is one of two main temples of the Sōtō
sect of Zen Buddhism
. Its founder was Eihei Dōgen
. Eihei-ji is located about east of Fukui
in Fukui Prefecture
Dōgen founded Eihei-ji in 1246 in the woods of rural Japan, quite far from the distractions of Kamakura period
urban life. He appointed a successor, but sometime after his death the abbacy of Eihei-ji became hotly disputed, a schism now called the sandai sōron
. Until 1468, Eihei-ji was not held by the current Keizan
line of Sōtō, but by the line of Dōgen's Chinese disciple Jakuen
.William M. Bodiford. Sōtō Zen in Medieval Japan
. University of Hawaii Press, 1993. After 1468, when the Keizan line took ownership of Eihei-ji in addition to its major temple Sōji-ji
and others, Jakuen's line and other alternate lines became less prominent.
The entire temple was destroyed by fire several times. Its oldest standing structure dates from 1749, and the manuscripts in its treasure house are reconstructions from that era.
Today, Eihei-ji is the main training temple of Sōtō Zen. The standard training for a priest in Eihei-ji is from three months to a two-year period of practice. It is in communion with all Japanese Soto Zen temples, and some temples in America, including the San Francisco Zen Center
- Chōkoku-ji (長谷寺), also known as the Eihei-ji Tokyo Betsuin (永平寺東京別院), in Tokyo.
- Chuō-ji (中央寺), also known as the......