February 24, 2011
In the gardens of Zen, the Ume flowers are coming into full bloom and spreading their delicate incense still more.
Soon the warm breezes of spring will begin to blow softly from the east to gently caress the emerging sprouts and buds of plants.
In the tender sunlight, the elegant flowers of Ume are blossoming in full glory as if to be proud of their endurance against the harsh trials of that late winter.
The Ume flowers were presented as an offering to the little stone statue of Jizo-bosatsu that was basking in the spring sun.
Jizo-bosatsu is the Buddhist guardian deity of stray travelers and children and is believed to descend into Hell by himself for rescuing them from there.
February 17, 2011
After the unseasonal one-night snow, I found the small flowers of Fukujyu-so blooming inconspicuously in the mild morning sunlight.
”Fukujyu-so” means "the plant of long life and happiness" and its flowers blossom as an early and brilliant forerunner of spring.
The lingering snow, which seemed to be a last trace of winter in the garden, disappeared from view soon in the warmth of the sun.
Snow is called "ten-ge" (celestial flowers) in Buddhist terminology, which means "the flowers that bloom in the celestial world." The paper flowers scattered before the Buddha's image in Buddhist rituals are also called "ten-ge."
The sudden night snow of early spring was quietly scattered like innumerable white petals on the Shari-den (the hall of Buddha's bones) to celebrate the return of the time of rebirth and growth.
February 9, 2011
Spring is approaching moment by moment.
Ume trees are blossoming as the first and graceful herald of spring.
Honeybees begin to emerge from their harsh winter confinement to fly vigorously from flower to flower in the soft spring sunlight.
Soon the milk-white flowers of Haku-mokuren will bloom gorgeously all at once in the garden of Zen to celebrate the return of springtime.
This particular Haku-moruken tree was gifted to D.T.Suzuki by Lu Xun (a prominent Chinese writer, 1881-1936).
February 2, 2011
A sign of spring is sensed in the gardens of Zen as the faint fragrance of Ume flowers which floats on a breath of the air.
The bright sunlight begins to come back deliberately between the gloomy clouds and the dull gray sky of winter starts on its retreat evidently.
Plants are anxiously waiting for the arrival of spring to present bouquets to this season of awakening and growing.