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Zen RitualStudies of Zen Theory in Practice$
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Steven Heine and Dale S. Wright

Print publication date: 2007

Print ISBN-13: 9780195304671

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: January 2008

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195304671.001.0001

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 Is Dōgen's Eiheiji Temple “Mt. T'ien‐t'ung East”?: Geo‐Ritual Perspectives on the Transition from Chinese Ch'an to Japanese Zen

 Is Dōgen's Eiheiji Temple “Mt. T'ien‐t'ung East”?: Geo‐Ritual Perspectives on the Transition from Chinese Ch'an to Japanese Zen

Chapter:
(p.139) 4 Is Dōgen's Eiheiji Temple “Mt. T'ien‐t'ung East”?: Geo‐Ritual Perspectives on the Transition from Chinese Ch'an to Japanese Zen
Source:
Zen Ritual
Author(s):

Steven Heine (Contributor Webpage)

Publisher:
Oxford University Press
DOI:10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195304671.003.0005

Chapter 4 approaches the formative period of the establishment of Zen ritual in Japan based on sources from China by way of the sacred space within which it is conducted. Although it has long been thought that Dōgen sought to design his new Eiheiji temple after the Sung dynasty Chinese model of Mt. T'ien‐t'ung, a study of the ritual layout of both plans reveals more differences than similarities. The “geo‐ritual” perspective taken in this study compares how the geographical settings and social environments of the two temple sites affect the way in which they implement Zen ritual. The author's conclusion is that Dōgen did not attempt to duplicate the Chinese model in rural Japan, but instead “adjusted it to the Japanese context” by taking local social, political, and economic conditions into account. These differences in the structural layout of the monasteries underscore the conclusion drawn elsewhere that Japanese Zen ritual diverged in a variety of significant ways from the models available in medieval China, even though Zen leaders in Japan typically proclaimed otherwise for the purpose of legitimation.

Keywords:   Eiheiji Temple, Dōgen, Geo‐ritual, Monastery layout, Mt. T'ien‐t'ung

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