May 7, 2021

Botan (Paeonia suffruticosa) flowers: Kencho-ji

Botan (Paeonia suffruticosa) flowers: Kencho-ji

By the quiet slope way to the Zendo hall (meditation hall), the brilliant flowers of Botan (tree peony) are in full bloom as if to reveal their dignity and splendor.

It is said that tree peonies were imported to Japan as a medicinal plant in the Nara period (710-794) at the time of the introduction of Buddhism from the Tang dynasty of China.

In this temple garden, Botan trees are carefully looked after by the "Samu" (silent routine-working in a Zen temple) of "Un-sui" (trainee monks) to offer the precious beauty of the flowers to worship-visitors as an act of charity. 

In the Rinzai Zen school, Samu working is assigned as a way of mental concentration and fundamental spiritual training for the liberation from earthly delusions, desires and anger.

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