Category Archives: Transmission Lineage

Yoko-ji – Memorial stones

Memorial stones for past abbots and Zen Master Keizan’s grave in the distance to the right.

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Dogen Founded Eiheii-ji in 1243.

In the late summer of 1243, Dogen was invited by local disciples to establish a temple in Echizen, the province where Eiheiji is. At that time he moved his growing community of monks from the capital area of Kyoto up to a beautiful and remote mountain valley. Over the subsequent centuries, Eiheiji has expanded into one of Japan’s largest monastic communities whose main buildings and halls are tiered up steep hillsides and connected by long staircases protected against the winter snows. The climates of Shasta Abbey and Eiheiji are rather similar.

Eiheiji is now a huge international institution, accepting more than 200 new trainee monks every year. Typically they study here for a minimum of two years after university before returning to a home temple. Visitors are looked after in a large guest building with comfortable Japanese-style tatami rooms and are able to join in the schedule during their stay.
By Iain.

From left to right, Rev. Kuroyanagi (International Department), Rev. Matsunaga Roshi (Assistant Administrator), Mugo and Iain.

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Classic Meditation Hall (Sodo) at Kosho-ji.

A corridor infront of the meditation hall for late comers and visitors.

It felt like people still meditate here and it was the place most drawn to sit formally in. Although these are not the original buildings from Zen Master Dogen’s time the sense of the ‘aliveness’ of the meditation that he lived and taught here was palpible. Yes that aliveness was every where present throughout the building complex and gardens.

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Kenninji – Dogen Zenji in Kyoto.

Kenninji is very close to Kyoto’s main shopping centre, just to the east of the river and south of the Gion entertainment district. It’s not one of Kyoto’s best-known temples but it provides an oasis of peace in the centre of the city. Founded by Eisai in 1192 it was the first place in the capital that taught Zen and is still an important temple for the Rinzai school.

Today Kenninji consists of groups of traditional and austere buildings surrounded by some classic Zen gardens. On the ceiling of the meditation hall, there are some fine pictures of circling dragons.

Dogen probably first came to Kenninji in 1214 and came to study there under Myozen between 1217 and 1223. He was also based at the temple for three years when he returned from China.

Main Hall.

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On the second to last day of visiting Dharma relatives and temples associated with my spiritual ancestry, we visited the temple where Rev. Master Jiyu-Kennett spend a few years running a temple in the small village of Hagino in Mie-ken. It is just off Highway 43, 10 km NW of Tsu.

The village Head Man met our bus at the highway on his bike and escorted us through the rice fields to the temple.

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