Eiheiji,the "temple of eternal peace,"
is one of Soto Zen'stwo head temples. It is located deep in the
mountains near the rugged west coast of Japan, not far from Fukui
Dogen zenji,the founder of Eiheiji,was born in 1200 A.D. When
he was 24, he went to China and devoted himself to true Zen practice
under the strict guidance of Nyojozenji at Mt.Tendo.After having "dropped
off both body and mind," realizing the wayof the Buddha, he returned
home in 1228. He lived at Kenninji templefor 3 years,then founded
his first temple, Kosho-Horinji, in Uji, Kyoto.
In 1244 Dogen zenji and his followers visited Shii-no-Sho in
Echizen (now Fukui Prefecture) to build a mountain temple. He
was offered land andother help for this by Yoshishige Hatano,
a samurai who was oneof his most devotedlay followers. Dogen
thus founded Eiheiji, where he devoted himselfto training his
followers in the perfection of Zen practice inevery action of
He died on September 29, 1253, leaving a number of notedbooks
including the Shobogenzo, Gakudo Yojinshu, and Eihei DaiShingi.
Dogen zenjiﾕs authentic Zen has been scrupulously observed by
his successors.Even today, both priests and lay people devote
themselves to his practice of Shikan-toza ("just sitting").