February 5, 2024

Mejiro (Warbling white-eye bird) and Ume (japanese apricot) : Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Mejiro (Warbling white-eye bird) and Ume (japanese apricot) : Tsurugaoka-hachimangu


Without waiting the first spring breeze, the white noble flowers of Ume are beginning to bloom gracefully so as to announce the imminent arrival of spring before any flower.

The faint pleasant aroma of these white flowers is drifting softly through the dry chilly air and is inviting every starved bird which is hungry for sweet spring nectar.

The winter resting period will soon be over and the warm sunlight will once again illuminate this world abundantly. 

All living things, which have gently kept holding their breath in the stillness of winter, are eagerly awaiting the return of the merciful seasons for their vigorous rebirth and regrowth.

Ume (japanese apricot) : Engaku-ji

Ume (japanese apricot) : Engaku-ji


If plants and trees possess their minds, then their blooming may secretly imply their silent joy of being alive and breeding in the turning of the seasons.

As if to unveil the sign of coming spring, numerous snow-white Ume flowers are brightly blooming on the gnarled branches of the long-lived mossy tree which has quietly endured the harsh cold of winter.

Before long, these graceful flowers will scatter and disappear one after another. The new green leaves of this tree will come out quickly all together to erase the memory of these lost flowers.


Kobai (rose plum) : Engaku-ji

Kobai (rose plum) : Engaku-ji


According to the teaching of Buddha, any emotion based on our five senses always causes empty, fleeting illusions. Our attachment to it must be carefully restrained to obtain the true path to the spiritual awakening.

All seasonal flowers are so beautiful and mystical that they stir my mind profoundly every time I find them. 

Most especially, in an almost colorless garden under the gray winter sky, the rosy flowers of Kobai always move me deeply. I have a great feeling of joy as if I had witnessed the gentle smiles of the innocent children who have just arrived from somewhere in the vast universe.

This momentary delusion brings a precious delight and then disappears in an instance as my passing daydream about those flowers.


Mejiro (Warbling white-eye bird) and Ume (japanese apricot) : Kaizo-ji

Mejiro (Warbling white-eye bird) and Ume (japanese apricot) : Kaizo-ji

 

Huyu-botan (winter peony) and Taihu stones : Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Huyu-botan (winter peony) and Taihu stones : Tsurugaoka-hachimangu


The typical flowering season of peonies is early summer. But, in the cold mid-winter, when the beautiful colors of flowers can be hardly found in gardens, the colorful flowers of Huyu-botan (winter peony) are made to bloom artificially and displayed to delight the eye of flower fanciers.

These delicate flowers are very vulnerable to harsh winter weather and are affectionately sheltered in straw-covers to protect them against the coldness and dryness of winter.

Taihu stones are oddly-shaped stones with many holes and have been cut out of the hills around Lake Taihu, near Suzhou, China. 

These stones have been highly prized as the traditional garden stones in China. They are placed in the renowned gardens in Suzhou and other parts of China for appreciation and meditation.

The hills around Lake Taihu and the islands in the lake are made of pale limestone, and the long erosion by lake water has created many holes in the limestone, giving it complex and tasteful shapes like modern sculpures.

I don't know by what strange connection these winter peonies and Taihu stones are arranged in this garden, but it is certainly a very rare and beautiful garden scene in the deep of winter.



Huyu-botan (winter peony) : Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Huyu-botan (winter peony) : Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

 

Ume (japanese apricot) : Engaku-ji

Ume (japanese apricot) : Engaku-ji

 

Kobai (rose plum) : Engaku-ji

Kobai (rose plum) : Engaku-ji

 

Ume (japanese apricot) : Engaku-ji

Ume (japanese apricot) : Engaku-ji

 

Huyu-botan (winter peony) : Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Huyu-botan (winter peony) : Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

 

Ume (japanese apricot) : Engaku-ji

Ume (japanese apricot) : Engaku-ji

 

Suisen (narcissus) and Manryo (coralberry) : Kaizo-ji

Suisen (narcissus) and Manryo (coralberry) : Kaizo-ji

 

Kobai (rose plum) : Kaizo-ji

Kobai (rose plum) : Kaizo-ji

 

Ume (japanese apricot) : Engaku-ji

Ume (japanese apricot) : Engaku-ji

 

Huyu-botan (winter peony) : Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Huyubotan (winter peony) : Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

 

Huyu-botan (winter peony) : Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Huyubotan (winter peony) : Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

 

December 3, 2023

Autumnal tints: Kencho-ji

Autumnal tints: Kencho-ji


Just before the arrival of pale cold winter, being stimulated by a sudden drop in temperature, the various green leaves of deciduous trees are hurriedly becoming dyed in vivid hues of flame, creating a dazzling mosaic of autumnal tints.

The stone monument of Kanzan and Jittoku, which was donated by Kanzan-ji Temple in Suzhou of China, is standing still in this grove. These legendary Chinese Zen monks of Tang Dynasty, whose legends symbolize the eccentric spirit of Zen, seem to be enjoying this autumn-colored extravaganza, dancing with great glee and laughing uproariously.

As if to compete with the autumn leaves for beauty, the bright magenta flowers of Kantsubaki (Camellia in the Winter) are coming into full bloom and adding another graceful colors to this late-autumn spectacle.


Autumnal tints: Kencho-ji

Autumnal tints: Kencho-ji


The rapid fall of air temperature gives rise to the exquisite chemistry of deciduous trees for drying their leaves and letting them wear bright autumn colors before scattering.

This transformation makes it possible for these trees to endure cold winter and to revive in next spring.

The world is continuing to change ceaselessly moment by moment. We can sense this law of nature by noticing the various transformations of all living things that appear in the rapid changing of the seasons.

The autumn leaves, dyed in vivid flame colors, are glowing brilliantly in the afternoon sunlight that is beginning to tilt. The greenish-blue copper roof of the temple building is accentuating these blazing colors gently.


Autumnal tints: Kencho-ji

Autumnal tints: Kencho-ji


The bright yellow flowers of Tsuwabuki (Japanese silver leaf) are in full bloom against the flaming autumn leaves. These flowers bloom from late fall to early winter, and appear to be eagerly resisting the unavoidable loss of lively colors before wintry desolation deepens rapidly in this garden. 

This garden plant has long been popular as a plant that adorns gardens all year round, not only for its flowers which vividly bloom in late fall, but also for its evergreen variegated leaves.


Autumnal tints: Kencho-ji

Autumnal tints: Kencho-ji


The bamboo grove has stopped their vigorous growth and is quieting down in anticipation of the arrival of cold winter. The sudden drop in temperature is causing the deciduous leaves to flare up brightly before their falling.

Just like the glory of the sunset above the sea, this dazzling scene of late autumn can only be seen for a very short period of time. Soon, the cold winter winds must cause these autumnal tints to disappear one after another in the blink of an eye.


Autumnal tints: Kencho-ji

Autumnal tints: Kencho-ji