Sôjiji Temple, Daisôdô (Founders' Hall)

Even more stately than the main hall is this building standing right-hand side of the main hall. Daisodo is literally the great founders' hall. Here at the Temple, it functions not only as the founders' hall but also as the lecture hall. In other words, it is also a hatto in Zen term.

The copper roofed gorgeous building of reinforced concrete, 54.5 by 47.2 meters and 39 meters high, was built in 1965 in commemoration of the 600th anniversary of death (onki in Japanese) of the Second Chief Priest Shoseki Gazan {sho-seh-ke gah-zan} (1275-1365). He is famous for his longevity and during his term of office as the chief priest, he produced a number of great priests. Onki is a memorial service held every fifty years for the founding priests or the great priests. Construction cost the Temple 1,500 million yen, all funded by the Soto Zen followers including those in Hawaii.

Inside the hall, the floor is as spacious as 40-meter square and is covered with 1,000 tatami mats. Enthroned on the altar are statues of Priest Keizan in the center, Priest Dogen to its left and Priest Gazan to its right. Besides them, five more statues are installed in the left and right recesses. All of them are the founding priests of the major Soto Zen temples. Every morning and evening, roughly 100 priests hold religious services in this hall.

Daisodo is large enough for the chief priest to deliver a sermon to the training priests or disciples. Placed in the inner center is a platform called Shumi-dan {shoo-me-dan}. Usually, Shumi-dan is a pedestal on which the Buddha statues are installed. (The term Shumi originates in the Mt. Sumeru of the Buddhist universe). Here in Daisodo, however, it is a platform on which the chief priest stands to make lectures. No other priests are permitted to step on it.