May 13, 2018

Aosuji-ageha (blue-triangle) butterfly: Kencho-ji

Aosuji-ageha (blue-triangle)butterfly: Kencho-ji


Like a graceful daydream flitting in the bright sunlight, the blue-striped summer butterfly suddenly appeared from nowhere in the air and alighted on the small white flower before my eyes.

In an instant, it sucked nectar from the flower while beating its wings and then quickly fleeted from one flower to the next for eagerly seeking nectar. Immediately after doing so, it swiftly flied high up and vanished into thin air.

Summer butterflies are beginning to fly around here to let me realize that the season of the dazzling sun has just arrived.



Baika-utsugi (Philadelphus satsumi) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Baika-utsugi (Philadelphus satsumi) flowers: Kaizo-ji


Every flower devotedly blooms like a beautiful and transient dream.


A moment of stillness: Engaku-ji

A moment of stillness: Engaku-ji


At the very instant when the monk quietly got up on his feet, the rapid stream of time was frozen by the subtle chemistry of stillness and the absolute present moment revealed itself. 


Fresh green leaves: Shari-den, Engaku-ji

Fresh green leaves: Shari-den, Engaku-ji


The early summer breeze was gently blowing down from the slope thickly covered with the dazzling fresh green and was conveying to me the quiet aura of enlightenment which was completely pervading this small valley.


Kakitsubata (Iris laevigata) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Kakitsubata (Iris laevigata) flowers: Kaizo-ji

New leaves above the pond: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

New leaves above the pond: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu

Shaga (Iris japonica) flowers: Engaku-ji

Shaga (Iris japonica) flowers: Engaku-ji


Hime-utsugi (Deutzia gracilis) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Hime-utsugi (Deutzia gracilis) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Tsutsuji (Rhododendron) flowes: Kaizo-ji

Tsutsuji (Rhododendron) flowes: Kaizo-ji

Sekkoku (Dendrobium moniliforme) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Sekkoku (Dendrobium moniliforme) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Spring garden: Jochi-ji

Spring garden: Jochi-ji

Shiran (Bletilla striata Bletilla) flowers: Engaku-ji

Shiran (Bletilla striata Bletilla) flowers: Engaku-ji

April 28, 2018

Fresh green leaves of spring: Engaku-ji



Various new leaves have just emerged all at once and many kinds of fresh green are quickly flooding this peaceful garden.

These green colors, which are shining brightly in the abundant warm sunlight of mid-spring, represent the vivid vital sparks of plants. The brisk breeze passing through the new leaves lets me reaffirm that the cycle of life and growth is repeated as ever.

I deeply sensed the silent joy of all living things within the pleasant air drifting gently in this fresh green place.



Hana-matsuri (the anniversary of the birth of Buddha): Kaizo-ji

Hana-matsuri (the anniversary of the birth of Buddha): Kaizo-ji


On April 8, in almost all Japanese Buddhist temples, the "Hana-matsuri" (flower festival), which is also called "Kan-butsu-e" (the festival of bathing the new-born Buddha), is held for celebrating the birthday of Buddha.

A tiny "Hana-mido" (flower shrine) is decorated with various beautiful spring flowers. A small basin called "Kan-butsu-oke" (the tub for bathing Buddha) is filled with "Ama-cha" (sweet hydrangea tea). In this basin, an image of the newborn Buddha is placed and the worshipers pour Ama-cha tea onto this image for celebrating his birthday.

This practice of pouring Ama-cha is based on the legend that the nine dragons of heaven poured pure rainwater onto the newborn Buddha to give him a his first bath.

This newborn Buddha is standing in the symbolic pose for declaring that he is his own Lord throughout heaven and earth (Tenjyo-tenge-yuigadokuson) by pointing his fingers at heaven and earth.


Botan (Paeonia suffruticosa) flowers: Kencho-ji

Botan (Paeonia suffruticosa) flowers: Kencho-ji


Like beautiful and devotional offerings, the spring-peony flowers are blooming in full glory beside the quiet stone path leading to the "Sho-do" shrine (the shrine in which the image of the founder is placed).

This inmost shrine of Kencho-ji temple is sacred to the memory of Lanxi Daolong, who crossed over to Japan and founded this temple as a Rinzai-Zen training monastery by request of the regent of the Kamakura shogunate in the 13th century.

A peony flower is called the queen of flowers and was introduced into Japan from China.


Fuji (Wisteria floribunda) flowers: Engaku-ji

Fuji (Wisteria floribunda) flowers: Engaku-ji

Ruri-tateha (Kaniska canace) butterfly: Engaku-ji

Ruri-tateha (Kaniska canace) butterfly: Engaku-ji


A newly hatched butterfly was resting its blue-striped wings on the stone by the pond.


Botan (Paeonia suffruticosa) flowers: Engaku-ji

Botan (Paeonia suffruticosa) flowers: Engaku-ji

Fresh green leaves: Jyuhuku-ji

Fresh green leaves: Jyuhuku-ji

Shaga (Iris japonica) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Shaga (Iris japonica) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Tanpopo (Taraxacum) flowers: Kaizo-ji


Tsutsuji (Rhododendron) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Tsutsuji (Rhododendron) flowers: Kaizo-ji

Hananira (Ipheion uniflorum) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Hananira (Ipheion uniflorum) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Spring garden: Ofuna botanical garden (Kamakura)

Spring garden: Ofuna botanical garden (Kamakura)

Shakunage (rhododendron) flowers: Ofuna botanical garden (Kamakura)

Shakunage (rhododendron) flowers: Ofuna  botanical garden (Kamakura)

April 3, 2018

Yama-zakura (Prunus jamasakura) blossoms: Genji-yama (Kita-kamakura)

Yama-zakura (Prunus jamasakura) blossoms: Genji-yama


In the true height of spring, with the help of a rapid rise of temperature, every living thing awakens suddenly from its long quiet sleep and this season of tireless resurgence starts with very hurried steps.

Diverse spring flowers burst into bloom in the twinkling of an eye and a variety of new leaves quickly appear in one breath. In concert with this lively transformation, birds begin twittering their love songs to chant the joy of spring.

The enchantment of this jubilant season silently arouses the lusty vital force of all living things that are interconnected with each other.


Cherry blossoms: Engaku-ji

Cherry blossoms: Engaku-ji


When I look at a flower, I often feel like seeing a beautiful but fragile illusion which has no physical reality. Because a flower must vanish away soon after it blooms, most likely I can never find the current flower right in front of me once again.

A flower transiently blooms just once in this world and I encounter such a flower only once in my lifetime.

Cherry blossoms: Engaku-ji

Cherry blossoms: Engaku-ji

Shidare-zakura (Prunus pendula Maxim.) blossoms: Tokei-ji

Shidare-zakura (Prunus pendula Maxim.) blossoms

Sidare-zakura (Prunus pendula Maxim.) blossoms: Tokei-ji

Sidare-zakura (Prunus pendula Maxim.) blossoms: Tokei-ji

Garden of spring: Tokei-ji

Garden of spring: Tokei-ji

Cherry blossoms: Kencho-ji

cherry blossoms, Kencho-ji

Cherry blossoms: Kencho-ji

cherry blossoms, Kencho-ji

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

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

Yama-zakura (Prunus jamasakura) blossoms: Kita-kamakura

Yama-zakura (Prunus jamasakura) blossoms: Kita-kamakura

Cherry blossoms: Engaku-ji

Cherry blossoms: Engaku-ji

Cherry blossoms: Engaku-ji


March 24, 2018

Haku-mokuren (Magnolia denudata) flowers: Engaku-ji



In the passing of seasons, a flower selflessly blooms and fades away as it is.

While I am aware that any flower must decline and fall immediately, its vanishing before my eyes always causes my inexpressible and subtle sorrowfulness.

In the gentle warm sunshine of mid-spring, the white lotus-shaped flowers of Haku-mokuren (white-lotus-flower tree) are lively blooming with one accord high up in the air.

Just after this spectacular blooming period, all of these white flowers will decay and scatter very rapidly without any hesitation and trace.


Haku-mokuren (Magnolia denudata) flowers: Engaku-ji


Ume (Prunus mume) blossoms: Kaizo-ji

Ume (Prunus mume) blossoms: Kaizo-ji

Mitsumata (Edgeworthia chrysantha) flowers: Engaku-ji


Tsubaki (Camellia japonica) flower: Kaizo-ji

Tsubaki (Camellia japonica) flower: Kaizo-ji

Ume (Prunus mume) blossoms: Kaizo-ji

Ume (Prunus mume) blossoms: Kaizo-ji

Haku-mokuren (Magnolia denudata) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Haku-mokuren (Magnolia denudata) flowers: Kita-kamakura

Mitsumata (Edgeworthia chrysantha) flowers: Jochi-ji

Mitsumata (Edgeworthia chrysantha) flowers: Jochi-ji

Bamboo grove: Jochi-ji


Bamboo grove: Jochi-ji

February 25, 2018

White ume blossoms: Engaku-ji

white ume blossoms:Engaku-ji


Against the bright blue sky of early spring, the countless white blossoms of ume are in full bloom to nobly declare the arrival of this long-awaited season.

The rugged branches of the aged ume tree are persistently struggling to seek the sun and are drawing the flowing curves like the calligraphy of a Zen priest in the air.

The refreshing fragrance of blossoms is faintly floating here, which makes me confirm the awakening of beautiful spring.


Tamanawa-zakura blossoms: Tsurugaoka-hachimangu



In every season, flowers bloom to secretly imply to us the true essence of the nature.

The exquisiteness and transience of every flower wake our deepest respect and heartfelt affection for the universe in which we are living.


Red ume blossoms: Kaizo-ji

Red ume blossoms: Kaizo-ji

White ume blossoms: Engaku-ji