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01 December, 2008

Glimpse of Middle Age Zen Spirit in Kyoto

Kyoto city has many similarities with Kathmandu; surrounded by the mountains, has three famous rivers (Kamo, Katsura, Uji), many temples (around 2000)and castles including the thirteen of them registered in the World Heritage Sites. The glimpse of the zen temples in every nook and corner of the city tells the story, the story how the city enjoyed the apex of zen spirit at those times. The famous zen schools, which manily are the braches from the Rinzai tradition, had many learnt masters who used to have their student practise the intensive zen meditation(zazen and sesshin) in very strict environment leading to quiet mind, no-mind to satori (enlightment) stage. More interestingly, there were schools even for post-satori stage which used to focus on how to preserve the satori wisdom in day to day activities. Please go through the glimse of the past through these pictures.

1) Kodo sawaki, a famous Zen master showing the posture of zazen (courtesy:

2) Ginkaku-ji (golden temple), a converted zen school from retirement villa, containing relics of the buddha. The Kinkaku-ji area has many small kutis around lakes, which no doubt are the wonderful place for meditation even today.

3) Tenryu-ji temple, the main temple of Rinzai sect in Arashiyama, Kyoto.

4) Famous Zen garden, The main elements of karesansui (zen garden) are rocks and sand, with the sea symbolized by sand raked in patterns that suggest rippling water. They are often designed to view it in single seated position and believed to provide calmness to human mind.

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