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Dogen’s Birthday
Dogen’s Birthday

Fri, Jan 26


Location is TBD

Dogen’s Birthday

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Time & Location

Jan 26, 2024, 5:00 AM – 11:55 PM

Location is TBD

About the event

Eihei Dogen, the founder of the Soto Zen school in Japan, was born on this day in 1200; his writings continue to shape Buddhist practice.

This was during the Kamakura Period of Japanese history, the year following the death of Minamoto Yoritomo.

For parallel history knowledge: King John was on the throne of England and Philip II that of France. Pope Innocent III was the head of the Catholic Church.

In America construction began on the Grand Village of the Natchez near Natchez, Mississippi.

It is said that Dogen's father was Koga Michichika, a government minister, and that his mother was Ishi, the daughter of Fujiwara Motofusa.

Presumably, young Dogen Zenji lived in comfort. However, at the age of thirteen, he climbed Mt. Hiei, and the next year he shaved his head and became a monk. It is said that he became a monk because he felt the impermanence of the world on his mother’s death when he was eight years old.

As the founder of our school of Zen Buddhism, we would like to offer gratitudes to our ancestor; who originally ordained as a monk in the Tendai School in Kyoto.

Ultimately dissatisfied with its teaching, he traveled to China to seek out what he believed to be a more authentic Buddhism.

He remained there for four years, finally training under Tiantong Rujing, an eminent teacher of the Caodong lineage of Chinese Chan.

Upon his return to Japan, he began promoting the practice of zazen (sitting meditation) through literary works such as Fukanzazengi and Bendōwa.

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