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The Parable Of The Robber Kih
Chwang Tsz (So-shi) remarks in a humorous way to the followi...

The Courage And The Composure Of Mind Of The Zen Monk And Of The Samurai
Fourthly, our Samurai encountered death, as is well known, wi...

Poetical Intuition And Zen
Since Universal Life or Spirit permeates the universe, the po...

Idealism Is A Potent Medicine For Self-created Mental Disease
In so far as Buddhist idealism refers to the world of sense, ...

Enlightened Consciousness Is Not An Intellectual Insight
Enlightened Consciousness is not a bare intellectual insight,...

Retribution In The Past The Present And The Future Life
Then a question suggests itself: If there be no soul that su...

The Breathing Exercise Of The Yogi
Breathing exercise is one of the practices of Yoga, and somew...

The Establishment Of The Rin Zai School Of Zen In Japan
[FN#67] The Lin Tsi school was started by Nan Yoh, a pr...

The Creative Force Of Nature And Humanity
The innate tendency of self-preservation, which manifests its...

Shakya Muni And The Prodigal Son
A great trouble with us is that we do not believe in half the...

Idealistic Scepticism Concerning Objective Reality
But extreme Idealism identifies 'to be' with 'to be known,' a...

The Resemblance Of The Zen Monk To The Samurai
Let us point out in brief the similarities between Zen and Ja...

The Second And The Third Patriarchs
After the death of the First Patriarch, in A.D. 528, Hwui Ko ...

The Honest Poverty Of The Zen Monk And The Samurai
Secondly, the so-called honest poverty is a characteristic of...

An Illusion Concerning Appearance And Reality
To get Enlightened we must next dispel an illusion respecting...

Zen After The Downfall Of The Ho-jo Regency
Towards the end of the Ho-Jo period,[FN#90] and after the dow...

Everything Is Living According To Zen
Everything alive has a strong innate tendency to preserve its...

Nature Favours Nothing In Particular
There is another point of view of life, which gave the presen...

The Parable Of The Monk And The Stupid Woman
The confused or unenlightened may be compared with a monk and...

Zen After The Restoration
After the Restoration of the Mei-ji (1867) the popularity of ...




The Characteristics Of Do-gen The Founder Of The Japanese So To Sect








In the meantime seekers after a new truth gradually began to knock at
his door, and his hermitage was turned into a monastery, now known as
the Temple of Ko-sho-ji.[FN#77] It was at this time that many
Buddhist scholars and men of quality gathered about him but the more
popular he became the more disgusting the place became to him. His
hearty desire was to live in a solitude among mountains, far distant
from human abodes, where none but falling waters and singing birds
could disturb his delightful meditation. Therefore he gladly
accepted the invitation of a feudal lord, and went to the province of
Echi-zen, where his ideal monastery was built, now known as
Ei-hei-ji.[FN#78]


[FN#77] It was in this monastery (built in 1236) that Zen was first
taught as an independent sect, and that the Meditation Hall was first
opened in Japan. Do-gen lived in the monastery for eleven years, and
wrote some of the important books. Za-zen-gi ('The Method of
Practising the Cross-legged Meditation') was written soon after his
return from China, and Ben-do-wa and other essays followed, which are
included in his great work, entitled Sho-bo-gen-zo) ('The Eye and
Treasury of the Right Law').

[FN#78] The monastery was built in 1244 by Yoshi-shige (Hatano), the
feudal lord who invited Do-gen. He lived in Ei-hei-ji until his
death, which took place in 1253. It is still flourishing as the head
temple of the So To Sect.


In 1247, being requested by Toki-yori, the Regent General
(1247-1263), he came down to Kama-kura, where he stayed half a year
and went back to Ei-hei-ji. After some time Toki-yori, to show his
gratitude for the master, drew up a certificate granting a large
tract of land as the property of Ei-hei-ji, and handed it over to
Gen-myo, a disciple of Do-gen. The carrier of the certificate was so
pleased with the donation that he displayed it to all his brethren
and produced it before the master, who severely reproached him
saying: O, shame on thee, wretch! Thou art -defiled by the desire
of worldly riches even to thy inmost soul, just as noodle is stained
with oil. Thou canst not be purified from it to all eternity. I am
afraid thou wilt bring shame on the Right Law. On the spot Gen-myo
was deprived of his holy robe and excommunicated. Furthermore, the
master ordered the 'polluted' seat in the Meditation Hall, where
Gen-myo was wont to sit, to be removed, and the 'polluted' earth
under the seat to be dug out to the depth of seven feet.

In 1250 the ex-Emperor Go-sa-ga (1243-1246) sent a special messenger
twice to the Ei-hei monastery to do honour to the master with the
donation of a purple robe, but he declined to accept it. And when
the mark of distinction was offered for the third time, he accepted
it, expressing his feelings by the following verses:

Although in Ei-hei's vale the shallow waters leap,
Yet thrice it came, Imperial favour deep.
The Ape may smile and laugh the Crane
At aged Monk in purple as insane.

He was never seen putting on the purple robe, being always clad in
black, that was better suited to his secluded life.






Next: The Social State Of Japan When Zen Was Established By Ei-sai And Do-gen

Previous: The Introduction Of The So-to School Of Zen



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