Eihei Dogen zenji; Dogen Kigen, Bussho-dento kokushi, Joyo daishi (1200-1253)

Founder of the Japanese Soto Zen Lineage. Founder of Eihei-ji monastery. Author of the Shobogenzo and Eihei Shingi. Originally received ordination as a Tendai monk on Heiei-san at the age of 13. There he studied shi-kan, goma, Mikkyo. After studying briefly with the syncretic Tendai/Zen Master Yosai (Eisai), following Yosai's death he studied with and became the Dharma-heir of Myozen, Yosai's successor.

In 1223 Myozen and Dogen travelled to China. Myozen died there. Dogen studied with Rujing and received Transmission in the Caodong Lineage at Tiantong-shan. He returned to Japan in 1227 and stayed for a time at Kennin-ji, Myozen's temple, and later at Kannon-dori-in where he established the first Zen Sodo in Japan, Kosho-Horin-ji.

After several threats and attacks from Tendai and Shingon monks following his Rahai Tokuzui Teaching on freedom from gender bias and several other upsetting incidents he moved to Echizen province. There he and his monks stayed with Tendai monks of the Hakusan line while a new monastery, Daibutsu-ji (soon renamed Eihei-ji) was being built.

Dogen's radical Transmission of the saijo (easy and perfect) practice and his recorded Teachings are the basis of all Soto Teachings.