Manzan Dohaku (卍山道白)

Dohaku MANZAN (1635 - 1715) was a priest of Soto Sect in the early Edo period.

He was originally from Bingo Province (present Hiroshima Prefecture). His secular surname was Fujii. His Go (pen name) was Dojin FUKKO. At the age of 10, he entered the Buddhist priesthood under the guidance of Dohan ISSEN of Ryuko-ji Temple. When Dohan resigned from the post at Ryuko-ji Temple, Dohaku accompanied him and went to the east region of Japan. He practiced Zen meditation under Bunshun KOSHU and Soko GESSHU. He succeeded the teachings of Soko GESSHU. As the successor of Soko, he assumed the position of the chief priest of Daijo-ji Temple in Kaga Province (present Ishikawa Prefecture).

Along with his mentor priest Soko and Zuiho MENZAN, he advocated the restoration of the sect's tradition and strived for the rehabilitation of shiho (succession of the lineage of sect) and kiku (regulations) in the sect. In the Soto Sect at that time, other than Hoto (the lineage of sect) that was inherited from a mentor priest to a disciple by means of menju (face to face transmission) (nin-po), there was also another Hoto that was inherited by means of succeeding the position of chief priest of a temple (garan-ho), and under such circumstances, there were a variety of abuses resulting from such confusion. Under such circumstances, Dohaku and others asserted that only menju shiho of isshi-insho (a rule whereby a priest who received menju from his mentor priest shall not change his mentor priest during his whole life) (nin-po), which the founder Dogen valued, should be regarded as legitimate. The campaign by Dohaku and others affected Jisha-bugyo (a commissioner of temples and shrines) and their objectives were accomplished when Eihei-ji Temple law and Soji-ji Temple law were enacted.

He also rearranged and revamped the sect's kiku, which had been corrupted, following Ryuki INGEN's 'Obaku Shingi' (Chinese Characters as Symbols in the Huanboquingui).
Daijo-ji Temple, of which the chief priest was Dohaku, became known as the temple of rigid kiku and was called 'Kikudaijo.'
In 1689, Kozen, the chief priest of Eihei-ji Temple, asked Dohaku and others to become advisors for restoring soki (the rules of the temple) and the reform initiated by Dohaku gradually took root in the sect. On the other hand, Tenkei Denson and others criticized Dohaku, who tried to apply seiki (regulations) of the other sect (Obaku Sect) instead of traditional regulations established by Dogen, as 'formalism' and there were debates among them.

These debates, however, activated the study of sect teachings and the revision and publication of sect code, and produced many achievements in Soto Sect. Dohaku himself was engaged in compiling "Shohogenzo" (Treasury of the Eye of True Teaching) at Daijo-ji Temple and his work Manzanbon (89 volumes) still exists.

After handing over Daijo-ji Temple to Shushin MYOSHU, he lived in seclusion at Kozen-ji Temple in Settsu Province (present Osaka Prefecture). In 1694, he was asked to restore Genkoan Temple, an ancient temple of Rinzai Sect located in Yamashiro Province, and converted it to a temple of Soto Sect.

Emperor Reigen, who came to know the reputation of Dohaku, invited him for monbo (hearing of Buddhism teachings) but he declined with the excuse of illness. The Cloistered Emperor, who felt regret, bestowed cotton which he possessed.

In 1715, Dohaku died of illness at the age of 80.

[Original Japanese]