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Buddha The Universal Life
Zen conceives Buddha as a Being, who moves, stirs, inspires, ...

Flight Of The Sixth Patriarch
On the following morning the news of what had happened during...

The Examination Of The Notion Of Self
The belief in immortality is based on the strong instinct of ...

Our Conception Of Buddha Is Not Final
Has, then, the divine nature of Universal Spirit been complet...

Introduction Of Zen Into China By Bodhidharma
An epoch-making event took place in the Buddhist history of C...

Life Change And Hope
The doctrine of Transcience never drives us to the pessimisti...

The Development Of The Southern And Of The Northern School Of Zen
After the death of the Fifth Patriarch the venerable Shang Si...

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

There Is No Mortal Who Is Purely Moral
By nature man should be either good or bad; or he should be g...

The Awakening Of The Innermost Wisdom
Having set ourselves free from the misconception of Self, nex...

Bodhidharma's Disciples And The Transmission Of The Law[fn#31]
[FN#31] For details, see Chwen Tang Luh and Den Ka Roku, b...

The Law Of Balance
Nature governs the world with her law of balance. She puts t...

The Irrationality Of The Belief Of Immortality
Occidental minds believe in a mysterious entity under the nam...

The First Step In The Mental Training
Some of the old Zen masters are said to have attained to supr...

Scripture Is No More Than Waste Paper
[FN#107] Zen is not based on any particular sutra, either of...

A Sutra Equal In Size To The Whole World
The holy writ that Zen masters admire is not one of parchment...

Man Is Both Good-natured And Bad-natured According To Yan Hiung
According to Yang Hiung and his followers, good is no less re...

Origin Of Zen In India
To-day Zen as a living faith can be found in its pure form on...

Decline Of Zen
The blooming prosperity of Zen was over towards the end of th...

Zen And Idealism
Next Zen makes use of Idealism as explained by the Dharmalaks...




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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