stepping stones of truth

A journey along the path of life - the stones can be rough, smooth or even wobbly!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Kyoto Diary :Three

This is what its all about - autumn colour. For me, this is bliss - walking quietly in a Japanese garden, between ancient pine trees and under the jewelled stars of maple leaves against a blue sky. Maybe with a pool of still water, reflecting all that is.

This astounding colour was at Ginkaku-ji, the Silver Temple (or right now, the Builders Plastic Sheet Temple as it is being rennovated) but the garden on a hillside is absolutely delicious.

After coffee (this seems to be a very relaxed tour, plenty of time to sit and stare, hurrah!) we went to the private garden of an artist. I had been before on a grey day, and had dismissed it as unlovely. Well my new eyes did better (the lovely day and sunshine may have helped). It was delightful, and had an entirely different atmosphere.

The lake had some wonderful reflections and showed different aspects around every corner.

The dappled shade echoes the shapes of the stones. I just love Japanese paths. Someone has written a book on them, which is as well, or I may have felt I ought to do it, haha.

After lunch, (our own bento picnics eaten in a thoughfully provided small temple building) we explored some of the sub temples of Daitoku-ji. All of them were old favourites, and I am really enjoying just luxuriating in "being" in them. Not trying to understand them, or take clever photos of them. It feels like I am soaking them up, as if I were in a long hot bath with lots of bubbles and a bar of chocolate!

Astounding. Its just a path next to a soakaway under the eaves of the meditation hall. But how exquisite. The attention to detail. I found it totally satisfying in every way.

This small strip of gravel garden or sansui, called A-Un and represents the breath - which is the focus of meditation and mindfulness in daily living in Zen. Like most Zen gardens it is impossible to capture it in a photo. Not just to represent the qualities of the sacred space, but you cannot just get the whole thing in one frame. There is always something missing. Grasp as much as you like, the experience cannot be distilled into a neat compartment and stored away whole.

However, here the group are pondering the meaning of this tiny garden.

This shape of window is usually only found in Zen temples and monasteries. What a perfect framing for a perfect landscape. Dont you feel calm just looking at it?

The rhythm of life OR the sea of life? Or just plain ole gravel? I dont know but I could watch it forever.


At 3:10 pm, Blogger Gillian said...

wonderful. Big hugs
Gillian x


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