July 11, 2019
The colorful flower of Ajisai is one of the most precious gifts from this summer rainy season in Kita-kamakura.
The hazy sunlight falls down from the cloudy sky and softly enhances the subtle mixtures and gradations of various colors which Ajisai flowers present.
The humid warm air after a short rainfall lightly moistens the petals and leaves to try to keep them fresh and glossy against the swift passage of time.
In the long spell of rainy weather, the flowers of Ajisai bloom vigorously one after another and continue changing their colors with the aid of the enigmatic chemistry between rain and soil.
As rainwater flows into their ornamental petals, the variations and shades of colors spread gradually on the surface of the petals like the pale watercolors for a painting of rain.
After the long rain, the patches of blue sky have just appeared through breaks in the thick clouds unexpectedly.
The vivid blue flowers of Ajisai are shining brightly in the momentary summer sun to let me remind that dazzling high summer will soon arrive and dominate here in company with the unclouded deep azure sky.
June 20, 2019
The summer rainy season has just arrived here to bring abundant merciful rainwater for further fertilizing all living things which continue growing vigorously now. Plants are flourishing steadily and increasing their bright greenness as if to show an ambition to fully cover this world with their shades of green.
On the moist rock face, where moss and fern grow densely, countless lively leaves of Iwatabako spread thickly. Its star-shaped violet flowers protrude quietly one after another from beneath these shiny leaves to greet the rainy season of growth graciously.
Rain clouds are starting to gather thick above this garden.
At the water's edge of the quiet pond, the white silky flowers of calla and iris are blooming secretly without being noticed.
The gentle sunlight is descending from the cloudy sky and is caressing these dainty flowers tenderly before it starts raining.
The flowering period of each Iwatabako flower is only three or four days.
This little pentagram flower falls without scattering and lies on the wet ground in its flowering figure like a violet shooting star which has just fallen to the earth.
In the woods where summer birds are singing merrily, the flowers of Iwatabako are timidly gazing at me from the high rock face and I feel as if that I heard their secret whispering about the beauty and mystery of our universe.
The interlacing stems and branches of Iwagarami are clinging on the rough rock face behind the Buddha hall of this temple. Its numberless small flowers are blooming modestly in the green‐hued shade to fulfill their own duties for life and growth devotedly.
The pure-white ornamental flower, which resembles a single teardrop petal, is decorating the cluster of cream-colored flowers and is reflecting the pale sunlight from the overcast sky like a clear mirror to notify insects of the inconspicuous flowers.
May 28, 2019
Bathed in the bright liquid sun, the pure white flowers and blue-green leaves of Suiren (waterlily) are quietly floating on the surface of the tranquil pond as if to be filled with joy in the inconspicuous beginning of summer.
The ever-changing reflection of the deep blue sky, the violet flowers, and the fresh green leaves is softly glinting on the rippled water.
The subtle and endless transition of sunlight, colors, and shades composes a piece of silent water music for this waterlily pond, which continues flowing harmoniously at an eternal moment here.
(As an homage to Claude Monet)
Summer has begun advancing steadily, bringing the dazzling sunlight from the blue sky and the bracing wind through fresh green treetops. All living things are vigorously growing to fleetly release all their life-force stored before now.
In this peaceful rose garden, numberless flowers of various colors are blooming with all their might and are jubilantly competing with each other for splendor and aroma.
Like these colorful roses which are in all their glory before my eyes, every flower of each season blooms finely to show the hidden signs and wonders of our evermoving universe.
(Additional photographs of the rose garden are uploaded to my another photoblog, "Like floating clouds and flowing streams.")
These Chinese peony flowers in full bloom made me recall the picture entitled "Peony Garden" painted by Monet (owned by National Museum of Western Art, Tokyo).
In the secret grassy garden, where birds are warbling delightedly in the grove, I saw a small butterfly with three-striped black wings gently fluttering around the tiny white flowers to seek the floral nectar they give.
The elongated flower cluster formed from the separate white flowers open in succession appears like a snow-white cloud floating in the sky, which is the origin of the Japanese given-name "Haku-un-boku" (white cloud tree) of this kind of tree.
April 23, 2019
Over the stone steps leading to the old "Sangedatsumon" gate of this temple, the white cherry blossoms are now fully blooming with all one's might and are shining brightly in the liquid spring sun to celebrate the true height of spring.
By the side of these blossoms, the fresh young leaves of maple have just erupted in a breath to accompany this grand celebration of spring.
The "Sangedatsumon" means "three gates for entering into nirvana" to pass through before reaching the true enlightenment. This gate is symbolically composed of three gates, that is, ku-mon (the gate for awaking us to the emptiness of our realities), muso-mon (the gate for awaking us to the formlessness of our universe) and mugan-mon (the gate for awaking us to the delusion of our desires and passions).
I recently visited Mt. Yoshino (Nara Prefecture of Japan), which is the most renowned place for magnificent cherry blossoms in Japan.
Mt. Yoshino is also one of the most important places of mountain worship in Japan, where the ascetic practices of Shugendo (Japanese mountain asceticism-shamanism comprised of Shintoism and esoteric Buddhism) have been continually inherited from the remote past.
Kinpusen-ji temple, which is located in the center of this sacred mountain area, is said to have been founded by En no Gyoja, who was a legendary holy man known for his practice of mountain asceticism during the second half of the 7th century.
For over a thousand years, numberless "Yama-zakura" cherry trees have continued to be planted in this area as the sacred trees dedicated to Zao Gongen which is the principal image of Kinpusen-ji temple and the highest object of worship in Shugendo.
(Additional new photographs of the cherry blossoms of Mt. Yoshino and Kyoto are uploaded to my another photoblog, "Like floating clouds and flowing streams.")
With the deepening of spring, the splendor of life is gradually overflowing in the gardens.
It is one of my greatest pleasures in spring to see countless cherry blossoms fully blooming again. Cherry blossoms gloriously bloom in unison as if to muster up all their vigor and soon scatter all at once like a brief daydream in the sudden sweep of warm wind.
According to the teachings of Buddha, what has a form is just a fleeting illusion which must pass into nothingness, no matter how beautiful it is. Each mid-spring, I am awoken to this eternal truth under the splendid cherry blossoms.
March 29, 2019
As spring blooms into full glory, the bright sunlight reaching the ground increases more and more. In concert with this deepening of springtime, every living thing, which starved for the glaring sunlight in its winter sleep, rapidly regains its true life force for regrowth.
As if to suddenly release the rich vigor saved in quiet winter, various kinds of young leaves and colorful flowers instantly appear in the lively gardens which are full of the gentle warm sunlight.
A cascade of silky Haku-mokuren flowers are blooming radiantly in the deep blue sky like the white lotus flowers ascending high into the air, which gives me heartfelt joy of spring this year also.
A tiny stone image of Jizo Bosatsu (Jizo Bodhisattva), that looks like an innocent infant smiling benevolently, is enshrined quietly in the shallow hollow on the thickly moss-covered rock-face.
The young leaves of Iwa-tabako (Conandron ramondioides) have just come out from the narrow cracks in the stone-wall and are surrounding this small avatar of Buddha as if to offer up spring prayers.
Jizo Bosatsu reveals the Buddha's salvation for the lost souls cast into Hell and is also widely accepted as a guardian deity of children in folk beliefs in Japan.
In accord with the earth's revolution and rotation, living organisms keep cycling the sequence of their lives.
The flowers of each season bloom beautifully and fade away quietly by their own private nature.
The cherry blossoms are silently blooming above me without unveiling their secret stories and histories. Although I rejoin them every spring, I know nothing about them but their curious given-name and touching beauty.