SOTOZEN-NET > What's Sotoshu?

What's Sotoshu?

The essence of the Soto Zen School was transmitted from China, eight hundred years ago, during the Kamakura period by Koso Dogen Zenji. The fourth Japanese ancestor of the school was Taiso Keizan Zenji who was instrumental in enhancing the teachings and expanding the school.


The Soto Zen School transmits the true (Buddhist) Dharma from Shakyamuni Buddha through the Ancestors. And recognizes two eminent Ancestors as our founders, Dogen and Keizan Zenji.

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It was during the Southern Sung period that Dogen Zenji traveled to China to study the Dharma. After visiting many temples there, Dogen Zenji, at the age of 26, encountered Nyojo Zenji.

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Head Temples

Eiheiji of Fukui Prefecture(venerable founder Koso Dogen Zenji), and Sojiji of Kanagawa Prefecture(venerable founder Taiso Keizan Zenji)are the two head temples of Sotoshu.

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Shakyamuni Buddha & Two founders

Dogen Zenji, the founder of Soto Zen school as well as of Daihonzan Eiheiji, was born on January 26, 1200 CE. This was during the Kamakura Period of Japanese history, the year following the death of Minamoto Yoritomo.