Tettsū Gikai (徹通義介) is the third spiritual leader of the Sōtō Zen school of Buddhism in Japan. He began his Buddhist life as a student of the Darumashū's Ekan, but later both became students of Eihei Dōgen's newly established Sōtō school. Gikai received dharma transmission from Koun Ejō, Dōgen's successor, and later became the third abbot of the school's head temple, Eihei-ji. Shortly thereafter, he became embroiled in a leadership crisis known as the sandai sōron. Other monks contended that other students, namely Jakuen, Gien or Giin, had stronger claims to the abbacy. The controversy remained unresolved at the time of his death. His abbacy was unpopular with some monks because he introduced innovative practices aimed at making Sōtō more palatable with the Japanese laity, which some claimed Dōgen would have frowned upon. However, he also had many followers, and eventually his innovations became the standard form of Sōtō Zen. His leadership marked the first geographical expansion of the Sōtō school when he moved with his followers to Kaga Province. Most notably, his disciple Keizan Jōkin became the second most famous figure in the school's history after Dōgen by generating mass appeal for Sōtō Zen and ultimately spreading the teachings to all corners of Japan.
Sōtō Zen or the Sōtō school is the largest of the three traditional sects of Zen in Japanese Buddhism.
It is the Japanese line of the Chinese Cáodòng school, which was founded during the Tang dynasty by Dòngshān Liánjiè.
It emphasizes Shikantaza, meditation with no objects, anchors, or content.
The meditator strives to be aware of the stream of thoughts, allowing them to arise and pass away without interference.
With about 14,000 temples, Sōtō .
According to tradition, Chan was introduced around 500 CE by Bodhidharma, an Indian monk teaching dhyāna.
Zen is deeply rooted in the teachings and doctrines of Mahāyāna Buddhism.
Mahayana Buddhism teaches śūnyatā, "emptiness", which is also emphasized by Zen.
But another important doctrine is the buddha-nature, the idea that all human beings have the possibility to awaken.
All living creatures are supposed to have the Buddha-nature, but don't realize this as long as they are not .