15 Facts About Keizan


Keizan Jokin, known as Taiso Josai Daishi, is considered to be the second great founder of the Soto school of Zen in Japan.


Keizan founded several temples during his lifetime, most notably Yoko-ji and Daihonzan Soji-ji.


Keizan spent the first eight years growing up under the care of his grandmother, Myochi, who was one of Great Master Dogen's first supporters on his return from China.


Keizan always acknowledged a great debt to this grandmother by dedicating the Kannon shrine at the temple of Yoko-ji to her memory.


Keizan praised his mother very highly in his autobiography, and even said that his mother's wishes and her constant prayers to Kannon had enabled him to become a monk, receive the Dharma transmission, and become one of the Soto Zen Ancestors.


Keizan's mother had become abbess of a Soto monastery, Joju-ji and was a teacher in her own right.


Keizan first became a novice, at the age of eight, at Eihei-ji, under the tutelage of Gikai, and he was formally ordained at age thirteen by Koun Ejo.


Keizan reached the stage of "non-backsliding" while training with Jakuen, and received dharma transmission from Tettsu Gikai at the age of thirty-two.


Keizan did succeed Gikai as the second abbot of Daijo-ji, in present-day Kanazawa.


Keizan died at Yoko-ji on the twenty-ninth day of the ninth month of 1325, at the age of fifty-eight years.


Apart from extending the appeal of Soto Zen to the rural population, Keizan made efforts to encourage the training of women in Buddhism.


Around 1323 or 1324, Keizan named Myosho, his cousin, abbess of Hoo-ji.


Keizan had a nunnery constructed near Yoko-ji and ensured that funds were allocated for its continuing survival.


Keizan named Sonin, the wife of the original donor of Yoko-ji, as a Dharma Heir ; Keizan claimed that Sonin was the reincarnation of Myochi, his grandmother.


Keizan was the author of a number of works, including "Zazen Yojinki" and, most famously, the Denkoroku, which is a series of fifty-one sermons detailing the Soto lineage from Gautama Buddha through the Indian Ancestors from Bodhidharma and the Chinese Ancestors, and finally to the Japanese Ancestors Dogen and his immediate successor at Eihei-ji, Ejo.