Friday, July 01, 2011

KKC Japan Fellowship - Day 1 - Ryoanji Temple

Our first visit today was to the Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto. This Buddhist temple is famous for it’s rectangular Zen rock garden. As we entered the grounds of the temple we walked through gorgeous landscaping and Kyoyochi Pond with lilies. This pond dates back to the 12th century. The surrounding grounds had trees and flowers. It was incredible and at this time of the summer everything looked great.

The rock garden has a gravel base and 15 stones. At first the garden honestly did not impress me. It looked very simple. Our guide then explained that the garden contained exactly 15 stones because the moon becomes new again in 15 days. The aspect of the garden I liked the most was that the stones in the garden are arranged in such a way that it is impossible to stand and view al 15 at one time – symbolizing that it is impossible for anyone to be perfect.

The temple itself was also very impressive. We took off our shoes off upon entering the temple and one of the teachers in our group had a great comment as we left. He said that without wearing shoes it was possible to interact more with the temple itself – feeling it with your feet. I thought that was a great observation.

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