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  • Writer's pictureAkiko Murakami

Zen --the life of Zen master Dogen

OMG, I found the full movie on Youtube...! (click the above title to see)

I saw this movie with my Brazilian, Mongolian, American, Frenchh friends in Thailand.

I was quite shocked to know this movie was translated into English and everyone was interested in meditation. Until then, all I knew about Dogen was he was the simple fact that he was founder of "Soto Zen School".

Actually, Sōtō Zen or the Sōtō school (曹洞宗 Sōtō-shū) is the largest of the three traditional sects of Zen in Japanese Buddhism (the others being Rinzai and Ōbaku).

If you visit KYOTO, and you will find most famous Zen temples are of the Rinzai school.

The movie describes well the hardship and strong determination of Dogen who dedicated his life to spread a totally different way to reach enlightenment by meditation in Japan.

<History of Soto Zen >

It was during the Southern Sung period (early 13th century)that Dogen Zenji traveled to China to study the Dharma. After visiting many temples there, Dogen Zenji, at the age of 26, encountered Nyojo Zenji, the abbot of Tendosan Keitokuji and the dharma heir of the Soto Zen lineage. Because of this fortunate meeting, Dogen Zenji was able to study with Nyojo Zenji and succeed to the Authentically Transmitted Buddha Dharma that has been passed down from Shakyamuni Buddha.

Immediately after returning to Japan at the age of 28, Dogen Zenji authored A Universal Recommendation of Zazen (Fukan Zazengi) to proclaim the Authentically Transmitted Buddha Dharma.

Although the Rinzai Zen School, which also inherited one stream of Chinese Zen, had the support and belief of many powerful people, including the shogunate government and the nobility, the Soto Zen School counted adherents mainly among wealthy families in the rural districts as well as the general masses. Because of this the Soto Zen School popularized its teachings mainly in the countryside. Soto Zen School avoided connections with central power, preferring to merge with the masses and respond to the simpler needs of commoners while continuing a slow but steady course of teaching activities

(HP information from the Global Soto

<English information sites>

Upaya Zen Center in Santa Fe, New Mexico offers daily Zen meditation, weekly dharma talks, and programs on Buddhist teachings, art, neuroscience, and social engagement. We also offer professional training for end-of-life-care and Buddhist chaplaincy.


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