August 19, 2015

Daibutsu-den (the Temple of the Great Buddha) at the Lantern Festival: Todai-ji (Nara)

I visited Nara city (the capital city of Nara Prefecture of Japan) to attend the Bon Lantern Festival (the Buddhist festival of the dead) held at Todai-ji temple and Kasuga-taisha Shinto shrine.

In the dim blue twilight, the Temple of the Great Buddha was solemnly illuminated and the countless lanterns were gently flickering to beacon the souls of deceased persons who return to the land of the living once a year.

Through the Kan-so-mado (the window to see the face), the shining statue of Virocana Buddha was mercifully watching over this memorial festival of lights, in which the souls and their living families are supposed to be able to meet again.

Rushana-butsu (the Great Buddha of Nara): Todai-ji (Nara)

Inside the Temple of the Great Buddha, the Vairocana Buddha of the Flower Garland Sutra was bathed in the dazzling golden light.

The light of grace emanating from him made me feel his supreme wisdom and mercy dispensed to save all living things in this boundless universe.

"Vairocana" means the "shining one" in Sanskrit and implies the sun which infinitely illuminates the whole of the universe with the light of wisdom and mercy.

At the time of this temple's founding, the Great Buddha was gilded magnificently and sparkling with gold like the bright morning sun.

Daibutsu-den (the Temple of the Great Buddha) at the Lantern Festival: Todai-ji (Nara)

People were inspiredly gathering around the knee of the Great Buddha, who was shining radiantly to guide all living things to the path of enlightenment.

In the temple of the Great Buddha, monks were beautifully chanting the Flower Garland Sutra to fulfill the cherished wishes of living persons and to pray for the souls of the departed.

Rushana-butsu (the Great Buddha of Nara): Todai-ji (Nara)

Daibutsu-den illuminated: Todai-ji (Nara)

Chugen-mantoro (the Lantern Festival): Kasuga-taisha Shinto shrine (Nara)

The candle lights of numerous hanging lanterns were quietly wavering in the vermilion-lacquered corridor of the Kasuga-taisha Shinto shrine to solemnly celebrate the Bon Festival.

These gilded bronze lanterns were donated by the people worshipping the Kami (deity) of Kasuga to pray for the prosperity and fortune of them and their ancestors.

Daibutsu-den viewed from the outer passageway of Nigatsu-do: Todai-ji (Nara)


Deers by the stream: Todai-ji (Nara)

Kongo-rikishi (Agyo); Todai-ji (Nara)

August 2, 2015

Sacred lotus flower: Kaizo-ji

The burning sun and the sweltering air of midsummer make the magnificent flowers of sacred lotus bloom high above the dazzling water surface.

In the brilliant sunlight, the soft and fine petals of this flower seem to be subtly woven silks and satins, which are gracefully waving in the gentle summer breeze.

The stamens and pistil in the heart of the flower are shining brightly like the gold tiara which proves the nobleness and dignity of this flower of Buddha.

Oni-yanma dragonfly (Anotogaster sieboldii): Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

By the edge of the pond covered with the blue-green leaves of lotus, a beautiful dragonfly is settling still on the tip of a pole to keep watch on his territory.

The dazzling sunlight from the azure summer sky is mirrored in the jade green eyes of this dragonfly.

Although the glaring sun of high summer appears to never be fading, this brightest season will pass away in a rush before our eyes.

Sacred lotus flower: Kencho-ji

Water lily flower: Engaku-ji

Fern: Kita-kamakura

Sacred lotus flower: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Ajisai (Hydrangea) flowers: Kencho-ji

Sacred lotus flower: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Bamboo grove: Jochi-ji

Sacred lotus flower: Tokei-ji