Thursday, July 2, 2015

Rōyoan-ji


On the morning of July 2, I awoke early to  make my way to Ryōan-ji temple.  This is one of the most famous rock gardens in all of Japan. Originally the villa of a Heian period aristocrat, the site was converted into a Zen Buddhist temple in 1450. 

The garden design consists of a rectangular plot of pebbles surrounded by low earthen walls. There are 15 rocks laid out in small groups surrounded by patches of moss. From any vantage point, at least one of the rocks is hidden from view.

The meaning of the garden has never been made clear, as a result, individuals determine the meaning for themselves.

The temple grounds also include a spacious park with a pond and a small shrine on one three small islands that can be accessed by a bridge.








Enlightenment

Visiting Ryōan-ji had been a dream of mine for many years. By visiting very early in the morning, I was fortunate enough to have the garden all to myself for over an hour. As a result, I had plenty of opportunity to relax, meditate, and take in the view of the garden without distraction. It was one of the most Zen-like experiences of my life and helped me to break from the past and realize my path for the future.