December 4, 2014

Colored leaves of maple: Engaku-ji

In the chilly gardens of December, the deciduous trees hastily discolor their green leaves to make preparations for harsh winter. The leaves lose moisture and their leaf green undergoes a chemical change to turn bright autumnal colors.

These leaves beautifully change their colors to be scattered in a puff of the cold wind and the fallen leaves slowly decompose on the ground for providing the rich nutrients in the soil.

When winter goes away and spring comes, young green leaves emerge vigorously thanks to the nutrients which the dead leaves had left behind.

Autumn leaves: Engaku-ji

In the cold lucid sun of early winter, the leaves of maple take on bright flaming colors to fall and return to soil.

The cycle of life quietly continues its spinning, revealing the transient and precious beauty of the four seasons going by.

Colored leaves of maple: Engaku-ji

Autumn grove: Tokei-ji

Autumn leaves: Engaku-ji

Bamboo grove in autumn: Kencho-ji

Autumn leaves: Engaku-ji

Autumn leaves: Engaku-ji

Autumn leaves of maple: Engaku-ji

Autumn leaves: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

November 3, 2014

Autumn leaves: Kaizo-ji

The vivid colors of autumn are gradually coming back to the garden of Zen after a lapse of one year.

As coldness increases bit by bit, the leaves of all deciduous trees are changing colors beautifully to prepare for their scattering in winter.

Before my eyes, the cycle of life is revolving ceaselessly and quietly.

Fallen leaves: Jochi-ji

The fallen leaves are protectively embraced in the tangled thread-like green leaves. 

Bamboo grove: Jochi-ji

The whole body of a bamboo grove is a unitary life-form, which continues its constant and rapid growth determinedly without any decline.

The ever-changing beauty of a bamboo grove, which I find in all seasons, must derive from the amazing vital force of this tireless plant.

Seitaka-awadachiso (Solidago altissima) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Japanese Oak Silkmoth: Engaku-ji

A beautiful silk-moth is tightly clinging to the stone image of Nyoi-rin-kannon as if to ask for teachings and protection from this deity of mercy.

"Nyoi" stands for the precious orb which brings wisdom and happiness and "Rin" means the chakra which smashes any earthly desire. Nyoi-rin-kannon hold these divine belongings to bring salvation for all living things.

Shumeigiku (Anemone hupehensis var. japonica) flowers: Tokei-ji

Hototogisu (Tricyrtis) flowers: Tokei-ji

Stone bridge: Jochi-ji

Sion (Aster tataricus) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Susuki, Japanese silver grass; Kita-kamakura

October 4, 2014

Hagi (Lespedeza) flowers: Kaizo-ji

As autumn deepens slowly and surely, various flowers of this serene season begin to bloom in a hurry to prepare for the stealthy approaching of winter.

The countless thin branches, which are heavy with magenta butterfly-shaped flowers, are drooping down like a motionless waterfall.

The liquid afternoon sunlight special to this season is pouring on these flowers to give its blessing silently.

Hagi (Lespedeza) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Like the dazzling sparks of fireworks bursting in the sky, the innumerable flowers are dancing in the wind over the narrow stone steps ascending into the garden of early autumn.

Stream: Kencho-ji

The stream is flowing continuously like the ceaseless passage of time.

The bright green moss thickly covering the stone wall is shining gently in the soft sun of this fleeting beautiful season.

Colored leaves: Kencho-ji

Like slow flames spreading gradually, vivid autumnal tints are appearing bit by bit on the leaves in the gardens.

Colored leaves: Chojyu-ji

Hagi (Lespedeza)flowers: Chojyu-ji

Aged tree: Tokei-ji

Higanbana (Lycoris radiata) flower: Tokei-ji

Bamboo leaves: Tokei-ji

Higanbana (Lycoris radiata) flowers: Tokei-ji

August 25, 2014

Fallen petals of sacred lotus flower: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Quickly summer is passing away and the intensity of the dazzling sun is gradually decreasing day by day.

The best season of lotus flowers has already come to an end and their enticing aroma has almost faded away in the soft air around the ponds.

At nights, insects are singing lively in every thicket to declare their mating season, which heralds the invisible arrival of crisp and beautiful autumn.

Kara-mon (Chinese gate); Kencho-ji

This exquisite combination of the golden Chinese gate and the flowers of lotus is peculiar to this bright season.

The curves and textures of the copper and tile roofs are forming a beautiful rhythmical pattern, which makes me feel the music of silence.

Bamboo grove: Kencho-ji

Like a spiritually awakened sage, ever-green bamboo trees are growing higher and higher without rest, absorbing sunlight, water and wind vigorously.

San-mon (moutain gate): Kencho-ji

The five-colored hangings, which are suspended from the eaves of the mountain gate for a celebration day, are slowly swaying in the gentle breeze of late summer.

These five colors are symbolic of the five kinds of wisdom of Buddha.

Red is the blood color of Buddha and represents his profound compassion on all living things in this painful world.

Gold (or yellow) is his body color and represents his ultimate power which destroys all earthly evil passions and darkness.

Green (or blue) is his hair color and symbolizes his absolute tranquility of wisdom which can reveal the eternal truth of everything.

Purple is his robe (Kesa) color and represents his supreme endurance which overcomes every persecution, temptation and insult.

White is his tooth color and symbolizes his pure heart which cleanses every evil and agony of this land of the living.

Fern leaves: Kita-kamakura

Sacred lotus flowers: Tokei-ji

Tea-house in the summer garden: Sankei-en (Yokohama)

Sacred lotus flowers: Sankei-en (Yokohama)

Water lily flowers: Sankei-en (Yokohama)

July 23, 2014

Sacred lotus flowers: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

In the dazzling sunlight pouring down from the azure summer sky, the flowers of sacred lotus are rivaling each other in beauty and splendor.

A lotus flower lasts only four days. One open with the dawn, one comes into full bloom to spread a fragrant aroma into the hot air, and one quietly scatters in the lazy breezes of a summer afternoon.

Before my eyes, the brilliant dance of life is rapidly reaching a crescendo in the burning brightness of summer days.

Sacred lotus flower: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Sacred lotus flower: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Sacred lotus flowers: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Sacred lotus flowers: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Sacred lotus flowers: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Sacred lotus flowers: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Sacred lotus flowers: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

July 15, 2014

A sacred lotus flower: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

The gloomy rainy season is approaching to its end steadily. The seasons are changing ceaselessly like an unending stream of water.

The flowers of Ajisai, which once adorned every gardens of Kita-kamakura with their quiet but elegant beauty, have already been past their prime and are on the gradual decline in the sun glowing brighter day after day.

The graceful flowers of sacred lotus, which are the fragrant manifestation of high summer, are beginning to bloom above the smooth water surface of ponds as if to eagerly await the arrival of their summer.

A sacred lotus flower: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

A sacred lotus flower rises up from tainted muddy water and blooms dignifiedly without any impurity.

In Buddhistic culture, this noble flower of summer symbolizes the infinite wisdom and mercy of Buddha, who saves all living things from their sufferings.

Ajisai (Japanese hydrangea) flowers: Tokei-ji