Mokudō Taisen Deshimaru Rōshi was a Japanese Zen master in the Sōtō lineage and a disciple of Kodo Sawaki, one of the most influential Japanese Zen masters of the 20th century. He received ordination as a monk in 1965 shortly before Sawaki's death.

Unlike most Zen masters, Deshimaru led a worldly life. He taught a Buddhism rooted in everyday life and present in society. He is the founder of the first Zen temple in Europe and remains an inspiration to many Dōjōs and Zen groups in Europe today. Deshimaru is often described as the Bodhidharma of modern times.


Taisen Deshimaru (1914–1982) was a Japanese Zen Buddhist monk who played a significant role in introducing Zen Buddhism to Europe, particularly in France. Born in Japan, he began his Zen training at a young age and later became a disciple of Kodo Sawaki, a well-known Zen master.

Deshimaru studied and practiced Zen in Japan before being sent to France in the 1960s to share Zen teachings with Western students. He faced challenges in a foreign culture but eventually established a Zen center in Paris.

Deshimaru emphasized zazen (meditation) as the core practice of Zen, emphasizing its transformative potential in cultivating mindfulness, presence, and self-awareness. He encouraged his students to integrate Zen principles into their daily lives and to embrace the simple, direct experience of reality.

His teachings were characterized by their practicality and accessibility, resonating with Western audiences seeking a direct experience of spirituality. Deshimaru's efforts played a significant role in the popularization of Zen practice in Europe and beyond.

Deshimaru's legacy is evident in the continued presence of Zen centers and practitioners in Europe, as well as his written works, which offer insights into Zen philosophy and practice. His dedication to sharing Zen teachings with a global audience contributed to the spread of mindfulness and meditation practices in the West.