April 24, 2021

Someiyoshino-zakura (Prunus yedoensis) flowers: Engaku-ji

Someiyoshino-zakura (Prunus yedoensis) flowers: Engaku-ji

The countless white flowers of Sakura are shining in the benign spring sunlight and beautifully adorning the stone steps leading up to the Sangedatsumon (Three Gates of Liberation) as if to invite us to the heart of this old Zen temple.

Sangedatsumon symbolically consists of three "Mon" (gates) of "Gedatsu" (deliverance from worldly attachment), which must be passed through before reaching the Buddhist enlightenment. 

This gate symbolizes the the three principles to attain liberation from the spiritual ignorance and darkness. 

"Ku-mon" (the gate of emptiness) implies the awakening to "Ku" (all things are empty and illusory), "Muso-mon" (the gate of indiscrimination) implies the awakening to "Muso" (all things have no discriminating form), and "Mugan-mon" implies the awakening to "Mugan" (any earthy desire must be abandoned). 

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