April 26, 2011

Shidare-zakura (Prunus pendula) and Yama-zakura (Prunus jamasakura) blossoms in Kencho-ji

Inspired by the splendid blossoming of Sakura, various flowers of vivid colors have begun to burst into bloom hastily and fresh green leaves of plants have started to dazzle our eyes with their innocent brightness.

The lively colors of nature have returned to life now and stay some time in the gardens of Zen to make us feel the pure joy of being alive until the dim pale gray of winter silently sneaks in.

The elegant building behind the cherry trees is called "San-mon" (mountain gate) and is typical of Zen temples. It is said that we can be saved from our earthly desires by passing under this temple gate of enlightenment.

Yamabuki (Kerria japonica) flowers in Engaku-ji

Shokassai (Orychophragmus violaceus) flowers in Tokei-ji

The bluish violet flower of Shokassai is one of the earliest forerunners of spring in Kita-kamakura.

Its modest and childlike figure shows us the first sign of this season of budding and growing.

Shaga (Iris japonica) flowers in Kencho-ji

In every April, one after another the little butterfly-like flowers of Shaga bloom everywhere in Kita-kamakura and let us know that our long-awaited springtime has arrived here at last.

The name "Shaga" means the wooden folding fan which is used in the Imperial Court. This flower is also called Kocho-bana, which means a butterfly flower.

Yama-zakura (Prunus jamasakura) blossoms in Kencho-ji

Shidare-zakura (Prunus pendula) blossoms in Tokei-ji

Maple leaves in Tokei-ji

Boke (Chaenomeles speciosa) flowers in Kencho-ji

April 19, 2011

Shidare-zakura (Prunus pendula) blossoms in Kencho-ji

In the bright afternoon sun which is declining slightly, the balmy breeze of spring is gently swaying the drooping spray of Shidare-zakura blossoms as if it tried to tenderly caress these graceful blossoms.

Spring is here to awake us to the joy of life again.

The joyful sweet songs of birds are heard here and there among the fresh green leaves of trees and the flowers of various colors are blooming everywhere in the sunny garden of Zen.

("Shidare-zakura" means a "weeping cherry tree" and is also called "Ito-zakura" because this cherry tree has thread("Ito")-like slim branches.)

Yama-zakura (Prunus jamasakura) blossoms in Tokei-ji

Sakura (Prunus × yedoensis) blossoms in Engaku-ji

In the Buddhist world, flowers symbolize the infinite mercy and wisdom of Buddha.

Standing underneath the innumerable full-blown blossoms of Sakura, I surely realized the true meaning of this beautiful symbolism.

Yama-zakura (Prunus jamasakura) blossoms in Kencho-ji

Sakura (Prunus × yedoensis) blossoms in Engaku-ji

Yama-zakura (Prunus jamasakura) blossoms in Engaku-ji

April 12, 2011

Sakura (Prunus × yedoensis) blossoms in Engaku-ji

Here in Kita-kamakura, Sakura blossoms are almost at their best now.

Sakura trees secretly prepare their brilliant blossoming in the harsh coldness of winter. The colder and longer winter is, the more their blossoms are magnificent and flourishing in spring.

In the garden of Zen, the stories of nature silently told by the living things wake us to the truth and elegance of the universe.

A Tsubaki (camellia) flower in Engaku-ji

Yama-zakura (Prunus jamasakura) blossoms in Engaku-ji

The hill at the back of the Shari-den (the hall of Buddha's bones) is decorated exquisitely with the snowy blossoms of wild cherry trees.

Soon their pure white petals will fall hastily with one accord like a snowstorm in the rustling spring wind without the decline of their pureness.

Sakura (Prunus × yedoensis) blossoms in Engaku-ji

Shidare-zakura (Prunus pendula) blossoms in Tokei-ji

Sakura (Prunus × yedoensis) blossoms in Engaku-ji

Tosa-mizuki (Corylopsis spicata) flowers in Engaku-ji

April 6, 2011

Sakura (Prunus × yedoensis) blossoms in Engaku-ji

The elegant blossoms of Sakura are flourishingly blooming and finely singing of the glorious climax of springtime.

The period when Sakura is in bloom is only 2 weeks or so. Then Sakura blossoms are gracefully scattered all together like a spring snowfall in a sudden mild breeze without any lingering attachment to this world.

I never know why Sakura blossoms fall so soon in spite of our long patient waiting for their flowering.

I pray that these beautiful blossoms continue to bloom a little longer to console the people of our country because this spring is a very extraordinary spring.

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

In Kita-kamakura, the short-lived lotus-like flowers of Haku-mokuren are in full-blown magnificently in the air of various gardens.

This Haku-mokuren tree is said to have been presented to D.T.Suzuki (1870-1966) by Lu Xun (1881-1936) who is one of the most celebrated Chinese novelists.

The name "Haku-mokuren" means "a tree which bears white lotus-like flowers."

Kibushi (Stachyurus praecox) flowers in Engaku-ji

Sakura (Prunus × yedoensis) blossoms in Engaku-ji