Great Master Keizan is an important figure in the Soto Zen lineage, and was a third-generation descendant of Dōgen. Keizan was born in 1267, and entered Dōgen's monastery, Eiheiji, at the age of twelve. He founded many temples throughout his life, including Sōjiji in Yokohama, which later became one of the two head temples of Sōtō Zen in Japan, together with Eiheiji. It was at Sōjiji that Rev. Master Jiyu, the founder of our Order, trained in the 1960s.
Before Keizan’s time, Sōtō Zen was confined to a few small monasteries, but under his influence it flourished and eventually became the largest Buddhist school in Japan. Keizan Zenji is thought to have introduced much of the ceremonial that we use today, and is the most highly regarded of the Sōtō Zen Ancestors after Great Master Dōgen. Dōgen is regarded as the stern father of Sōtō Zen and Keizan as its compassionate mother.
This festival is an opportunity to celebrate the life and teaching of this important teacher in our lineage.