After journeying to China in search of a deeper, more authentic practice than he had found in his own country, Eihei Dogen Zenji founded the Soto Zen school of Buddhism in Japan in the 13th century.  He spoke with great authority and wrote extensively on a broad variety of esoteric subjects.  To this day, his teachings are considered challenging and abstruse by even very experienced Zen practitioners and scholars; yet his mysterious teachings continue to inspire generations of Zen students.

In the last section of the fascicle Raihaitokuzui, Dogen was unusually clear and forthright in addressing the subject of women in Buddhism:

Why are men special?  Emptiness is emptiness.  Four great elements are four great elements.  Five skandhas are five skandhas.  Women are just like that.  Both men and women attain the way.  You should honor attainment of the way.  Do not discriminate between men and women.  This is the most wondrous principle of the Buddha way.


Source: Treasury of the True Dharma Eye, Zen Master Dogen’s Shobo Genzo.  Ed. Trans. Kazuaki Tanahashi.  Boston: Shambhala, 2010. 72-84.  Quoted in Receiving the Marrow: Teachings on Dogen by Soto Zen Women Priests.  Ed. Eido Frances Carney. Olympia: Temple Ground Press, 2012. 63.