The Religion of the Samurai
2. History Of Zen In Japan
1. The Establishment of the Rin Zai[FN#67] School of Zen in Japan.
[FN#67] The Lin Tsi school was started by Nan Yoh, a prominent disciple of the Sixth
Patriarch, and completed by Lin Tsi or Rin Zai.
The introduction of Zen into the island empire is dated as early as the seventh
century;[FN#68] but it was in 1191 that it was first established by Ei-sai, a man of bold,
energetic nature. He crossed the sea for China at the age of twenty-eight in 1168, after his
profound study of the whole Tripitaka[FN#69] for eight years in the Hi-yei
Monastery[FN#70] the then centre of Japanese Buddhism.
[FN#68] Zen was first introduced into Japan by Do sha (629-700) as early as 653-656, at
the time when the Fifth Patriarch just entered his patriarchal career. Do-sho went over to
China in 653, and met with Huen Tsang, the celebrated and great scholar, who taught him
the doctrine of the Dharma-laksana. It was Huen Tsang who advised Do-sho to study Zen
under Hwui Man (E-man). After returning home, he built a Meditation Hall for the
purpose of practising Zen in the Gan-go monastery, Nara. Thus Zen was first transplanted
into Japan by Do-sho, but it took no root in the soil at that time.
Next a Chinese Zen teacher, I Kung (Gi-ku), came over to Japan in about 810, and under
his instruction the Empress Danrin, a most enthusiastic Buddhist, was enlightened. She
erected a monastery named Dan-rin-ji, and appointed I Kung the abbot of it for the sake
of propagating the faith. It being of no purpose, however, I Kung went back to China
after some years.
Thirdly, Kaku-a in 1171 went over to China, where he studied Zen under Fuh Hai (Buk-
kai), who belonged to the Yang Ki (Yo-gi) school, and came home after three years.
Being questioned by the Emperor Taka-kura (1169-1180) about the doctrine of Zen, he
uttered no word, but took up a flute and played on it. But his first note was too high to be
caught by the ordinary ear, and was gone without producing any echo in the court nor in
society at large.
[FN#69] The three divisions of the Buddhist canon, viz.:
(1) Sutra-pitaka, or a collection of doctrinal books. (2) Vinaya-pitaka, or a collection of
works on discipline. (3) Abhidharma-pitaka, or a collection of philosophical and
[FN#70] The great monastery erected in 788 by Sai-cho (767-822), the founder of the
Japanese Ten Dai Sect, known as Den Gyo Dai Shi.
After visiting holy places and great monasteries, he came home, bringing with him over
thirty different books on the doctrine of the Ten-Dai Sect.[FN#71] This, instead of