Monday, December 08, 2014

3 Years in Sendai 24 - Kyoto prt 4

We each differ in what captivates our attention and fancy especially when framed through the lens of the camera. Does it tells us of who we are or help in any way spell out our taste and biases? Perhaps to some extent it does and for me it has always been temples and natural surroundings man created but in sync with nature. The vermilion red color of the temple structures in Japanese temples  stands in stark contrast against their landscape and immediate vicinity however the very fact of this strong contrast the whole scene becomes  powerful.

The Dragon at the water trough and the 'Amulets' or good luck charms with all kinds of wishes written by those who visit the temple site adds to the temple charm and creates a simply Japanese feeling about these sites. In Japan Buddhism married Shintoism and the two influenced the Japanese mind in all walks of life. The Japanese version of Chan  Buddhism of China or the original Dhyana Buddhism of India is called Zen . 

Primarily the practice of Zen Buddhism involves a good amount of "Sitting Meditation" or as known in Japanese as ZaZen. As Japanese are known to be passionate in all that they do Zazen became a major practice among the Japanese warrior class or the Samurais and the artists whose works involved a whole lot of  being in the now.

The Japanese tea ceremony, or chanoyu (hot water for tea in Japanese), came about when Japan adopted both Chinese practices of drinking powdered green tea and Zen Buddhist beliefs.  In the 1500s, Sen No Rikkyu incorporated the ideas of simplicity and that each meeting should be special and unique into the tea ceremonies.  The traditional Japanese tea ceremony became more than just drinking tea; it is a spiritual experience that embodies harmony, respect, purity and tranquility.

Diospyros kaki, better known as the Japanese persimmonkaki persimmon (kaki [柿]) or Asian persimmon in North America, is the most widely cultivated species of theDiospyros genus. Although its first published botanical description was not until 1780,[1][2] the kaki is among the oldest plants in cultivation, known for its use in China for more than 2000 years. In some rural Chinese communities, the kaki fruit is seen as having a great mystical power that can be harnessed to solve headaches, back pains and foot ache. - Wikepedia

During my visit to Kyoto the Kaki fruits were in season and their colors set against the grey autumn skies and leafless tree branches was a sight to behold. It was lie the Kami Sama was doing his best to create the heart of the Japanese garden. for those with hearts to see.

In Japan a tōrō (灯籠 or 灯篭, 灯楼 light basket, light tower?)[note 1] is a traditional lantern made of stone, wood, or metal. Like many other elements of Japanese traditional architecture, it originated in China, however extant specimen in that country are very rare, and in Korea they are not as common as in Japan.[1]In Japan, tōrō were originally used only in Buddhist temples, where they lined and illuminated paths. Lit lanterns were then considered an offering to Buddha.[2] During the Heian period (794-1185), however, they started being used also in Shinto shrines and private homes.[3]

In Japanese tradition a tea house ordinarily refers to a private structure designed for holding Japanese tea ceremonies. This structure and specifically the room in it where the tea ceremony takes place is called chashitsu (茶室?, literally "tea room"). The architectural space called chashitsu was created for aesthetic and intellectual fulfillment.

 Any survey of the history of Japanese gardens must admit two qualifications to every description and interpretation of a garden. The first pertains to the ephemeral nature of a garden. Plants and trees grow and die; water levels rise and fall, and rocks can be added, subtracted, or repositioned.

The second qualification concerns the degree to which these gardens reflect religious or philosophical attitudes. Many of the gardens are located in Zen temples, and this has led many modern interpreters to see them as direct expressions of Zen thought. This is not invalid so long as one understands that modern Zen may not correspond in all of its facets to the Zen of the past. It is also important to distinguish between contemplation and meditation. Japanese gardens are certainly meant to reward contemplation, but the practice and the goals of Zen meditation do not depend on the passive observation of external stimuli. Thecreation and maintenance of a garden can be seen as a Zen activity, since labor is one of the principal paths to enlightenment, but the final product--if any garden can actually be considered "final"--is not an object of Zen meditation.

kaisandō (開山堂 kaisan-dō?), also termed the Founder's Hall, is a temple structure in a Japanese Buddhist monastery complex or other temple where an image (or images) of the founding abbot and other significant teachers and Buddha ancestors are kept,[1] along with a memorial slab (J. ihai). Sometimes also referred to as the Patriarch Hall (J. soshido) or Reflection Hall (J. Eishitsu), this building holds memorial services yearly on the anniversary of the death of the founding abbot.[2]-Wikipedia

The pagoda of Tō-ji stands 54.8 m high, and is the tallest wooden tower in Japan. It dates from the Edo period, when it was rebuilt by order of the third TokugawaShogun, Iemitsu. The pagoda has been, and continues to be, a symbol of Kyoto. Entrance into the pagoda itself is permitted only a few days a year. - Wikipedia

Yes! We Love Kyoto! Neh?

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