Daisho-in   大聖院

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myriad statues of Buddhas lurks not curious in a hidden way.

Daisho-in Temple

Statue of Daisho-in Temple.

Daishô-in

Daisho-in Temple under the cherry trees.

By all saints

Thousands of statues lost in nature and some old buildings scattered here and there: This is what the start of the ascent of Mount Misen looks like. Travelers will discover many things walking around the Buddhist complex of Daisho-in.

Pavilions and pagodas that honor various deities are dotted along the mountain. This temple is surprising in many ways. First, the boundaries of the temple are not clearly marked, so visitors don't really know where Daisho-in ends and begins. There is also an incredible variety of plants, and down the steps, the faithful must pass their hands over rows of prayer wheels, to mimic the reading of sutras, or sacred texts attributed to the Buddha or his disciples. A little further on, a myriad of Buddha statues might turn the light hearted away from a hidden passage leading to a stream that runs down the mountain, ricocheting off the rocks. Multiple buildings with sleek architecture flow with the lush greenery. Inside, incense sticks burn, adding a mystical atmosphere to rooms with golden statues enthroned in majestic immobility.

For many centuries, this temple has been the center of Buddhism on Miyajima. It was founded in 806 by the founder of the Shingon sect of Kukai (774-835) who visited the island and decided to establish a place of worship dedicated to the bodhisattva Kannon. Daisho-in is in fact part of a pilgrimage of thirty-three places of worship dedicated to this deity in the Chugoku, or middle, region of Japan. This temple is number fourteen, and next on the list is Mitaki-dera Temple in Hiroshima. Recognised as an important center of Buddhism, Tibetan monks have visited here and left sand mandalas that you can see at one of the pavilions during the walk. Twice a year there is a fire crossing festival, where monks and reckless volunteers can walk on hot coals to show their faith in the gods. Real immersion in a magical world, the tour takes you into another place, where nature, men and gods coexist in harmony...

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