May 13, 2018

Aosuji-ageha (blue-triangle) butterfly: Kencho-ji

Aosuji-ageha (blue-triangle)butterfly: Kencho-ji


Like a graceful daydream flitting in the bright sunlight, the blue-striped summer butterfly suddenly appeared from nowhere in the air and alighted on the small white flower before my eyes.

In an instant, it sucked nectar from the flower while beating its wings and then quickly fleeted from one flower to the next for eagerly seeking nectar. Immediately after doing so, it swiftly flied high up and vanished into thin air.

Summer butterflies are beginning to fly around here to let me realize that the season of the dazzling sun has just arrived.



Baika-utsugi (Philadelphus satsumi) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Baika-utsugi (Philadelphus satsumi) flowers: Kaizo-ji


Every flower blooms like a beautiful but transient dream.


A moment of stillness: Engaku-ji

A moment of stillness: Engaku-ji


At the very instant when the monk quietly got up on his feet, the rapid stream of time was frozen by the subtle chemistry of stillness and the absolute present moment revealed itself. 


Fresh green leaves: Shari-den, Engaku-ji

Fresh green leaves: Shari-den, Engaku-ji


The early summer breeze was gently blowing down from the slope thickly covered by the dazzling fresh green and was conveying to me the quiet aura of enlightenment which is completely pervading this small valley.


Kakitsubata (Iris laevigata) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Kakitsubata (Iris laevigata) flowers: Kaizo-ji

New leaves above the pond: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

New leaves above the pond: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Shaga (Iris japonica) flowers: Engaku-ji

Shaga (Iris japonica) flowers: Engaku-ji


Hime-utsugi (Deutzia gracilis) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Hime-utsugi (Deutzia gracilis) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Tsutsuji (Rhododendron) flowes: Kaizo-ji

Tsutsuji (Rhododendron) flowes: Kaizo-ji

Sekkoku (Dendrobium moniliforme) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Sekkoku (Dendrobium moniliforme) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Spring garden: Jochi-ji

Spring garden: Jochi-ji

Shiran (Bletilla striata Bletilla) flowers: Engaku-ji

Shiran (Bletilla striata Bletilla) flowers: Engaku-ji

April 28, 2018

Fresh green leaves of spring: Engaku-ji



Various new leaves have just emerged all at once and many kinds of fresh green are quickly flooding this peaceful garden.

These green colors, which are shining brightly in the abundant warm sunlight of mid-spring, represent the vivid vital sparks of plants. The brisk breeze passing through the new leaves lets me reaffirm that the cycle of life and growth is repeated as ever.

I deeply sensed the silent joy of all living things within the pleasant air drifting gently in this fresh green place.



Hana-matsuri (the anniversary of the birth of Buddha): Kaizo-ji

Hana-matsuri (the anniversary of the birth of Buddha): Kaizo-ji


On April 8, in almost all Japanese Buddhist temples, the "Hana-matsuri" (flower festival), which is also called "Kan-butsu-e" (the festival of bathing the new-born Buddha), is held for celebrating the birthday of Buddha.

A tiny "Hana-mido" (flower shrine) is decorated with various beautiful spring flowers. A small basin called "Kan-butsu-oke" (the tub for bathing Buddha) is filled with "Ama-cha" (sweet hydrangea tea). In this basin, an image of the newborn Buddha is placed and the worshipers pour Ama-cha tea onto this image for celebrating his birthday.

This practice of pouring Ama-cha is based on the legend that the nine dragons of heaven poured pure rainwater onto the newborn Buddha to give him a his first bath.

This newborn Buddha is standing in the symbolic pose for declaring that he is his own Lord throughout heaven and earth (Tenjyo-tenge-yuigadokuson) by pointing his fingers at heaven and earth.


Botan (Paeonia suffruticosa) flowers: Kencho-ji

Botan (Paeonia suffruticosa) flowers: Kencho-ji


Like beautiful and devotional offerings, the spring-peony flowers are blooming in full glory beside the quiet stone path leading to the "Sho-do" shrine (the shrine in which the image of the founder is placed).

This inmost shrine of Kencho-ji temple is sacred to the memory of Lanxi Daolong, who crossed over to Japan and founded this temple as a Rinzai-Zen training monastery by request of the regent of the Kamakura shogunate in the 13th century.

A peony flower is called the queen of flowers and was introduced into Japan from China.