In probing the circumstances of Dogen's birth and his family background we may appear to be neglecting his teachings, for he claims that a monk belongs only to the family of the Buddha1 and should have no attachment to secular names. But because the factors that contributed to his decision to become a monk lie in the secular world into which he was born, this probing is a fundamental task for those whose overriding interest is objectively to repossess Dogen's life and thought with a clear sense of detachment from apologetic or iconoclastic biases.