Three Ages of Zen: Samurai, Feudal and Modern

Three Ages of Zen: Samurai, Feudal and Modern

Three Ages of Zen: Samurai, Feudal and Modern

Three Ages of Zen: Samurai, Feudal and Modern

Excerpt

The origin of Warrior Zen in Kamakura, and in the whole of the eastern part of Japan, goes back to the training of warrior pupils by Eisai (Senko Kokushi). But it was the training of warriors and priests by two great Chinese masters, Daikaku and Bukko, which became the Zen style of the Kamakura temples. There were three streams in Kamakura Zen: scriptural Zen, on-the-instant (shikin) Zen, and Zen adapted to the pupil (ki-en Zen).

Scriptural Zen derives from Eisai, founder of Jufukuji in Kamakura in 1215, and of Kenninji in Kyoto. But at that time it was rare to find any samurai who had literary attainments in Kamakura, so the classical koans from Chinese records of patriarchs could hardly be given to them. The teacher therefore selected passages from various sutras for the warriors, and for monks also. These specially devised scriptural Zen koans used by Eisai at Kamakura numbered only eighteen, and so the commentary to the Sorinzakki (Zen Analects) calls Jufukuji the Temple of the Eighteen Diamond Koans.

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