Synopsis: 'Zen' Buddhist teacher Dogen Zenji is a very important religious person during the Kamakura period, 750 years ago. After his mother died, he decides to move to China and settle as a Buddhist teacher. One bright morning, enlightened, Zenji returns to Japan as a devoted evangelist of the 'new' Buddhism. However, this new form of Buddhism is not accepted in all communities.
Genre: Biography, Drama
127 min

Dear Monju...

I do not have much time left

in this world.

Mother, please do not say

such a sad thing.

These days many people

believe the teaching.

...that if you place your faith

in Buddha.

...you will reach paradise

after you die.

I wonder...

...if it is truly possible

to reach paradise.

I do not know the answer.

But I believe it is meaningless.

...to reach paradise after death.

I believe that the only paradise.

I will ever find is my time here

beside you.

Here and now is paradise.

You are right, Mother.

We must create paradise

here on earth.

But if this is paradise...

...why must people fight...

...and suffer from illness...

...unable to escape the pain of death?

Monju, I want you...

...to find a way to escape...

...all this suffering.

Your mother will wait forever...

...for you to find it.

Dogen in China, 1223

You are on a quest

to seek your true master.

I approve of your goal...

...but Dogen, Buddhism...

...does not require a master.

You will come to understand it

on your own.

That is what my master taught me.

Now I must go...

...to meet some government officials.

This is also necessary...

...to protect the temple.

Surely you understand, Dogen.

Perhaps that will help you

protect the temple.

And yet...

And yet, what?

And yet...

...will that help to protect Buddhism?

It is yourself

you wish to protect.


Please excuse me...

...but may I carry your load?

Thank you for your kind words.

But this is part of my precious task,

as Kitchen Master...

...which Buddha assigned to me,

despite my age.

I cannot assign this work

to anyone else.

So it is your job to prepare

the temple meals.


I came to town to purchase

the ingredients.

...to make a noodle soup

to serve to the monks.

Why is this still your task?

At your age, surely you should be

spending your time.

...sitting in Zen meditation...

...or working on your Zen koan.

You appear to be a wise man...

...but it seems you know nothing

about the Practice.

You seem not to even know the Teachings.

What is the practice?

What is the teachings?

Monk from Japan,

seek always to answer those questions.

That shall be your path...

...to understanding the practice

and the teachings.

Elder monk,

shall I ever see you again?

If I am still alive.

I am the cook at Ayu-wan-shan

Kuang-li Zen temple.


Kugyo, it is you!

Excuse me, I do not speak

your foreign tongue.

Forgive me.

I am a monk, visiting from Japan.

You look so much like my friend...

...for a moment...

...I forgot he is dead

and called out to you.

He is dead...

Kugyo is his name?


Minamoto Kugyo.

Is his Japanese name.

He was my dearest friend.

It is my wish...

To rule this land.

I will become ruler.

Rule the land...

If you can establish a new Buddhism...

...as ruler, I shall convert to it.

Dogen, leave Hieizan.

I aim for China.



You thief!

Help me!

No! Kugyo, stop!

Dogen, move.

Kugyo, kill me!


It is not your place to judge her.

As ruler it will be your job

to create a world, where...

...children like her do not

have to go hungry.

I have come to bid you farewell.


I have been ordered to become

Administrator at the Kamakura Shrine.

To Kamakura?

The next time I see you, I will be

Shogun in Kamakura.


When the current Shogun dies,

I will be the one to take his place.

Until then, Dogen...

...fare thee well.

Two and a half years later...

I was told of his death.

I feared I had lost my way

on my journey, but meeting you...

...I have regained the courage

to go on.

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Banmei Takahashi

Banmei Takahashi (高橋伴明, Takahashi Banmei) (or Tomoaki Takahashi) is a Japanese film director. Takahashi started his career in the pink film industry, making his directorial debut in 1972 with Escaped Rapist Criminal. Due to a disagreement with his producer, Takahashi quit the film industry for a couple years. He joined pink film pioneer Kōji Wakamatsu's production studio in 1975, working as a script-writer until Wakamatsu produced Takahashi's second film, Delinquent File: Juvenile Prostitution (1976). For the next few years Takahashi averaged five films annually at Wakamatsu's studio, until Takahashi left to start his own production company in 1979.Takahashi married Nikkatsu Roman Porno and pink film actress Keiko Sekine who then changed her name to Keiko Takahashi and starred in several of Takahashi's films. Sekine appeared in Takahashi's Tattoo Ari (1982), a mainstream box-office hit which won Takahashi the award for Best Director at the 4th Yokohama Film Festival. With the success of this film, Takahashi dissolved Takahashi Productions to focus on mainstream filmmaking. Takahashi's 1994 film New World of Love, inspired by photographer Nobuyoshi Araki's work, is significant as the first Japanese production to play uncensored and unfogged domestically. more…

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Submitted on August 05, 2018

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