July 24, 2013

A sacred lotus flower in Kaizo-ji

Spurred on by the intense heat and sunlight in late July, the graceful flowers of sacred lotus are beginning to bloom quietly one after another and to slowly diffuse an enticing aroma into the hot air.

This lotus is grown in a Hasu-bachi (a pottery basin for lotus) placed in the small garden of the temple.

The large leaves of the lotus, which shade the exquisite silky flower from the harsh dazzling sun, are beautifully decorating the French rose and Chinese yellow of the flower with their vivid emerald green.

A sacred lotus flower in Kaizo-ji

The enigmatic figure and dainty colors of a lotus flower are the precious and delightful gift which is given to us by high summer.

A Kitateha butterfly in Kaizo-ji

A sacred lotus flower in Kaizo-ji

Maple leaves in Engaku-ji

A sleeping cat in Engaku-ji

On the weathered corridor of the Hojo hall, an aged cat is catnapping peacefully to dream a brief dream.

Like this old cat, we are dreaming the fleeting dream called a life.

In the Zen temples of Japan, cats are traditionally cherished by temple people because they are believed to protect precious sacred books from the damage by rats.

A sacred lotus flower in Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

A sacred lotus bud in Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Kikyo (Platycodon grandiflorus) flowers in Kaizo-ji

Nouzen-kazura (Campsis grandiflora) flowers in Kaizo-ji

July 8, 2013

A seascape from Morito-coast (Hayama)

The silver rays of the declining sun are pouring down through rifts in the mottled clouds to softly illuminate the calm surface of the sea.

The dark silhouettes of rocks, a island and a peninsula are adorning the subtle beauty of this seascape of serenity.

Morito coast is located beside "Hayama-machi" in Miura District, Kanagawa Prefecture. This coastal area is situated at the northern end of Miura Peninsula and facing Sagami Bay on the Pacific Ocean. I often visit this tranquil coast to enjoy its peaceful and boundless scenery.

A seascape from Morito-coast (Hayama)

Just after a long spell of rainy weather, the bright azure sky of summer showed itself radiantly together with an infinity of snow-white clouds.

A seascape from Morito-coast (Hayama)

The thin beams of light from the dazzling sun are spreading through the low clouds into the violet evening sky.

The sparkling reflection of the sun is rippling gently on the pacific surface of the endless sea.

A seascape from Morito-coast (Hayama)

In the stillness of the evening calm, the quiet surface of the sea softly illuminated by the setting sun reminded me of the eternity for some time before dark.

Ajisai (Hydrangea macrophylla form. macrophylla) flowers in Engaku-ji

The rainy-blue flowers of Ajisai are blooming quietly as if to know their flowering season will soon end.

A zen monk is walking on gently on the empty path along these flowers of rain.

Everything is fleeting and eternal in this garden.

Water-lily flowers in Engaku-ji

In the basin hiding in the weed, the yellow flowers of water lily are delightedly basking in the precious sunshine between showers.

The shari-den of Engaku-ji

I saw trainee monks silently practicing "Kin-hin" or walking-meditation in the forecourt of the Shari-den.

"Kin-hin" means "going and returning in a place" and is practiced in the intervals between Zazen sessions in order to relieve the fatigue and drowsiness caused by the seated meditation.

Ajisai (Hydrangea macrophylla form. macrophylla) flowers in Tokei-ji

Ajisai (Hydrangea macrophylla form. macrophylla) flowers in Engaku-ji

The violet ajisai flowers were hiding among the glossy leaves like bashful children.

The bamboo grove of Jochi-ji

Lotus leaves in Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Gaku-ajisai (Hydrangea macrophylla) flowers in Eisho-ji

I tried to aim at representing a Japanese-style (or ukiyo-e-style) scene of this season through the combination of the blue flowers of Ajisai and the Kanji and kana characters on the stone monument behind them.