November 7, 2017

Aka-tateha (Vanessa indica) butterfly: Kaizo-ji

In the tranquil garden of this humble temple, the beginning of autumn has already caused the light violet flowers of Sion to come into full bloom.

In the lucid sunlight pouring down through the high clouds, these abundant flowers are magnificently shining to compose the momentary splendor of this transient season.

A vivid orange butterfly of autumn has flown away swiftly into the air after alighting on a flower for an instant.

Sion (Michaelmas daisy) flowers: Kaizo-ji

A fitful north wind is gently stirring the leaves which have just begun to change colors.

Autumn is deepening earlier than I expected.

The full-blown flowers of Sion are slowly swaying in the dry cooling wind as if to convey the joy and emotion of their brief and glorious blooming.

Rindo (Gentiana scabra var. buergeri) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Sion (Michaelmas daisy) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Kinmokusei (fragrant olive) flowers: Engaku-ji

Shuumei-giku (Japanese anemone) flowers: Engaku-ji

Hagi (Japanese bush clover) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Hototogisu (Japanese toad lily) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Shumei-giku (Anemone japonica) flowers: Engaku-ji

Susuki (Japanese plume grass): Kita-kamakura

October 8, 2017

Higan-bana (Lycoris radiata) flowers and Kuro-ageha (Papilio protenor) butterfly: Tokei-ji

In the gardens of Zen, the intenseness of summer is passing away stealthily and the calmness of autumn is coming closer quietly.

In the gardens where the dainty flowers of autumn begin blooming, summer butterflies with worn-out wings, which once flitted high in the dazzling sky, are gently flying low to eagerly search for the remaining floral nectar.

Without our noticing, such an exquisite butterfly of summer will soon disappear from view after devotedly fulfilling its own mission in life.

Monument to the memory of Dogen Zenji (Shikantaza, or "Just sitting"): Kamakura

The stone monument, on which the fundamental principle (i.e. "just sitting" or shikantaza) of Dogen Zenji  (the founder of the Soto Zen school) is engraved, is shining brightly in the burning sunlight of summer.

A Saru-suberi (Indian lilac) tree with countless vivid magenta flowers is standing by the side of this monument as if to quietly meditate under the deep blue sky.

"Just sitting" and "Shinshin datsuraku" (the freedom from body and mind) are the profound doctrines of Dogen, who teaches us the way to experience the ultimate spiritual awakening.

(Please click the bold-faced words to open their linked pages.)

Hagi (Lespedeza) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Higan-bana (Lycoris radiata) flowers: Tokei-ji

Hagi (Lespedeza) flowers: Chojyu-ji