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徹通義介 Tettsū Gikai (1219-1309)


Born to a branch of the Fujiwara clan in the province of Echizen, Gikai was originally one of the disciples of Ekan of the Daruma-shû school. When that school was persecuted, Ekan and several of his disciples, including Gikai, joined Dogen's community at Kôshôji. Later, at Eiheiji, he occupied the key monastic role of temple cook (jap. tenzo), and there received transmission from Ekan in 1251. After the death of Dôgen, Ejô conferred his own transmission on Gikai in 1255. Gikai may have then traveled for a few years, including to China. On his return to Eiheiji, he erected new buildings and introduced new rituals. In 1267, Gikai succeeded Ejô as third abbot, but a conflict emerged with his fellows concerning his duel lineage. Finally, Gikai was forced to depart after five years spent as the head of Eiheiji. He lived many years thereafter with his mother, in a hermitage not far from Eiheiji. Later, he converted a monastery of the Shingon school into a Zen monastery, Daijôji, which was officially opened in 1293.




Richard Bryan McDaniel: Zen Masters of Japan. The Second Step East. Rutland, Vermont: Tuttle Publishing, 2013.

Ejo recognized Gikai as his own heir because he believed that Dogen would have wanted him to do so. However, although Ejo was aware of the respect Dogen had had for Gikai, Ejo himself had some reservations about him. He suspected that, like many of the former Daruma School members, Gikai held beliefs, in particular about the so-called esoteric or ritual practices, which were inconsistent with what Ejo understood to be Dogen’s Zen. Ejo reminded Gikai that zazen was the singular focus of Dogen’s teaching. Ejo knew there were members of the sangha at Eiheiji who did not believe that zazen was necessarily the only appropriate form of practice, so he questioned Gikai about where he stood on the issue. Gikai admitted that, while he valued the practice of zazen, he believed there were other disciplines that could be just as valuable to one’s religious development. Ejo pressed the issue, and Gikai at least gave the impression that his opinion was swayed.

To deepen Gikai’s understanding of Zen, Ejo encouraged him to go on a tour of other monasteries in Japan. Gikai went even further and, on his own initiative but with Ejo’s permission, traveled to China as well. He was impressed by the depth of the established Zen tradition and its trappings in the Land of Song and was awed by both the architecture and the furnishings of the temples he visited. He made detailed copies of the architectural designs of these sites and collected cultic items to bring back to Japan.

When Gikai returned to Eiheiji, Ejo appointed him abbot and retired. Ejo settled in a hermitage not far from the temple, hoping to pass his final days in solitude; however, some of his former students, uncomfortable with Gikai, visited Ejo on a regular basis. It soon became clear that there was a division between a group of monks who supported Gikai and another group that wanted Ejo to return. Gikai, this latter group complained, was less interested in the spiritual development of the monks than he was in transforming Eiheiji architecturally and making it a place of elaborate shrines. He also had never wholly given up his belief that zazen was not necessarily the only appropriate practice, and ritual elements were gradually being introduced into the monks’ daily schedule of activities. There were also questions raised about a subsidiary temple he had built for the care of his mother.

In 1272, the faction that opposed Gikai persuaded Ejo to return and resume the position of Abbot. Gikai withdrew his claim to the post rather than cause further divisions within the community, although he remained at Eiheiji and continued to work with Ejo.

Ejo tried to reconcile the divisions that had arisen at Eiheiji, but went to his death feeling that he had failed to do so and, thus, had failed in his responsibilities to his teacher, Dogen.

Just before he died, Ejo commanded his students not to build a memorial pagoda for him but simply to bury him at the foot of Dogen’s pagoda.


After Ejo’s death, Gikai was returned to the position of Abbot, but the divisions within the community remained unresolved. For the traditionalists, the final straw came when Gikai complied with a government request that Shingon rituals be carried out at Eiheiji for the benefit of the country.

The Government directive had come about because they sought divine aid in their efforts to resist the intentions of the Mongol leader, Kublai Khan, to add Japan to his vast conquests. The Khan had already taken control of both China and Korea. Eight years earlier he had sent a number of delegations to the Japanese isles demanding that they too acknowledge his leadership. After hearing what the first messengers had to say, the Japanese prevented later delegations from landing on the island of Honshu.

In 1274, when Ejo was serving his second term as abbot of Eiheiji, the offended Khan mobilized a fleet of more than 500 ships and an army of 40,000 soldiers to conquer the impudent Land of Wa. The Japanese defense force was considerably smaller, estimated at no more than 10,000 samurai.

When the Mongol forces landed in November, the samurai fought valiantly in what was clearly a hopeless cause. After the first day of battle, the samurai withdrew from the beachhead to rest and recover their strength. They fully intended to resume the fight in the morning, although it was almost certain they would be annihilated.

However, during the night, the Mongol forces reboarded their ships and sailed out into the bay because the sailors were afraid that the high winds that had arisen might drive their ships onto shore and ground them. That decision was a grave error; the Mongol fleet sailed directly into the path of a typhoon that sank a third of the boats, drowning their crews and passengers. The remaining vessels were heavily damaged and forced to retreat back to China.

The Japanese believed that the wind—which they termed “Kamikaze” or “divine wind”—was evidence that the old Shinto gods still protected the isles. Seven years later, during Gikai’s second term as abbot of Eiheiji, the Japanese learned that Kublai Khan was preparing a second invasion of their homeland. This time the Khan had amassed a force five times larger than the previous one—two fleets of more than 4000 ships and an estimated 140,000 soldiers. In the face of this armada, government officials ordered all Buddhist Temple to perform rites for the protection of the country. The rites probably had little to do with it, but once again the Khan’s forces were destroyed by a typhoon. After this second defeat, he gave up his intentions to subjugate the archipelago.

In spite of the national emergency, the traditional forces at Eiheiji resisted the inclusion of Shingon rites at their temple. Gikai, on the other hand, believed that not only should they comply with the government request but that by adding these ritual elements the Soto School would be likely to become more popular with the Japanese laity. Those in disagreement with him, however, held that Master Dogen would never have approved of these changes. There were strong feelings on both sides of the issues, and violence broke out between Gikai’s supporters and his opposers. Gikai fled the temple in remorse over the conflict he had caused and possibly in fear of his own safety.



Everyone bound by karma,
speaking of a Buddha-mind "within".

Tied up by this
I couldn't find it.

Finally tracked it down,
showing itself as me.

Translated by Yasuda Joshu and Anzan Hoshin



Gikai: The Founder of Daijōji
In: DOC: Sōtō Zen in Medieval Japan > PDF
by William M. Bodiford
Kuroda Institute Studies in East Asian Buddhism 8. Honolulu: University of Hawai‘i Press, 1993, 368 p.

Gikai played a crucial role in the early history of the Japanese Sōtō school. Not only did his line prevail over those of Dōgen's other disciples with its strong regional growth, but he was also influential in many early developments. 1 His strong local ties to Echizen must have contributed to Dōgen's decision to move his community to that province. After Dōgen's death Gikai's efforts to complete the construction of Eiheiji and to introduce new monastic rituals won him accolade as the "reviver" of Eiheiji (Eihei chūkō). 2 His moving to Kaga marked the expansion of Sōtō into northeastern Japan. Finally, among his disciples he produced Keizan Jōkin, who ranks almost equal to Dōgen as an object of religious veneration in the modern Sōtō school.
Gikai had deep roots in the Echizen area. He was born of a family claiming descent from General Fujiwara Toshihito (fl. 915), in the rural hamlet of Inazu. 3 This branch of the Fujiwara had been active in Echizen as early as the ninth century, where their scions subsequently had formed many local warrior families. The Fujiwara family that had adopted the lineage name Inazu, in particular, had produced many of the leading monks at Heisenji. This temple, located about twenty-five kilometers from Eiheiji, served as the embarkation point for worshipers of Hakusan (the White Mountain). Heisenji was the most prominent Tendai temple in Echizen, alternately allied with both of the two rival centers of Japanese Tendai, Mt. Hiei and Onjōji. Moreover, the Inazu family had intermarried with the Hatano family, the principal patrons of Eiheiji. This might be one reason for the close relationship that Gikai later was able to enjoy with Hatano Yoshishige, Yoshishige's son Tokimitsu, and Yoshishige's grandson Shigemichi. 4
Gikai began his religious life at age twelve (1231) when he was tonsured by Ekan at Hajakuji, then located near the future site of Eiheiji. A year after his tonsure, Gikai journeyed to the Tendai center at Mt. Hiei,
where he received a formal ordination based on the Tendai precepts. Gikai's length of stay and course of study at Mt. Hiei are unknown. Under Ekan, Gikai's training in the Darumashū reportedly consisted of doctrinal study of the three main Pure Land sūtras, the so-called Śūraṅgama Sūtra (Ryōgonkyō, a scripture compiled in China), and practices intended to induce the Zen enlightenment experience known as the direct perception of reality (kenshō). 5 This Buddhist background parallels what we know of Ejō, who also had been ordained on Mt. Hiei, had studied Pure Land doctrines, and then had strived to attain the direct perception of reality. Ejō reportedly had succeeded in attaining such an insight while listening to lectures on the Śūraṅgama by Kakuan, Ekan's teacher. 6
In 1241 Gikai accompanied Ekan and other members of the Darumashū who joined Dōgen's community at Kōshōji. Gikai evidently had little difficulty in the transition from Ekan to Dōgen. At Kōshōji he attained his first glimpse of Zen enlightenment. According to Keizan, it occurred when Gikai heard Dōgen explain one abstract statement by means of juxtaposing it with a concrete example. Dōgen first cited a scriptural passage, "The phenomena of the mundane world abide forever," 7 and then explained: "Spring glows with the redness of hundreds of flowers; Partridges cry from willows." 8
In 1243, just two years after joining Dōgen's community, Gikai assumed the duties of chief cook (tenzo). It was the winter just after the move to Echizen. He was responsible both for securing a supply of food and for preparing all the meals. The early histories claim that Gikai did this all alone, even though at Kippōji (the rural hermitage where they waited out the winter) he had to walk eight chō across windy mountain paths, through deep snow, carrying buckets of supplies for each day's two meals. 9 Gikai's knowledge of the local area no doubt was of great assistance in securing suitable supplies for the community of monks. His appointment to the duties of cook also indicates the high esteem that Gikai had already attained in Dōgen's eyes, since according to Dōgen the duties of monastic cook could be met only by the most earnest of monks. 10
While Gikai won Dōgen's confidence, he also remained the personal disciple of his Darumashū teacher, Ekan. This dual role resulted from the contradiction underlying Ekan's position among Dōgen's disciples. On the one hand, Ekan's move from Hajakuji to Kōshōji in 1241 indicated his acceptance of Dōgen as his new master. Dōgen's introduction to Japan of the traditional Chinese-style meditation platform and his teaching of Chinese-style Zen meditation ritual centered on life in a monks' hall (sōdō) had already attracted widespread attention among both monks and laymen. This emphasis on practice greatly differed from the
naturalistic antinomianism taught within the Darumashū. Therefore, entering Kōshōji represented a true conversion for Ekan and his followers. At Eiheiji, Ekan served as supervisor of the monks' hall (shuso). 11 Late in life Ekan openly revealed his devotion to Dōgen when he lamented his never having inherited Dōgen's dharma lineage. 12
Yet, on the other hand, Ekan had already inherited a Darumashū dharma lineage from his original teacher, Kakuan, before joining Dōgen. This presented Ekan with a dilemma. Loyalty to his original lineage demanded that he find a suitable successor. Therefore, in 1251, when Ekan realized that he would soon die without ever inheriting Dōgen's lineage, he gave his own Darumashū lineage to Gikai. Ekan further exhorted Gikai to obtain the Sōtō dharma lineage that had eluded him (Ekan), since he believed that Gikai's inheriting of Dōgen's dharma lineage would bring merit not just to Gikai but also to himself. 13
Gikai's final conversations with Dōgen and his inheriting of Dōgen's Sōtō lineage through Ejō are described in detail in a record supposedly written by Gikai himself, usually known as the Eihei kaisan goyuigon kiroku (Record of the Final Words of the Founder of Eiheiji). 14 This text, however, must be interpreted cautiously. There are difficulties in accepting both its reported historical transmission and its content. Supposedly, Gikai's original manuscript had been copied by Giin, whose reproduction was then recopied by Daichi in 1326. The earliest extant manuscripts, however, go back no earlier than Menzan Zuihō's copy of 1753. 15
Menzan had no misgivings over arbitrarily revising the texts that he copied. For example, Menzan's edition of the early Sōtō history by Kenzei, the Teiho Kenzeiki (1753)—until recently the only version of Kenzei's history widely available—differs considerably from older manuscript versions, all of which are fairly consistent with each other. Likewise, Menzan's published text of Dōgen's Hōkyōki contains nearly 260 emendations. Doubts regarding the history of the Goyuigon text also are raised about its supposed transmission to Giin. His possession of a copy of Gikai's record of the dharma transmission rituals cannot be accounted for unless Giin had been Gikai's dharma heir—a position advocated by Menzan, but now regarded as doubtful. One thus cannot have complete confidence either that the manuscript discovered by Menzan was exactly as Gikai had written it, or that Menzan's recopying was faithful. Yet there is little doubt that some form of the Goyuigon originated with Gikai since another document in Gikai's own handwriting refers to the existence of such a chronicle. 16
In content, the Goyuigon occasionally assumes the character of an apologia. This day-by-day chronicle of Gikai's progress toward dharma transmission clearly had been compiled in order to assert the greater legitimacy of Gikai's line above all others. Quotations attributed to
Dōgen and Ejō emphasize Gikai's unique closeness to Ekan, Dōgen, and Ejō. First, Dōgen is quoted as praising Ekan's devotion to Buddhism and commending Gikai's good fortune in having received Ekan's succession certificate (shisho). 17 Dōgen expresses condolences for Ekan's failure to inherit the Sōtō lineage. 18 Then Ejō quotes Dōgen's praise of Ekan's good judgment in selecting Gikai as his successor. 19 In Gikai's final conversations with Dōgen, he praises Ekan directly for his correct manners in secular affairs and his strong commitment to Buddhism. 20 Dōgen repeatedly entreats Gikai to supervise Eiheiji and to sustain the Buddhism that Dōgen had established there. He assures Gikai of his future reception of a Sōtō succession certificate. 21 Dōgen is also quoted, while preparing for his final trip to Kyoto for medical treatment, as promising Gikai: "If I live longer, when I return I will certainly teach my secret treasure (hizō) to you." 22 In this way, Gikai underscores his rights to inherit both Dōgen's lineage and the abbotship of Eiheiji.
Finally, the transmission of Zen from Dōgen to Ejō and from Ejō to Gikai is stressed. Ejō is quoted as asserting that of all of Dōgen's disciples, he alone had been instructed in the rituals for transmitting the succession certificate, that he alone had been initiated in the secret oral instructions on how to manage a temple and transmit the dharma. 23 At the end of the document, Ejō expresses satisfaction at having Gikai as his first dharma heir. He admits that he can now die without regrets after having initiated Gikai and goes on to state that even if he attains other heirs, no one in addition to Gikai will receive a "text" (hon). 24
In addition to emphasizing the preeminence of Gikai's lineage, the Goyuigon also contains passages that raise questions regarding the supposed monolithic character of early Sōtō practice. Four conversations, two with Dōgen and two with Ejō, present views of early Sōtō teachings that modern Sōtō advocates would disavow. First, the chronicle begins with Dōgen declaring his approval of Gikai's Darumashū lineage. He assures Gikai that once he (Gikai) also inherits the Sōtō lineage, he will understand the differences between the Sōtō succession certificate and those used in other Zen lineages. 25 These assertions contradict the orthodoxy of exclusive, personal dharma transmission that was established in the 1700s by Sōtō reformers based on the "Shisho" (Succession Certificate) and "Menju" (Face-to-Face Transmission) chapters of Dōgen's Shōbō genzō. 26 The Darumashū lineage—one that originated in Japan, but purported to have been derived from a Chinese teacher—failed to meet the criteria of a physical face-to-face bonding between Zen teacher and dharma heir (menju shihō). Moreover, by encouraging Gikai to inherit both Darumashū and Sōtō lineages, Dōgen violated the principle that one can properly inherit only one teacher's lineage (isshi inshō).
In a subsequent conversation, Dōgen stressed the importance of satisfying the temple's secular sponsors: "If the temple's patrons are at ease (annon) then within the temple there will be ease." 27 This statement directly contradicts the otherworldly image depicted in Ejō's Zuimonki, in which Dōgen severely rebukes one monk for having suggested that having a steady sponsor would improve the monks' ability to practice Buddhism. 28 The Zuimonki further quotes Dōgen as proclaiming: "People in this age think that the carving of images and the erecting of temples is the flourishing of Buddhism. This too is not so.... Monks do not cause Buddhism to flourish by engagement in these activities. For [monks] in a thatched hut or under a tree, merely to reflect on one phrase of the dharma, or to practice a single moment of seated meditation would be the true flourishing of Buddhism." 29 The strong contrast between the linking of temple with patron in the Goyuigon and the idealist emphasis on practice alone in the Zuimonki forces one to ask which Dōgen, Gikai's or Ejō's, is more accurate. 30
The Goyuigon's record of conversations with Ejō raises additional questions. During the dharma transmission ceremony Ejō states: "There are secret affairs and oral initiations. These matters that never have been spoken of to anyone else, concern the mental attitude of an abbot, temple rituals, the ceremony for conferring the succession certificate, and the procedure for bodhisattva-precept ordinations. [Dōgen had said:] 'These can be transmitted only to one's dharma heir.' For this reason only I, Ejō, have received this instruction." 31 The learning of ritual always requires personal instruction, but a similar emphasis on secret initiations is not found in any of Dōgen's writings. Dōgen's composition of a Shōbō genzō chapter devoted to describing the use of the succession certificate demonstrates his openness regarding the rituals of dharma transmission. 32 If Ejō spoke these words, then the origins of the secret initiation rituals that became prevalent in medieval Sōtō Zen can be traced back much earlier than generally accepted. 33
The final exceptional passage in the Goyuigon concerns the content of Zen enlightenment and its relationship to kōan training. Gikai prefaces this conversation with Ejō by stating: "During the prior meditation period, I was aided by our former teacher's great enlightenment situation, the shinjin datsuraku words." 34 In this statement, the term translated as "situation" (innen, literally "relationship") refers to the circumstances under which Zen enlightenment occurs. It is often used as a synonym for "story" or kōan, while the term translated as "words" (wa) is also a synonym for kōan. In modern Sōtō, shinjin datsuraku refers to the practice of meditation as the experience of ultimate reality. In this passage, however, the words "shinjin datsuraku" represent a stock
phrase or device (i.e., an "old example," kosoku or kōan) for contemplation during meditation. This use of shinjin datsuraku as a formal meditation device is confirmed by the fact that Ejō then tested Gikai's understanding by asking him to present an "appended phrase" (jakugo, i.e., a passage from a Chinese Zen text summing up the meaning of a kōan). Their dialogue is as follows:
Gikai: I have attained an insight based on our former teacher's saying,
"Shinjin datsuraku."
Ejō: Good. Good. What do you understand?
Gikai: I understand "datsuraku shinjin."35
Ejō: What is the meaning?
Gikai: "I had thought only (my) barbarian beard was red, but here is
another red-bearded barbarian." 36
Ejō: Among the many permitted [answers to] shinjin [datsuraku], there is
this kind of shinjin. 37
This conversation has been quoted in full because it reveals three practices usually thought to be incongruous with the method of Zen practiced in early Sōtō. It implies that Gikai had been occupied with Dōgen's words during his meditation; that Ejō used kōan instruction as part of the dharma succession process; and that formal quotations of stereotyped expressions were used to test the understanding of the kōan. Modern Sōtō scholars cannot accept the Goyuigon account at face value, because to do so would force them either to revise their usual interpretation of Dōgen's Zen as a religion of unmediated meditation or to attempt to argue that both Ejō and Gikai had failed to understand Dōgen's teachings.
Regardless of how we are to judge the Goyuigon's doctrinal implications, it remains extremely significant because it depicts the early Sōtō school in transition. The Goyuigon directly links Dōgen and Ejō with three trends that became predominant in medieval Sōtō: the ascendancy of Gikai's line, an emphasis on patron-based, temple Buddhism, and an emphasis on secret initiations in kōan training.
Further significance lies in the fact that the Goyuigon is the earliest known record of Zen dharma transmission procedures. Its value as a source for investigating this Zen ceremony cannot be overlooked. There are no other early Japanese or Chinese records of the means by which formal succession is enacted. Until recently Japanese Zen succession practices have been shrouded in utmost secrecy. The origins of many of the documents and ceremonial of current Japanese Sōtō succession rituals are very obscure. It is extremely difficult if not impossible to determine the degree to which current practices compare to those of historical times or how Japanese practices compare to Chinese ones.

Gikai's Dharma Succession

As described in the Goyuigon, Gikai's dharma inheritance occurred step by step. In the first month of 1254 Ejō began instructing Gikai in the use of special regalia. Nearly a year later, on the twenty-third of the twelfth month, Ejō first showed Gikai a succession certificate and began teaching him the dharma transmission (denbō) ceremony. Three weeks later, on the thirteenth day of the new year, 1255, that dharma transmission ceremony was enacted when Ejō formally bestowed Gikai's succession certificate. Yet Ejō did not teach the precept ordination (jukai) rituals to Gikai until one month later, on the thirteenth of the second month. Only on the following day, the fourteenth, did Ejō announce the completion of the dharma succession. Therefore, the series of initiations required a minimum of two whole months.
The second noticeable feature of the transmission procedure is the sequence of instruction. First Ejō began instructing Gikai in succession procedures (1254:12), afterwards Gikai attained his insight into the meaning of shinjin datsuraku (1255:1:7), one week later the succession certificate was presented (1254:1:13), and last Ejō taught Gikai the ceremonies for administering the bodhisattva precepts (1255:2:13). Note that the dharma transmission concluded only after the precept ordination procedures had been passed down. This sequence implies the existence of an inherent unity between instruction in precept ceremonial and dharma transmission. Only certified successors would be taught how to induct new monks into the Sōtō School. 38 Also note that if Gikai's shinjin datsuraku insight represented the point at which he attained enlightenment under Ejō, as stated by Gikai's disciple Keizan, 39 then the Goyuigon has the dharma transmission being initiated even before Gikai's enlightenment had occurred. Or this sequence could imply that initiation into the meaning of special kōan occurred as part of the dharma transmission process.
Apart from Gikai's insight into shinjin datsuraku, an alternate interpretation of Gikai's spiritual development as depicted in the Goyuigon is also possible. Kuromaru Kanji has noted a link between Gikai's concluding statements in the Goyuigon, proclaiming his confidence in Dōgen's Buddhism, and Dōgen's final admonitions to Gikai eighteen months earlier, which appear in the Goyuigon. 40 The fact that the Goyuigon contains any criticisms of Gikai by Dōgen is surprising in light of the document's overall favorable emphasis on Gikai. Yet the Goyuigon records that on three occasions Dōgen warned Gikai to develop more "grandmotherly mindfulness" (rōbashin). 41 In his Tenzo kyōkun, Dōgen had also stressed the importance of this mental attitude, describing it in terms of a parent's selfless devotion: "Unmindful of their own expenses, they
think only of their child's development; unmindful of their own chills or fever, they cover or shade their child." 42 Gikai, having served as monastic cook, must have known the importance Dōgen placed on selfless striving. At first glance, there seems to be no apparent reason for his having recorded Dōgen's reprimands. Gikai, however, underlined their significance by writing in the Goyuigon: "I will not forget these admonitions even though I do not yet know their cause" 43
A clue indicating that cause lies in the conversation between Gikai and Ejō condemning the antinomianism of the Darumashū that I cited earlier (see chapter 2). As related in the Goyuigon, some Darumashū monks had taught that any action, even the mere lifting of a hand or moving of a leg, embodies Buddhism. This interpretation of enlightenment as naturalistic freedom directly challenged the ethical basis of Buddhism. As we saw above, Ejō rejected these Darumashū ideas with harsh condemnation. About three weeks later Gikai finally informed Ejō of his new confidence in Dōgen's teachings:
This past year or so, I have been reflecting on the lectures I heard given by our former teacher [Dōgen]. Even though I heard all of them from our former teacher, now they are different [in meaning] than at first. This difference concerns [the assertion that] the Buddhism transmitted by our teacher is [the correct] performance of one's present monastic tasks. Even though I had heard that Buddhist ritual is Buddhism, in my heart I privately felt that true Buddhism must reside apart from this. Recently, however, I have changed my views. I now know that monastic ritual and deportment themselves are that true Buddhism. Even if apart from these, there also is the infinite Buddhism of the Buddhas and patriarchs, still it all is the very same Buddhism. I have attained true confidence in this profound principle that apart from the lifting of an arm or the moving of a leg within one's Buddhist deportment there can be no other reality. 44
Gikai realized that there is a crucial difference between the idea that Buddhism encompasses all actions and the teaching that every action must be performed as Buddhism. The monks criticized by Ejō had believed that no rules of behavior should be followed because our inherent enlightenment encompasses all actions, even evil deeds. In contrast to their view, Dōgen taught that the Zen monastic routines express our inherent enlightenment. Seen from the outside, in both cases the lifting of an arm or moving of a leg appears the same, but the religious meanings expressed by these actions differ completely. Gikai's realization that there can be no Buddhism separate from one's wholehearted participation in monastic life finally resolved the "kōan" presented by Dōgen's admonitions for his lack of grandmotherly mindfulness. For Dōgen this grandmotherly mindfulness entailed not just a kind concern for others but also a single-minded devotion to Buddhism. In the Tenzo kyōkun cited above, Dōgen wrote: "Be as mindful of the Three Treasures [i.e., the Buddha, his teachings, and his order of monks] as [a parent] would
be mindful of an only child." Gikai's awakening to this actualization of Buddhism within daily activities probably helps explain why his successors never emphasized the textual study of Dōgen's writings. Although Gikai did occasionally refer to Dōgen's Shōbō genzō in instructing his disciples, for him Buddhism was expressed by actions, not by words.
Concern with Zen monastic ritual also marked the next major event in Gikai's career: the completion of Eiheiji's buildings and the expansion of its monastic codes. During Dōgen's lifetime Eiheiji comprised only a few buildings. 45 After his death, at first no one knew either the proper design or the correct use of the then-unbuilt monastic structures. Gikai assumed the task of acquiring that information. An early history depicts Ejō as ordering Gikai to bring back a record of the latest monastic code in use at Ching-te ssu (the monastery where Dōgen had studied under Ju-ching) as well as the regulations in use at other major Chinese monasteries. According to this account, Ejō told Gikai that his efforts to build a flourishing Eiheiji would not only repay his debts of gratitude to Dōgen but would also fulfill the wishes of Dōgen's former teachers, Ju-ching and Eisai. 46
This statement, while not necessarily Ejō's exact words, reveals two attitudes in the early Eiheiji community: a desire to emphasize links to Chinese Ch'an and an acceptance of Eisai as a proper role model. The reference to Eisai as justification for Gikai's activities indicates that a sharp distinction between Eisai and Dōgen was not as readily apparent to early Sōtō monks as it seems to be for modern scholars. In searching for formative influences on the indigenous character of Sōtō, most scholars have focused exclusively on Dōgen and the Darumashū. But the influence of the Buddhist traditions represented by Eisai and Myōzen should not be minimized. Dōgen had criticized many types of practice, including ones associated with the Darumashū and with Eisai. 47 Yet when speaking of Eisai and Myōzen by name, Dōgen voiced only praise. It is doubtful if Dōgen's criticisms of particular practices could have overshadowed his words of personal praise. 48
Gikai attempted to ensure his safe return from China by carving, but not decorating, wooden images of two esoteric Buddhist divinities. Instead of immediately adorning the images, Gikai attempted to attain the assistance and protection of these divinities during his trip to China in exchange for his promise to properly ornament and consecrate the images on his safe return to Japan. Gikai also vowed that in the event of his drowning at sea he would in his next life complete his task and ornament the images. The images that Gikai carved were of two bodhisattvas found within the Taizō (Womb) maṇḍala: Nyoirin Kannon (i.e., Skt. Avalokiteśvara—with a wish-fulfilling jewel) and Kokūzō (Skt. Ākāśagarbha). 49 Each of these bodhisattvas was believed to ward off harm.
Of the two, however, Kokūzō attracts our immediate attention since
the tradition of meditation on this bodhisattva dates back to the Jinenchishū of Nara times. Gikai's disciple Keizan also enshrined images of Kannon and Kokūzō along with Shaka (Skt. Śākyamuni) at Yōkōji, the temple he later founded in Noto. 50 Gikai's belief in the magical effectiveness of traditional Buddhist formulae is significant only because it seems typical of Dōgen's other disciples—and of the population at large. The Gosho, for example, also includes the text of a magical chant (Skt. dhāraṇī) presumably taught by Senne and Kyōgō for relieving toothaches. 51
Gikai is said to have spent more than three years in China, from 1259 to 1262, where he probably toured the major state-supported monasteries, studying Chinese ritual practices. 52 Details of his travels are unknown. In fact, there is no hard proof that he ever journeyed outside of Japan. Gikai would have had difficulty financing a voyage to China because of his lack of status as a rural monk without strong family connections in either the capital or Kamakura. The only mention of Gikai's travels is Keizan's report that Yen-ch'i Kuang-wen (1189-1263)—a well‐ known master of the Ta-hui line—had exhorted Gikai to promote Sōtō Zen in Japan. 53

The Completion of Eiheiji

After returning to Eiheiji, Gikai was responsible for the construction of new buildings and the introduction of new rituals. 54 The new structures consisted of a mountain gate (sanmon) and the two walled corridors that lead away from the gate at right angles on either side. With the gate and walls in place, Eiheiji assumed the appearance of a true monastery with enclosed grounds separated from the secular world. This gate would also have housed various devotional images in its second story. 55 The images known to have been enshrined by Gikai included the three main images in the Buddha Hall (presumably, Śākyamuni Buddha with two bodhisattvas), images of the local guardian spirits (dojijin), and images of three Zen patriarchs. Because both the shrines for the guardian spirits and for the patriarchs are attached on either side of the Buddha Hall, where the main images also reside, Gikai probably had to construct this building as well. The new rituals codified by Gikai included four ceremonies: seasonal sūtra chanting (shisetsu raigi), the sounding of the twenty-five divisions of the night (shogo kōten), after-meals sūtra chanting (shukuha fugin), and enrollment of newly arrived monks (kata gishiki). Gikai's introductions of new sūtra chanting ceremonies and of a new shrine dedicated to the guardian spirits of the monastery are often cited as major breaks with what some scholars idealistically portray as Dōgen's "pure Zen" (i.e., an emphasis on meditation alone). 56
It is an exaggeration, however, to see these events as the beginnings of a trend toward esoteric or "corrupt" Buddhism. The shrine for guardian spirits as well as the special prayers to be offered in their presence already appeared in the oldest extant Chinese Ch'an monastic code, the Ch'anyüan ch'ing-kuei. 57 Dōgen had also described the ritual prayers of thanks offered to the guardian spirits in his Shōbō genzō chapter "Ango," which explains how to conduct the summer training session. 58 More than once Dōgen instructed the monastic cook to recite scripture as a prayer for the god of the hearth (sōkō shinsai)—a divinity originating in ancient Chinese folk beliefs. 59 Likewise, Dōgen also included instructions for collective scripture-chanting ceremonies to be conducted by the community of monks at the beginning of the summer training session (thirteenth day of the fourth month). 60 This ceremony corresponds to the first of the four seasonal chanting rituals initiated by Gikai. 61 Yet this ceremony, unlike the ones for the guardian spirits or the god of the hearth, is not included in the Ch'an-yüan ch'ing-kuei (i.e., the Chinese monastic code usually followed by Dōgen). If Gikai can be criticized for disregarding earlier textual precedents in favor of adopting the latest Chinese practices, then clearly Dōgen was just as guilty. 62
Gikai merely increased the frequency of religious ceremonies that had already existed in Dōgen's own time. Certainly Gikai's new monastic calendar, with its sūtra-chanting services after each meal, gave increased emphasis to ritual. The real issue, however, is not the rituals themselves but the religious ends for which the rituals are practiced. Because each sūtra-chanting ceremony ends with the recitation of a declaration (ekō) directing the merit of the service toward a particular goal, each ritual has an immediate, well-defined purpose. Dōgen defined that purpose in terms of the promotion of Buddhist practice. By Keizan's time, rituals were directed not only toward spiritual goals but also toward the prosperity of the temple patrons and the protection of the state. In spite of the claims made by some scholars, the available records contain no indication as to where Gikai stood between these two extremes.
Much confusion surrounds Gikai's subsequent career at Eiheiji. Later sources contain contradictory accounts of a major schism not mentioned in earlier sources. Modern scholars offer many differing interpretations of this episode. Rather than listing all possible scenarios, the following account describes only the sequence of events indicated in the earliest sources. 63 An examination of the issue of possible schisms and its implications for our understanding of earlier Sōtō is reserved for later (see chapter 7).
Gikai became the third abbot of Eiheiji in 1267 when Ejō retired from that post, pleading illness. 64 Ejō may well have been suffering declining health. He had served as abbot for fifteen years since Dōgen's death in
1253 and since 1261 had ceased his copying of Dōgen's writings. 65 Yet Gikai assumed the abbotship only after being requested to do so by Eiheiji's principal patrons, Hatano Shigemichi (a.k.a. Kongo) and Fujiwara Masatsugu (a.k.a. Shakuen). 66 This interference in monastic appointments reveals Eiheiji's precarious status as a warrior family temple (ujidera): survival depended on the personal goodwill of one family of patrons. Details of Gikai's activities as abbot remain unknown, except for one very propitious encounter. In 1271 Keizan Jōkin (then just seven years old) entered Eiheiji to receive the tonsure from Gikai. 67 One year later Gikai retired from Eiheiji, after having served less than five years as abbot. Near Eiheiji he constructed a private hermitage in which to care for his aged mother. For the next twenty years he lived in relative seclusion (until moving to Daijōji), appearing at Eiheiji only as necessary. How Gikai provided for both himself and his mother during this period is not recorded.
Following Gikai's retirement, the next abbot of Eiheiji was an obscure monk named Gien (d. ca. 1313). 68 Gien probably was among the followers of the Darumashū who joined Dōgen in 1241, as indicated by the first syllable of his name. At Eiheiji he served both as Dōgen's attendant (jisha) and as monastic scribe (shoki). Later he assisted Ejō in organizing and copying Dōgen's writings. 69 Only three dates are known regarding Gien's term as abbot: it began sometime before 1287, at which time Hatano Tokimitsu is reported to have addressed him by that title, and ended sometime before 1314, when he was replaced by another monk, Giun. In between these two dates, in 1292 Gien initiated Keizan in precept ordination ceremonies. 70 Although Ejō had taught the ordination procedures to Gikai only as the final concluding step of the dharma transmission process, it is not clear if Gien regarded Keizan as his heir. Gien and Keizan must have been close, however, because Keizan recorded vivid dreams about Gien, in which he saw himself as Gien's personal attendant. In one dream, Keizan imagined that Gien announced his desire never to leave Eiheiji. 71 While Keizan's accounts of his dreams are not necessarily reliable, probably Gien did live out his natural life without ever retiring from Eiheiji.
Although Gien led Eiheiji, Gikai was not completely absent. In 1280 he returned to nurse the dying Ejō. Nine days before Ejō died, he took off the dharma robe he had received from Dōgen and presented it to Gikai. In handing over this piece of cloth, Ejō gave Gikai a symbol of great religious authority. Gikai later described it as proof that he was foremost among Ejō's disciples. 72 Gikai officiated at Ejō's funeral and led annual memorial services for Ejō at Eiheiji for the next seven years. 73 During this period Gikai apparently became embroiled in a dispute with other monks who were followers of Jakuen. 74 The cause or nature of this
dispute is unclear, since Jakuen himself had already left Eiheiji in 1261, while Gikai was still in China. 75 Perhaps some monks might have felt that Gikai's memorial services for Ejō somehow had slighted Jakuen because Jakuen also was Ejō's dharma heir and originally had been in charge of Eiheiji's memorial hall, Jōyōan. To quiet the disturbance, Hatano Tokimitsu admonished the unruly monks and even threatened to shift his financial support directly to Gikai. 76 Tokimitsu's protestations were in vain, however, because soon after 1287 Gikai left Eiheiji for good.
Nothing is known about Eiheiji during the period immediately following Gikai's departure. The fourth abbot, Gien, seems to have produced no strong disciples. Edo-period historians embellished this failure with accounts of Gien having retired to a solitary life of seclusion, 77 or of Eiheiji having been destroyed by fire. More recent historians have assumed that Gien must have lost the support of the Hatano family. 78 Yet there is no positive evidence for these theories. No early source contains any mention either of Gien's later years or of the destruction of Eiheiji by fire during that period. 79 The Hatano family continued to be major patrons of Eiheiji until being vanquished in 1473 by the forces of Asakura Takakage (1428-1481). 80 The Hatano family's support of Gien is demonstrated by the fact that they waited until 1314, presumably the year of Gien's death, before inviting a new abbot to Eiheiji. 81 Although details are unknown, there is no reason to believe that Eiheiji fell into decline during Gien's term.

Success and Setbacks at Daijōji

In 1293 Gikai formally became abbot of Daijōji in neighboring Kaga. 82 Daijōji was originally built in 1261 as a small warrior family temple by Togashi Iehisa (d. 1329), the head of a Fujiwara-line family collateral to the Inazu Fujiwara-line family to which Gikai probably had belonged. 83 Iehisa first built Daijōji to house an image of Dainichi (Skt. Vairocana) Buddha that supposedly had been carved by an early mountain ascetic (i.e., zenji) named Taichō (682-767). Because Dainichi is the main Buddha in esoteric practice, Iehisa enlisted a master of the esoteric rituals (i.e., a Shingon ajari; Skt. ācārya) named Chōkai to serve as the temple's first abbot. 84 Chōkai previously had resided at Hajakuji, the temple at which Ekan and the other Darumashū members had sought refuge. Moreover, we can assume that he must have been a senior monk when Gikai first arrived there because Chōkai referred to himself as Gikai's teacher. 85 With Chōkai acting as go-between, Gikai was invited to convert Daijōji to a Zen temple sometime around 1292 and formally entered the new temple in 1293. At that time Chōkai relinquished the title of
"founding abbot" (kaisan) to Gikai, assuming for himself the title of "founding patron" (kaiki). In spite of Chōkai's change in title, the true patron of Daijōji remained Togashi Iehisa.
Few details of Gikai's term as abbot of Daijōji are known beyond the names of his early disciples. Keizan Jōkin was the first to join Gikai's new Zen community, attaining within a short time the office of supervisor of the monk's hall (shuso). In 1294 Meihō Sotetsu (1277-1350) joined Keizan at Daijōji. 86 A year later, Gasan Jōseki (1276-1366) also joined the Daijōji community. 87 During the first month of that same year, 1295, Gikai bestowed Keizan with his dharma lineage as well as with the robe that had been handed down from Dōgen to Ejō. 88 Finally in 1298 Gikai gave up all remaining monastic duties, allowing Keizan to succeed to Daijōji's abbotship. 89 After his retirement Gikai stayed at Daijōji for the remainder of his life. He seems to have continued to instruct the community of monks and supervise Keizan's activities. When Gikai's health began to fail in 1306, he bequeathed to Keizan his Darumashū documents and relics to further authenticate the legitimacy of Keizan's Sōtō lineage. 90 In 1309, the second day of the ninth month, Gikai insisted on administering the tonsure to all of Daijōji's lay workers. Twelve days later he died. Complete details of his funeral arrangements and an inventory of his possessions were reported to Eiheiji. 91
The Daijōji community entered a period of uncertainty following Gikai's death. His familial closeness to the Togashi family was not shared by Keizan. 92 In fact, Gikai indirectly indicated the insecurity of Keizan's position when he gave his Darumashū relics to Keizan for the expressed purpose of enhancing Keizan's authority. Within two years of Gikai's passing, Keizan relinquished the Daijōji abbotship and Dōgen's robe to Meihō. At the time Keizan stated that Meihō had been Gikai's choice for abbot. 93 But perhaps Keizan also hoped that Meihō would have better relations with the Togashi. Nonetheless, he took the precaution of entrusting Meihō with the legal documents and land deeds that certified Daijōji's financial independence. 94 In spite of Keizan's efforts, the Togashi family eventually replaced Meihō with the Rinzai-line monk Kyōō Unryō (1267-1341). 95 Keizan wrote that this appointment was totally contrary to Gikai's intentions. He vowed that when Daijōji's patrons (Keizan did not mention the Togashi by name) regained correct reason, members of Gikai's lineage would regain the abbotship at Daijōji. 96 Eventually Meihō did retake Daijōji's abbotship, but not during Keizan's lifetime. 97