Saturday, August 17, 2019

Last poem Essay

Dogen was greatly surprised by the fact that making a strong accent on the study of koan Chinese masters did not teach their disciples Buddhist sutras, which made the core study in Buddhist monasteries in Japan (Tanahashi, 5). Dogen’s discontent with the style of teaching became even a reason of his refusal to take Dharma transmission from one of the masters. In 1225 Dogen decided to leave Rinzai school of Chan Buddhism and started his journey in order to visit Ru-jing, whose style of Zen teaching differed from ones which disenchanted Dogen. Ru-jing was the thirteenth patriarch of Soto lineage of Zen Buddhism. During that time he lived at Tiantong Mountain in Nongbo. Soto school, presented by Ru-jing made an accent on sitting meditation, or zazen. In general it used much softer methods than Rinzai School did. Studying Zen with Ru-jing Dogen has finally reached enlightenment of mind and body. The legends state that he finally reached liberation after hearing the Master’s words: â€Å"Cast of body and mind† (Tanahashi). These words became especially meaningful for Dogen and he later used them in many his writings. As he states in one of his works: †To study the Way is to study the self. To study the self is to forget the self. To forget the self is to be enlightened by all things of the universe. To be enlightened by all things of the universe is to cast off the body and mind of the self as well as those of others. Even the traces of enlightenment are wiped out, and life with traceless enlightenment goes on forever and ever† (Kim, 195). In 1227 Dogen received Dharma transmission from Ru-jing and finally admitted that he has reached the answer for the question of all his life. Dogen was greatly influenced by his teacher Ru-jing. All Dogen’s religious philosophy is marked by two major tendencies. The first peculiarity of all Dogen’s teaching is his attachment to Buddhism tradition and second one is a strong accent on individual search. These tendencies can be traced not only in Dogens’s books but also in his lifestyle. Dogen did not reject traditional Buddhism. He only wanted people to give critical evaluation of its doctrines and principles. Dogen criticized competition among different schools of Zen because they were tiring Buddhism to pieces. He proclaimed identity of faith and believed it could have been found in Soto Zen. He did not even want to apply the name Zen for his sect and did his best to follow his teacher’s lifestyle living without attachment to anything. In 1228, after reaching enlightenment, Dogen returned to Japan. He came back to ti Kennin-ji, a monastery where he spent several years learning from Eisai and his successors. After coming back he wrote a detailed description of sitting mediation called Zazen. The manual was called Fukan Zazengi, which can be translated as â€Å"Universally Recommended Instruction for Zazen. † His teaching appealed to many people and he gathered a lot of adherents around himself. After some time he had to leave Kennin-ji because of tension, which arouse inside the Tendai community. This tensions with caused by the desire of Buddhist leaders to suppress new forms of Buddhism, including Zen. Dogen left Kinnin-ji temple in 1230 and moved to empty temple situated to the south from Kyoto in the place called Uji (Tanahashi , 40). Dogen founded small temple in this place and soon this temple grew into Kosho-Hirniji Temple. The tension between Dogen and Tangai community did not stop, though. That is one of the reasons Dogen gladly accepted Hatano Yoshishige’s proposition to relocate to Echizen province, located far from Kyoto. After relocation Dogen’s disciples built a new center for Zen practice and called it Daibutsuji Temple. Dogen later renamed this center to Eihei-ji. This temple remains one of the most popular Zen temples in modern Japan. Dogen spent all his further life living and teaching in this temple. Shogun regent Hojo Tokiyori invited Dogen to come and teach him Zen in 1247. Dogen accepted this invitation and made a long journey to Kamakura in order to meet Shogun and retuned to Eihei-ji the next year. In 1252 Dogen became seriously ill and after realizing that he was not going to recover he gave his robes to his favorite disciple Koun Ejo. This way Koun Ejo became Abbot of Eihei-ji. After appointing Koun Ejo an abbot Dogen left for Kyoto looking for remedies from his illness. The remedy was not found and Dogen died in 1953. Soon before death he wrote his last poem.

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