March 30, 2011

Sakura (Prunus × subhirtella) blossoms in Tokei-ji

The long-awaited flowering season has just begun and the fresh lively colors of spring set about decorating the gardens of Zen splendidly.

The pale pink flowers of Sakura which bloom gracefully and fall all too soon symbolize the traditional life philosophy of the Japanese people, which sets much value on the non-attachment to our earthly existence.

All things must pass away through the law of nature.

These graceful flowers of spring bloom and fall swiftly and so we gratefully respect the transient but elegant beauty of them.

Mitsumata (Edgeworthia chrysantha)flowers in Engaku-ji

Spring flowers are blooming innocently like newborn infants without knowing that tragic occurrence.

Haku-mokuren (Magnolia heptapeta) buds in Engaku-ji

The milk white buds of Haku-mokuren are waiting impatiently for their full bloom under the deep blue sky.

Kawazu-zakura (Prunus lannesiana cv. Kawazu-zakura) flowers in Engaku-ji

A bamboo grove in Engaku-ji

Touched by the mild breeze of spring, the bamboo grove awakes from a sleep and begins to stir restlessly.

Aka-bana Mitsumata (Edgeworthia chrysantha cv. Rubra) flowers in Tokei-ji

Asebi (Pieris japonica) flowers in Engaku-ji

March 26, 2011

The spring garden of Tokei-ji

For the first time after that devastating earthquake, I visited Tokei-ji to pray for the repose and resurgence of all the victims of the tragic disaster and for the recovery and happiness of the Japanese people.

The garden of Zen remained calm and peaceful as ever and was full of the soft bright sunlight of spring and the sweet songs of birds.

Strangely enough, in this quiet garden of spring, it seemed just like something in a bad dream that we had encountered such a catastrophic occurrence and the countless victims of it were still suffering acutely from the sudden destruction of their lives.

I believe the patient and diligent people of our country will surely revive amidst the debris of shattered lives like the spring flowers and plants which begin to grow vigorously after enduring harsh cold winter.

I again express my deepest and sincere sympathies and condolences to all the victims of that heartbreaking catastrophe.

March 14, 2011


The update of this blog will be suspended for a certain period.

I tender my deepest and sincere sympathies and condolences to all the victims of the tragic earthquake and tsunami which have just occurred in our country.

March 5, 2011

Kawazu-zakura (Prunus lannesiana cv. Kawazu-zakura) flowers in Engaku-ji

The pale pink blossoms of a Kawazu-zakura tree, which is an early-flowering Japanese cherry tree, are opening all at once in the soft sunlight of this budding season.

Though the calendar says it has been spring, the warmth of this season is not here yet.

Soon the warm bright sun will roll around again high up in the air and the garden of Zen will become alive afresh with the birds, insects and flowers which proclaim spring happily.

These early-flowering cherry blossoms make us believe that our long-awaited springtime will surely arrive here in a little while.

A Jizo-bosatsu statue in Tokei-ji temple

The moss which thickly covers the rock surface begins to awake from its long sleep of winter and to grow steadily in the soft spring sun.

The little stone image of Jizo-bosatsu is fondly watching over the living things which are revived one after another by that tender sun.

Ume (Japanese apricot) flowers in Engaku-ji

Chasen-bai (Asplenium trichomanes) flowers in Tokei-ji

This unique Ume tree is called "Chasen-bai" (i.e. Chasen-ume) because the unfolded fine stamens of its small flower (about 1.5 cm in diameter) resemble the shape of a "chasen."

A "chasen" is a bamboo-made tea-whisk for a traditional tea ceremony, which is used to mix powdered green tea ("matcha") and hot water in a tea bowl ("chawan".)

This delicate flower must be one of the living gems of spring in this tranquil garden.

Tsubaki (camellia) flowers in Jochi-ji

I felt a quiet sorrow of parting in these winter flowers.

Winter has gone away at long last and the Tsubaki flowers, which have added precious colors to the colorless garden of winter, are calmly fading away one by one.

The seasons continue to turn around. I said farewell to these elegant winter flowers secretly in my heart.

The bamboo Grove of Kencho-ji

Mitsumata (Edgeworthia chrysantha) flowers in Jochi-ji

The vivid yellow flowers of Mitsumata are beginning to bloom luxuriantly and to emit the delightful fragrance of spring more and more.