August 15, 2011

White clouds above Engaku-ji

The blistering sun of August is overwhelmingly taking over the quiet hill and valley surrounding this old temple with its abundant light and intense heat.

The bluish-green coppered roof of the Buddha hall is glistening in the relentless sun.

The luxuriant summer leaves of trees are absorbing the brilliant sunlight in a rapture of delight.

The deep voices of sutra-chanting are sounding in unison with the ecstatic singing of cicadas.

White feathery clouds are endlessly drifting across the dazzling azure sky.

Shukaido (Hardy begonia) flowers in Engaku-ji

The small coral pink flowers of Shukaido are put on the rim of the stone washbasin as a traditional seasonal symbol to please the eyes of the visitors to this Tacchu (minor temple) called Obai-in (winter jasmine house) .

The name "Shukaido" means "a flower which blooms in autumn" and this flower represents one of the first signs of autumn in our traditional sense of seasons.

Although high summer still reigns overpoweringly, autumn is approaching slowly but steadily.

Stone Bosatsu images in Engaku-ji

In the glaring afternoon sun, the sharp silhouette of a Hakuunboku (white cloud tree) is falling onto the Hyaku-Kannon garden (the garden of one hundred Kannon-bosatsu images).

The countless white flowers of this tree, which once blossomed in full glory in May, have already become the cascades of green fruits which are lazily swaying to the hot wind.

The moss-covered stone images of Kannon are quietly gazing into the currents of time passing swiftly in front of them.

Ominaeshi (Patrinia scabiosifolia) flowers in Tokei-ji

A bamboo grove in Meigetsu-in

Susuki (Japanese pampas grass) in Meigetsu-in

The Karesansui garden of Meigetsu-in

August 8, 2011

The garden of Kencho-ji

Beneath the dazzling sun of August, the water surface of the Shinji-ike, which is a pond shaped like the Chinese character for “heart,” was rippling gently in the hot summer air.

We have many bridges to cross for attaining to the truth of ourselves. I felt this small wooden bridge over the pond secretly told me so.

The garden of Kencho-ji

The garden of Zen is a microcosm of the universe.

Like my mind, the clear summer sky is gently dancing on the slight ripples of this quiet pond.

A sacred lotus flower in Kaizo-ji

A bamboo grove in Kencho-ji

Sacred lotus flowers in Tsurugaoka-hachimangu