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The Introduction Of The So-to School Of Zen








[FN#75] This school was started by Tsing-Yuen (Sei-gen), an eminent

disciple of the Sixth Patriarch, and completed by Tsing Shan (To-zan).





Although the Rin Zai school was, as mentioned above, established by

Ei-sai, yet he himself was not a pure Zen teacher, being a Ten Dai

scholar as well as an experienced practiser of Mantra. The first

establishment of Zen in its purest form was done by Do-gen, now known

as Jo Yo Dai Shi. Like Ei-sai, he was admitted into the Hi-yei

Monastery at an early age, and devoted himself to the study of the

Canon. As his scriptural knowledge increased, he was troubled by

inexpressible doubts and fears, as is usual with great religious

teachers. Consequently, one day he consulted his uncle, Ko-in, a

distinguished Ten Dai scholar, about his troubles. The latter, being

unable to satisfy him, recommended him Ei-sai, the founder of the new

faith. But as Ei-sai died soon afterwards, he felt that he had no

competent teacher left, and crossed the sea for China, at the age of

twenty-four, in 1223. There he was admitted into the monastery of

Tien Tung Shan (Ten-do-san), and assigned the lowest seat in the

hall, simply because be was a foreigner. Against this affront he

strongly protested. In the Buddhist community, he said, all were

brothers, and there was no difference of nationality. The only way

to rank the brethren was by seniority, and he therefore claimed to

occupy his proper rank. Nobody, however, lent an ear to the poor

new-comer's protest, so he appealed twice to the Chinese Emperor Ning

Tsung (1195-1224), and by the Imperial order he gained his object.



After four years' study and discipline, he was Enlightened and

acknowledged as the successor by his master Ju Tsing (Nyo-jo died in

1228), who belonged to the Tsao Tung (So To) school. He came home in

1227, bringing with him three important Zen books.[FN#76] Some three

years he did what Bodhidharma, the Wall-gazing Brahmin, had done

seven hundred years before him, retiring to a hermitage at Fuka-kusa,

not very far from Kyo-to. Just like Bodhidharma, denouncing all

worldly fame and gain, his attitude toward the world was

diametrically opposed to that of Ei-sai. As we have seen above,

Ei-sai never shunned, but rather sought the society of the powerful

and the rich, and made for his goal by every means. But to the Sage

of Fuka-kusa, as Do-gen was called at that time, pomp and power was

the most disgusting thing in the world. Judging from his poems, be

seems to have spent these years chiefly in meditation; dwelling now

on the transitoriness of life, now on the eternal peace of Nirvana;

now on the vanities and miseries of the world; now listening to the

voices of Nature amongst the hills; now gazing into the brooklet that

was, as he thought, carrying away his image reflected on it into the

world.





[FN#76] (1) Pao King San Mei (Ho-kyo-san-mai, 'Precious Mirror

Samadhi'), a metrical exposition of Zen, by Tung Shan (To-zan,

806-869), one of the founders of the So To school. (2) Wu Wei Hien

Hueh (Go-i-ken-ketsu. 'Explanation of the Five Categories'), by Tung

Shan and his disciple Tsao Shan (So-zan). This book shows us how Zen

was systematically taught by the authors. (3) Pih Yen Tsih

(Heki-gan-shu, 'A Collection and Critical Treatment of Dialogues'),

by Yuen Wu.





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

Previous: The Establishment Of The Rin Zai School Of Zen In Japan



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