Tōkōzan Daijōji
東香山 大乗寺

 

 

The Tōkōzan Daijōji Monastery in Kanazawa, the official training monastery for the Zen Sōtō-shū School, is the mother Temple in Japan to our Shinnyoji Temple in Italy. The current Abbot of Daijōji is the 72nd Abbot, Rev. Tenrai Ryūshin Azuma Rōshi who transmitted the Shihō to our Teacher Rev. Iten Shinnyo Marradi. The practitioners of Shinnyoji can visit for a period of training at Daijōji through Rev. Marradi.

The Tōkōzan Daijōji Monastery ha salso been noted in history, first by the name of Shojurin and later called Kinshihō.
Its founder was Tettsū Gikai Zenji (1219-1309), the third Abbot of the Eiheiji Monastery and the principal of the Sōtō-shū School in the Fukui Prefecture.

Tettsū Gikai Zenji recieved teaching from his Teacher Maestro Dōgen Zenji (1200-1253) after which, he continued his training with deep simplicity and modesty.
He later went to China where he visited many temples that he described in the text “Gosanjussatsuzu”, a document that is recognized as a National Cultural Patrimony.
When he finally returned to Japan, he restructured the monastic building of Eiheiji and for this reason his work was called “Eiheichukō”, a term meaning “Re-founder Eiheiji”.
Later, Tettsū Gikai Zenji moved to the Kaga region where in the Nonoichi Provence, under the protection of the Togashi family, during the second year of Shoo in 1289, he founded the Daijōji Monastery.
Of the four main monasteries of the Eiheiji Lineage, Daijōji is one of the most significant.

Keizan Jōkin Zenji (1268-1325), disciple of Tettsū Gikai Zenji, was the second Abbot of Daijōji. He founded the Yōkōji Monastery, in the city of Hakui, and later founded another important monastery: Sōjiji. Keizan Zenji defined the foundations on which to spread the practice of the Sōtō-shū School and built many temples of this Tradition throughout Japan. This is the reason why he is remembered on his epithet as “Taiso” (the Great), that is associated with the honorable “Koso” (the Eminent) attributed to Dōgen Zenji.

And so Daijōji, through the work of its Abbots, is a Monastery with a particular connection with its two principle Monasteries of the Sōtō-shū School: Eiheiji and Sōjiji.
In the Edo Period, around 300 years ago, under the protection of the Honda family, Daijōji was moved to its current location.
The 26th Abbot Gesshu Soko Zenji and the 27th Abbot Manzan Dohaku Zenji, followers of Dōgen Zenji’s teachings, introduced Daijōji‘s denomination "Kiku Daijō", meaning “Monastery of rigorous Zen training”, and this reputation was widely spread throughout the country.

Still today, Daijōji, is a Monastery dedicated to monastic training.

Daijōji was built with the upon the constructive model of "Shichidō-Garan", “Zen Monastery made of seven buildings”, typical of the Scuola Sōtō-shū monasteries. The Hall of the Buddha was recognized as a National Cultural Heritage and some buildings of the same monastic complex were recognized as a National Cultural Heritage of the Ishikawa Prefecture.

Today, many people visit Daijōji to practice Zen in search of support for their heart and every year the number rises for those who come to discver themselves in the simple and pure atmosphere of the Monastery.

The Hymn of Tōkōzan Daijōji

Written by Rev. Tenrai Ryūshin Azuma Rōshi, the 72nd Abbot for the Commemoration of the 700th Anniversary of the death of founder Tettsū Gikai Zenji.
Translation from Italian to English by Lisa Tenshin Saunders.

In the clearness of Mount Tōkō
watching around the Kaga plains
the purple cloud stretches
upon the roof of the Temple
that changes with every season
its decor with elegance.
We are in Kanazawa, Daijōji.

Seven buildings within the Temple,
our cultural heritage.
The statue of Shakamuni
Respectably placed in the main Hall.
Praying to it hands united
We are in Kanazawa, Daijōji.

Eight hundred years have passed
Without losing the air of the past
With the moss, grass and trees intact.
The morning and evening
We practice Zazen received in the heart
The compassion of the Buddha.
We are in Kanazawa, Daijōji.

Dōgen Zenji from Eiheiji
And Keizan Zenji from Sōjiji.
Connecting two deep bonds
Was Tettsū-Gikai, our founder.
We are in Kanazawa, Daijōji.

The world is in continuous change.
Our sadness is endless.
We try to reach eternal serenity.
We pray for peace and prosperity of the world.
We are in Kanazawa, Daijōji.