September 27, 2011

Contentment and Tenderness

My husband and I have been searching for a new house or apartment to live with my mother. Recently my mother feels uneasy without us often and we have put the priority to take care of her and to find a new place.  To spend more time with her is happy for us and to search for the new places is exciting for us, but  I have had less time to take photos or post blogs.  I have no way except posting a new one occasionally or simpler one for a while.  Thanks a lot for visiting my blog and leaving heartwarming comments.

I do not know when summer had gone and autumn came.  Not yet autumn leaves, but wind  and sunset tell me transparent autumn is here.

 When wind blows,  silver grasses bow.  

They are shining in the early sunset.

Young sunset over Great Buddha Hall.

Over the five storied pagoda.

 Nara is a blaze in the sunset.

I love gold waves of paddy fields.  Contentment and tenderness of autumn.
 I don't know the names of grasses but they are beutiflly shinning.

Who Has Seen the Wind?
by Christina Rosetti

Who has seen the wind?
Neither I nor you:
But when the leaves hang trembling,
The wind is passing through.

Who has seen the wind?
Neither you nor I:
But when the trees bow down their heads,
The wind is passing by.

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September 19, 2011

Enjoy the harvest moon with Buddha

When we see the moon, we feel romantic and associate it with the story of a beautiful princess "Kaguya" who came to the earth and went back to the moon. Children imagine the rabbits are pounding rice cake in the moon. How about you? Do you feel romantic or lunatic? Do you associate the moon with beautiful stories or the stories of werewolves and Dracula?

Every year in autumn we enjoy the harvest moon, the most beautiful moon of the year. "Moon Viewing Festival" is held all over Japan. This year it was held on September 12th.

I went to Toshodai-ji Temple in Nara for Moon Viewing, which was built as a private temple and school by one Chinese high priest, Jian Zhen(鑑真) in the 8th century.  The ritual was held solemnly before the Moon Viewing". What a gorgeous ceremony it was!!  Buddhas and Kannon were enjoying the harvest moon with us.

Two Buddhas and one Kannon, the deity of mercy and compassion were lit up. Gold leaf on them was partially fading away, but I felt more shining and glory because of it. 

The Vairocana Buddha is the main object of worship.
Merciful eyes,  the blessing hand and a  number of small Buddhas on the halo.

One-thousand-handed Kannon who has one eye on each palm.
One thousand savings hands. I wonder how many hands are needed to save us.
One of the hands is holding even a skull. What does it mean?

Healing Buddha with a halo in the shape of a medicine pot.

When the harvest moon appeared from the clouds,
the excitement quietly rippled among the people.

Since ancient days, we have admired the moon and written poems about it. Every phase of the moon has been appreciated, but particularly the harvest moon has been most loved. In autumn, praying for an abundant harvest and gazing at the full moon must have evoked the very special sentiment in farmers since agriculture had been done based on the lunar calendar.

Visit the temple on a rainy day, and you can almost monopolize it.

The temple has the very lovely gardens and serene paths.

The temple is famous for a large collection of lotus flowers.

The pond where lotus flowers grow.

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September 11, 2011

Kamo River always in my heart・・・, Kyoto

This is the river which is most loved by people in Kyoto, city of waterways. Kyoto people enjoy strolling here and feel the changing of the seasons. Also It is a very popular date spot. It is interesting that the couples sit down on the banks spacing themselves at equal intervals in the evening. It's true.

The river is flowing gently, but once upon a time the river was so wild that it often flooded and tormented Kyoto people.  In the eleventh century, the powerful Emperor Shirakawa lamented saying " Kamo River is one of three things which I can never manage to control . " Others were dice and  soldier monks of Enryaku-ji Temple in Mt. Hiei.

If you like water birds, the river is the right place.
The river glitters in the afternoon light and shows stained-glass like reflections.

Just before sunset, the scenery looks like a simple black and white world.

A sunset is approaching.

If you like gazing at a sunset, the river is one of the most beautiful spots.
The white tents were temporarily made to prepare for a candle festival.

If you want to see something special,  visit here in summer. Many restaurants lining along the river, set up "川床- Yuka meaning a floor" which are open air dining places made over the river during summer..
Here, people are enjoying dinner catching the cool
and comfortable breezes blowing over the river.

 This is the special delight during hot summer in Kyoto. While walking along the river, 
we overhear joyful laughter and merry conversations floating out from Yuka.
But dinning in Yuka is rather expensive.

  I found one place where we can enjoy the atmoshpere of Yuka
 at the price, about  4 U.S. dollars. It is Starbucks coffee shop.
 When I saw Yuka set up at this American coffee shop,
 I thought "This is Kyoto where Old and New, Traditional and Modern stand side by side."

My grandmother and mother were born and raised in Kyoto. I was born in Kyoto and my family moved to Osaka when I was 5 years old. During school holidays, I would go to Kyoto to stay with my grandmother. I still remember a small tributary of Kamo River near the grandmother's house.

After rain, a tiny spider is composing a prelude of autumn on a subtle staff notation.

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September 03, 2011

What Do You See in Fifteen Rocks and White Gravels?・・・ Kyoto

I had been away from my blog for a long time because I had very bad summer fatigue.  Also my mother has been weaker on account of old age and has needed more help.
I am glad to restart my blog, but sorry if I slow down. It depends on my mother's condition.

Probably, this is the most famous and remarkable Japanese garden in the world;a dry landscape garden of Ryoan-ji Temple in Kyoto, laid out around 1500.
The rock garden measures only 25 meters wide and 10 meters deep.
How simple and small it is!

The garden is made of only fifteen rocks, white gravels and moss. Interesting enough, no matter where you view the fifteen rocks from, you can not see all of them at the same time. This reflects the philosophy of Zen Buddhism as well as the Japanese appreciation of the imperfection.  Fifteen is considered as the perfect number. 

According to one book, there is the spot in the main hall
where we can see all fifteen rocks at the same time, but the main hall has not been allowed to enter
so I could not check if it is true or not.

Many priests of Zen Buddhism have meditated facing the rock garden.

Every visitor sits on  his or her favorite place of  the veranda and  gazes at the garden. Maybe  they quietly speak to rocks in their mind. I'm sure the rocks will listen to them

This spot is my favorite . I feel as if I saw and heard water. 
 The longer I gaze at the garden, the larger it looks.

It is said that the raked white gravels represent the ocean with beautiful flowing streams, and the rocks are compared to the mountains. What a genius came up with this unique idea of creating a dry landscape garden without using water!

There are other interpretations about the lay-out of the garden. The immense universe, the ocean with islands or a sea of clouds with mountains and so on. It doesn't matter at all as it is open to your imagination.  What do you see here?

Don't miss a huge, serene pond along the approach to the main hall.  This pond is the multi-colored world  while the rock garden is rather the monochromatic one. I admired the beauty of blooming flowers, but I prefered the rusty elegance of the leaves to the flowers at this time.

A tinny butterfly looks happy surrounded by happy yellow. (in Nara Park)

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"My World" was over because of the passing of Klaus Peter , the founder of "My World".
My blog was nurtured through "My World" a lot. I offer my deepest condolences to him.