Zen Master – Dogen Kigen


About Zen and Zazen Meditation HERE.

Dogen Kigen (19 January 1200 – 22 September 1253) was born into a family of Japanese nobles and was a descendant (9th generation) of Emperor Murakami. His mother died when he was 7.

He was a Buddhist monk, writer, poet, founder of the Soto school, of Zen Buddhism in Japan, and also widely accepted as one of the most valuable philosophers that Japan had.

Being part of one of the branches of the influential Minamoto family, he leaves home at the age of 12, to the Tendai monastery, near Mount Hiei.

Not satisfied with the teaching of the monastery, and after searching for a master for six years, he will finally meet Master Myozen.
Along with this scholar, at the age of 23, Dogen will set off for China, where he will stay for four years.

Back in Japan he dedicated the rest of his life to implanting the elements of Soto Zen Buddhism here. Shortly after his return, he wrote Universally Recommended Instructions in Zen”.

What distinguished the Soto Zen school from the other Zen schools was that it placed great emphasis on practicing zazen static meditation, with Dogen going so far as to identify this practice with Nirvana.

Dogen was known for his extensive writings, including his famous work, Shōbōgenzō, composed of 95 texts.

Dogen is the author of important treatises that have underpinned the doctrine and practice of Zen and laid the foundations for a monastic life dedicated to authentic Buddhism.

He spent his last years in the Temple of Eihei-ji. He died in Kyoto on 28 August 1253.

The fundamental principles of Zen Soto:

  • practice is aimless and non-objective (mushotoku);
  • abandonment of body and mind (shin jin datsu raku);
  • practice itself is satori (shusho ishinyo).

About Zen and Zazen Meditation HERE.

In 2009 the film Zen appears

This adaptation of Dogen’s life, a masterpiece, is almost a meditation in itself.

We can watch the film here (with subtitles in Romanian)


Here watching with English subtitles.

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