Bendōwa is the earliest extant doctrinal text by Dōgen (1200–1253), revered today as the founding patriarch of the Japanese Sōtō School of Zen Buddhism. It may well be regarded as Dōgen’s declaration of independence as a Buddhist enlightened master. Narratives play an important part in this seminal document: they serve to legitimate Dōgen, to place his teaching in the history of the Buddhist tradition, and to explicate various points in the discussion of his doctrine. Narratological analysis elucidates the structural characteristics of the narrative parts of Bendōwa and helps to clarify their meaning and functionality. It may even be successsfully applied to non-narrative, argumentative sections of the text.