Kosho-ji, Uji.

Hi there. It is raining to-day and I felt like I needed a rest…however we took off late from the Hostel for Uji. Uji is sort of the green tea capital of Japan, from the train we saw rows of tea bushes and I’m growing used to drinking green tea. The green tea ice cream is growing on me, as it were!

At Kosho-ji Zen Master Dogen wrote some of his major works notably Fukanzazengi, and about half of the Shobogenzo as well as Daishingi and Gakudoyojinshu. I will type some information I was given while at the temple:

“Dogen returned to Japan at the age of 28, and first of all returned to the temple Kennin-ji (we will visit there tomorrow I think), but later moved to live alone in a tiny dwelling. To this place came many disciples and from this humble beginning developed the temple of Kosho-ji. During a period of 11 years of staying at Kosho-ji temple, Dogen strove to expound the principles of Buddhism, not only by direct teaching but also from four important books…..” (which are list above)

Latter in the information is the following:
“The temple has endeavored to follow and expound the Zen Buddhist teachings of Dogen and today this temple continues in this tradition. In the present difficult situation for Japanese Buddhism, this temple endeavors to continue to be true to the essence of Dogen’s interpretation of Zen Buddhism, and to exist as a Buddhist temple rather than as a tourist showplace”.

I was amazed that it was possible to walk into the shrine for Dogen, offer incense and make bows. This temple was very much ‘alive’ with practice and it did indeed feel like a temple rather than, as they put it, a tourist showplace. The setting was amazing, it being up in a wooded valley away from the town, fresh green trees in every direction. There were four monks going about their work, one was mending the paper on the sliding doors that act as walls as well as doors in Japanese buildings . We left them as they were having a tea break in the kitchen which was equipped, from what I could see through the door, in a traditional temple way.

That’s about it for to-day. My one hour of free Internet access is almost up and it is time to get back to the Hostel. Thank you to all of you who write comments, it is good to know you are there traveling along side. Now who is going to be the brave person to add there photograph to their Blogger ID. Adrienne, how about it?

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9 thoughts on “Kosho-ji, Uji.”

  1. When you said that the green tea ice cream is growing on me I hope you didn’t mean growing around your waist!!! Maybe I should keep the exercise bike at the priory???

  2. Hi Rev Mugo,

    It’s Paul from Lancaster. From your blog [still can’t get my mind round the word] I get a real sense of your trip making real connection – in the small detail and in the larger picture. Fantastic.

    It’s good to get some sense of our tradition being practised in such diverse contexts, and of the close family links, and the sense of the teaching being passed on through time. Like the pictures – they really add something. Hope you’re keeping Iain in order (but not too much order)! (you can tell him I said that).

    Take care.

    In gassho,


  3. Seeing I am travelling with you albeit in virtual mode I thought I’d better set up my own blogsite.
    I use the title Thole Man as this is what my family know me as.
    You seem to find all these small working temples, like Kosho-ji. I think the Fukanzazenji is probably the most recited scripture in lay circles; certainly at Meditation Group meetings.
    PS. A photo will appear on my blogspot once I have figured out how to do it! N.

  4. It’s really struck me this time just what a big step the move north to Echizen to eventually found Eiheiji must have been for Dogen to contemplate. From our vantage point up on Mt. Hiei today you could look over to the hills above Uji and down into the city of Kyoto – see just in one view all the places that were important to Dogen before uprooting his community from the capital area and creating a new temple in the pine forests in what was then a very remote country area

  5. Hi Rev Mugo, Would love to rise to the challenge of putting my photo on with this note, but I can’t figure out how to do it. Any clues?
    I too love Zen gardens – I based one of my rugs last year on the raked gravel ‘spirals’and looked at many images of japanese Gardens on the web. So I am looking forward to seeing photos of the ones you have seen for real.

    don’t forget to rest!

  6. A couple of people have mentioned that they would like to add their pictures to blogger comments.

    If you want set this up for yourself you need to download two free products from the internet – “Picasa2” and a related product called “Hello” (good grief!)

    It’s not hard but it’s also not immediately obvious how to use this to get pictures onto Blogger, and you need a link with a reasonable speed to download the software. When Rev. Mugo and I get home on Tuesday night I’ll prepare some notes to send to those of you who would like to try it. Please drop me an e-mail if you would like them.

    If you don’t feel up for this but would like to include your picture anyway just e-mail one to me and I’ll set it up for you. Once ‘in business’ it only takes a minute. My email address is iain@soleil.ocn.ne.jp

    in gassho

  7. Greetings,

    I own a scroll brushed by Shodo Gozan at the age of 82, when he was Abbott of Kosho Ji. Is he still alive? Do you know anything about him? Info is scarce about him.



  8. Do you have the kanji for the name of the Abbott you mention? My Japanese contact says having that would make it more possible to trace this person. You can write me via the contact ‘tab’.

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