Dōshō (道昭, 629–700 C.E.) was a Japanese monk credited with playing an influential role in the founding of Buddhism in Japan. In C.E. 653, he travelled to China, studying under the Buddhist monk Xuanzang, whose travels to India were immortalized in the book Journey to the West. His studies centered on Xuanzang's Weishi, Chinese variant of Indian Yogācāra, but he was also exposed to Chinese Chán while there, which would later lead to his influence on the founding of Japanese Zen Buddhism. In China, the school is known as Wéishí-zōng (唯識宗, "Consciousness Only" school), or Fǎxiàng-zōng (法相宗, "Dharma Characteristics" school). In Japan, it is known as Hossō-shū (法相宗) or Yuishiki-shū (唯識宗).
After returning from China, Dōshō became a priest at Gangō-ji, one of the great temples, the Nanto Shichi Daiji, in Nara, Japan. His teachings were based on the consciousness-only philosophy taught by Xuanzang, which in Japanese he called Hossō. It was at Gangō-ji that later he founded Japan's first meditation hall.
There is a legend about his return from China that says Xuanzang had given him a magical kettle. Whenever any medicine was prepared in the kettle, it could cure any illness. The monk travelling with Dōshō was supposedly cured before embarking on the sea trip back to Japan. However, while at sea a great storm came upon them. A diviner on board said that the sea god wanted the kettle. Dōshō at first resisted, but eventually gave in, and the storm immediately abated.
- 'Encyclopedia Britannica'
- Heinrich Dumoulin, James W. Heisig, Paul F. Knitter, Zen Buddhism : a History: Japan, p5. World Wisdom, Inc, Sep 25, 2005
- Duncan Ryūken Williams, The other side of Zen, p181. Princeton University Press, 2005