Ryonen Myozen had been a student of Tendai Buddhism before he came to work with Myoan Eisai and eventually became one of his heirs. In 1223, Myozen planned to travel to China with several of his own students. Before they left however, Myozen received word that his Tendai teacher was dying and had requested his former student come to see him one last time. Uncertain where his obligation lay, Myozen called his monks together and put the situation to them. Should he proceed to China to deepen his Zen practice or should he honor the debt he owed his teacher and go to his bedside? The majority of Myozen’s students felt that the master’s obligation to his teacher took priority and urged him to delay his trip to China. Only one student dissented, but his argument convinced Myozen to proceed with the trip. Myozen explained that the most efficacious way to discharge his debt to all of his teachers would be to achieve awakening for the benefit of others. He stated, “If I acquire even a trace of enlightenment, it will serve to awaken many people.”
The student whose argument convinced Ryonen to proceed to China accompanied him there. He name was Dogen Kigen.
[Ryonen Myozen – Zen Masters of Japan: 42-43]