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The Establishment Of The Rin Zai School Of Zen In Japan








[FN#67] The Lin Tsi school was started by Nan Yoh, a prominent

disciple of the Sixth Patriarch, and completed by Lin Tsi or Rin Zai.





The introduction of Zen into the island empire is dated as early as

the seventh century;[FN#68] but it was in 1191 that it was first

established by Ei-sai, a man of bold, energetic nature. He crossed

the sea for China at the age of twenty-eight in 1168, after his

profound study of the whole Tripitaka[FN#69] for eight years in the

Hi-yei Monastery[FN#70] the then centre of Japanese Buddhism.





[FN#68] Zen was first introduced into Japan by Do sha (629-700) as

early as 653-656, at the time when the Fifth Patriarch just entered

his patriarchal career. Do-sho went over to China in 653, and met

with Huen Tsang, the celebrated and great scholar, who taught him the

doctrine of the Dharma-laksana. It was Huen Tsang who advised Do-sho

to study Zen under Hwui Man (E-man). After returning home, he built

a Meditation Hall for the purpose of practising Zen in the Gan-go

monastery, Nara. Thus Zen was first transplanted into Japan by

Do-sho, but it took no root in the soil at that time.



Next a Chinese Zen teacher, I Kung (Gi-ku), came over to Japan in

about 810, and under his instruction the Empress Danrin, a most

enthusiastic Buddhist, was enlightened. She erected a monastery

named Dan-rin-ji, and appointed I Kung the abbot of it for the sake

of propagating the faith. It being of no purpose, however, I Kung

went back to China after some years.



Thirdly, Kaku-a in 1171 went over to China, where he studied Zen

under Fuh Hai (Buk-kai), who belonged to the Yang Ki (Yo-gi) school,

and came home after three years. Being questioned by the Emperor

Taka-kura (1169-1180) about the doctrine of Zen, he uttered no word,

but took up a flute and played on it. But his first note was too

high to be caught by the ordinary ear, and was gone without producing

any echo in the court nor in society at large.



[FN#69] The three divisions of the Buddhist canon, viz.:



(1) Sutra-pitaka, or a collection of doctrinal books.

(2) Vinaya-pitaka, or a collection of works on discipline.

(3) Abhidharma-pitaka, or a collection of philosophical and

expository works.



[FN#70] The great monastery erected in 788 by Sai-cho (767-822), the

founder of the Japanese Ten Dai Sect, known as Den Gyo Dai Shi.





After visiting holy places and great monasteries, he came home,

bringing with him over thirty different books on the doctrine of the

Ten-Dai Sect.[FN#71] This, instead of quenching, added fuel to his

burning desire for adventurous travel abroad. So he crossed the sea

over again in 1187, this time intending to make pilgrimage to India;

and no one can tell what might have been the result if the Chinese

authorities did not forbid him to cross the border. Thereon he

turned his attention to the study of Zen, and after five years'

discipline succeeded in getting sanction for his spiritual attainment

by the Hu Ngan (Kio-an), a noted master of the Rin Zai school, the

then abbot of the monastery of Tien Tung Shan (Ten-do-san). His

active propaganda of Zen was commenced soon after his return in 1191

with splendid success at a newly built temple[FN#72] in the province

of Chiku-zen. In 1202 Yori-iye, the Shogun, or the real governor of

the State at that time, erected the monastery of Ken-nin-ji in the

city of Kyo-to, and invited him to proceed to the metropolis.

Accordingly he settled himself down in that temple, and taught Zen

with his characteristic activity.





[FN#71] The sect was named after its founder in China, Chi I

(538-597), who lived in the monastery of Tien Tai Shan (Ten-dai-san),

and was called the Great Teacher of Tien Tai. In 804 Den-gyo went

over to China by the Imperial order, and received the transmission of

the doctrine from Tao Sui (Do-sui), a patriarch of the sect. After

his return he erected a monastery on Mount Hi-yei, which became the

centre of Buddhistic learning.



[FN#72] He erected the monastery of Sho-fuku-ji in 1195, which is

still prospering.





This provoked the envy and wrath of the Ten Dai and the Shin

Gon[FN#73] teachers, who presented memorials to the Imperial court to

protest against his propagandism of the new faith. Taking advantage

of the protests, Ei-sai wrote a book entitled Ko-zen-go-koku-ron

('The Protection of the State by the Propagation of Zen'), and not

only explained his own position, but exposed the ignorance[FN#74] of

the protestants. Thus at last his merit was appreciated by the

Emperor Tsuchi-mikado (1199-1210), and he was promoted to So Jo, the

highest rank in the Buddhist priesthood, together with the gift of a

purple robe in 1206. Some time after this he went to the city of

Kama-kura, the political centre, being invited by Sane-tomo, the

Shogun, and laid the foundation of the so-called Kama-kura Zen, still

prospering at the present moment.





[FN#73] The Shin Gon or Mantra Sect is based on

Mahavairocanabhi-sambodhi-sutra, Vajracekhara-sutra, and other

Mantra-sutras. It was established in China by Vajrabodhi and his

disciple Amoahavajra, who came from India in 720. Ku kai (774-835),

well known as Ko Bo Dai Shi, went to China in 804, and received the

transmission of the doctrine from Hwui Kwo (Kei-ka), a, disciple of

Amoghavajra. In 806 he came back and propagated the faith almost all

over the country. For the detail see 'A Short History of the Twelve

Japanese Buddhist Sects' (chap. viii.), by Dr. Nanjo.



[FN#74] Sai-cho, the founder of the Japanese Ten Dai Sect, first

learned the doctrine of the Northern School of Zen under Gyo-hyo

(died in 797), and afterwards he pursued the study of the same faith

under Siao Jan in China. Therefore to oppose the propagation of Zen

is, for Ten Dai priests, as much as to oppose the founder of their

own sect.






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

Previous: Decline Of Zen



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