Daitokuji   大徳寺

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Daitokuji Temple

Jizo Daitokuji the temple.

Daitokuji Temple

Daitokuji temple under the momiji.

Daitokuji Temple

The aisles of the enclosure of Daitokuji temple.

A haven of peace

Away from the flow of tourists, the vast Buddhist compound Daitokuji, austere and soothing, yet exhilarating, encourages a meditative stroll. Here, beauty and prayer convene for an easy meander in silence.

By chance, Nicolas Bouvier (1929-1998), Swiss traveler and writer, known for his work The Way of the World, found shelter here in the spring of 1964. An unlikely home in one of the current headquarters of the Rinzai school branch of Buddhism Zen teaching that emphasizes both koan (illogical riddles that the teacher asks the disciple to assess his state of spirituality) and physical labor.

"There, I could rent," he said in Japanese Chronicle, "just by chance, a building in the vast enclosure of the Buddhist temple of Daitoku-ji. Literally translated, our address reads: 'Auspicious Cloud Pavilion, Temple of Great Virtue, District of Purple Prairie, Northern Area, Kyoto.'"

Officially founded in 1324, this compound of solemn meditation includes, after its main residence,  twenty-three secondary temples, each with a Zen garden that is made ​​of moss or dry landscape (karesansui ), one of which is Zuiho-in Temple, which contains an amazing mineral composition of cross-shaped rocks in honor of a former owner who converted to Christianity.

After a meditative contemplation, the visitor sits on a mat, savoring a cake and green tea. If you're still hungry, within the monastery, Izuzen is a restaurant that serves tasty vegetarian lunch.

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