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Eihei Dogen

Eihei Dogen (1200–1253) was the founder of the Soto Zen school in Japan. Following the death of his mother when he was just seven, he became a monk at Mount Hiei, the central monastery of the Tendai school, which was the dominant Buddhist tradition in Japan at that time. But at the age of 23, unable to reconcile the prevalent teaching of "original enlightenment" with Buddhist practice—if we are all originally enlightened, what is the point of practice, he asked—Dogen left Mount Hiei to seek answers in China. There, he received dharma transmission from Rujing, a Chan master, and returned to Japan to teach.

Who Was Eihei Dogen?
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