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Sōji-ji

Sōji-ji. One of the two major Sōtō Zen monasteries in Japan (along with Eihei-ji). It was founded in the 8th cent. CE, by Gyōgi as a Hossō monastery, but it became Zen under Keizan Jōkin in 1321. When it was destroyed by fire in 1898, it was moved to Yokohāma, its present location. By the religious laws promulgated at the outset of the Edo period (1615), the two were accorded exactly equal status, and other Sōtō temples were made subordinate to them. Nevertheless, Sōji-ji had, by the 18th cent., 16,179 branch temples, compared with 1,370 of Eihei-ji. Not until 1879 was a formal agreement (kyōwa meiyaku) reached that both were to have equal say in Sōtō. The establishing of a central office (Sōtōshūmukyoku) and the determination to re-establish monastic training on the foundations of Dōgen led to the revival of the 20th cent., assisted by lay well-wishers (e.g. the journalist and publisher, Ōuchi Seiran, 1845–1919, who promulgated the summary of Sōtō, Shushōgi.

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