working with faculty and students dealing with issues of globalization and the impact of Asia on other regions, historically and in the contemporary world. Asian Studies has a new B.A. degree and many Religious Studies courses fulfill those requirements. In addition, I am the interim director of the newly designed Institute for Judaic and Near Eastern Studies. For spring and fall 2001, I had a research leave to work on a project funded by the National Endowment for Humanities on the role of Zen Buddhist koan literature in medieval China and Japan.


Japanese Religions, Comparative Religious Thought, Religion and the Social Sciences

Selected Publications

Readings of Dōgen's "Treasury of the True Dharma Eye"

The Treasury of the True Dharma Eye (Shōbōgenzō) is the masterwork of Dōgen (1200–1253), founder of the Sōtō Zen Buddhist sect in Kamakura-era Japan. It is one of the most important Zen Buddhist collections, composed during a period of remarkable religious diversity and experimentation. The text is complex and compelling, famed for its eloquent yet perplexing manner of expressing the core precepts of Zen teachings and practice.

This book is a comprehensive introduction to this essential Zen text, offering a textual, historical, literary, and philosophical examination of Dōgen’s treatise. Steven Heine explores the religious and cultural context in which the Treasury was composed and provides a detailed study of the various versions of the medieval text that have been compiled over the centuries. He includes nuanced readings of Dōgen’s use of inventive rhetorical flourishes and the range of East Asian Buddhist textual and cultural influences that shaped the work. Heine explicates the philosophical implications of Dōgen’s views on contemplative experience and attaining and sustaining enlightenment, showing the depth of his distinctive understanding of spiritual awakening. Readings of Dōgen’s Treasury of the True Dharma Eye will give students and other readers a full understanding of this fundamental work of world religious literature.