Tuesday, 29 March 2016

Koun Ejo

                Dogen’ successor in Soto Zen came to the practice after involvement with other forms of Buddhism. In 1218, at the age of 20, he received the precepts from Master Enno of the Yokawa Tendai temple on Mount Hiei. He also studied the Shingon tradition. The monks on Mount Hiei lived comfortably and were held in high esteem. There was a hierarchy within which the monks sought to rise, accumulating social status as they did so. Ejo found himself gaining stature in this milieu and did not question it until he was challenged by his mother. She asked him pointedly: “Did you become a monk in order to be able to hobnob with the well-to-do? That’s not why I supported your desire to enter the monastery. You should not pursue these studies for the wealth or status they can bring you. My desire is that you commit yourself sincerely, practicing in poverty, without worldly ambition.”
                Ejo realized he had strayed from his original intentions. He left Mount Hiei and sought out Dogen.

[Koun Ejo – Zen Masters of Japan: 54, 63-67]

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