2016年12月6日 星期二

Sanzen-in & Jakko-in Temples, Ohara, Kyoto (京都大原三千院與寂光院)-2

Water is a most versatile element. It has practically no form of its own. It merely takes on whatever form its container assumes. Water is also singularly fair. It radiates its ripples in larger and larger concentric circles whenever a force is applied to any part of its surface and each point on the  perimeter of each circle is exactly equidistant from the point of initial impact. It has no color of its own. It merely takes on the color of whatever is below it or whatever color is reflected upon its surface. That's why it's always fascinating to watch how it changes it shape and its colors. When you throw a stone into it, it will resume its original calm unruffled surface the moment the force of the ripples dies out.

Its arcs are marked here and there by the subtle colors of fallen leaves.

For some reason, all the leaves drift towards a circular disc at the centre, around which some leaves are straggling out.

If we can believe scientists who tell us that mosses never grow in polluted air, the air here must be very pure.

They grow on the roots, on the ground and forms an irregularly shaped green carpe thugging closely to the contours of what's underneath.

They can grow on the surface of a huge twisted branch

But some leaves are more obedient to the rhythms of the seasons.

The Japanese probably enjoy making all kinds of little mementos

even needle holders in porcelain

They have a wonderful almost natural instinct in carefully preserving whatever has been passed down to them from their ancestors.

including all kinds of strings in all kinds of colors and strengths made strictly in accordance with ancient traditions

In a way, Nature does that too: leaves will always remain leaves and they change their colors according to its subtle and silent laws.

I like to look at Japanese architecture because they use so much wood: in the form of planks, poles, pillars etc which they carefully and skilfully cut, carve, bend, polish and join together 

Unlike steel and other metal, wood always gives one the feeling of warmth and a certain "human-ness"

A soup restaurant?

All kinds of pickles for sampling and dumplings too

She has got a few competitors not to be slighted

because they got more stuffs to sell

Japanese shopkeepers are honest: they seldom cheat their customers probably because they care for their good name more than those in China. Perhaps that's because they live in tiny communities where each one knows their neighbors.

There's even a ladies fashion shop in the village

 a milliner

and even a traditional paper umbrella workshop

Could this restaurant be one of its customers?

I found many of such dolls in the shops of the area but couldn't decide whether they are bears or monkeys. But whatever they are, I believe it's probably got something to do with bringing in "good luck".

It feels so good to walk alongside this stream, flowing so quietly upon its pebbled conduit, with its  fallen leaves brushed to the side by the gentle downward flow of its waters.

Its banks are green and moist with vegetation: everything seems beaming with life

The fields look so green and so full of hope, even in autumn.

There are even flowers under the shade

But some trees have already shed all their leaves in anticipation of the freezing winter temperatures not too far away now because Tokyo just had its first taste of snow

But this maple tree still retains most of its leaves

It's good that not all maples trees shed their leaves at the same time.

This helps to create a marvellously rich palette of colors

No matter what deciduous trees may do, there are always evergreens standing tall against the sun

and creepers too which seem able always to extend their tendrils wherever they can find support

They can climb quite high straight up the steep surface of this pine tree.

Fallen leaves everywhere

ripe oranges dangling from the branches

It's wonderful to be able to see such subtle changes of colors amidst the clusters of adjacent trees

This is probably a local florist

To go up or downhill, we had to pass this bridge

The fallen leaves form unintended decorations to many eaves

The trees extend their branches over the path wherever there's space for some sunlight forits   leaves because they need the sun to help it produce the required energy for its growth

Unlike it counterparts elsewhere, the leaves of the Japanese maples are so very tiny and delicate

and display a remarkably soft and lovely golden color

and when they fall, they can create myriads of patterns on bottom of its forking branches or on those of other trees

It's curious how different it feels when one is going down rather than up

Some restaurants hit upon the idea of building purely decorative water mills to catch the attention of hungry or perhaps even merely  gluttonous  passers-by

What a variety of color in a single tree!

Got to consult the local map

for going to the second destination of the day trip

Another bigger river across the street from the hills accommodating Sansen-in Temple

It's much more level on this side of the road

a small fish barbecue master chef concentrating on his work at the side of the local path

a lovely ginko tree.blazing in yellow

a smaller mountain stream on my way to the Jakko-in Temple

wild flowers at the side of the road

moving slightly uphill now

The area is full of many tidy and beautifully designed houses

another stream

another restaurant

A Government notice on the importance of conservation

At last, I found the restaurant famed for its "wild vegetable hot pot. "

An introduction of its star attraction

The menu

Just two customers that day!

The restaurant  in fact forms just  part of a hostel and a pickle shop

The stove for its famous hotpot

Voilà, the hotpot on the stove

and my small bowl of yummy udon

The happy proprietress

The grit garden outside

leaves on a car

the path to another house

a local village hostel

another restaurant on the way to the temple

a potter's workshop

All kinds of crockery

some tiny bowls

lucky charms in the form of frogs

Another restaurant

a liquid food specialist

It seems that it's a specially protected area

The temple is mentioned in a folk song of the famous Japanese novel; The Tales of Genji

The ticket office at the entrance to the temple

It's got another of those well manicured Japanese garden

its main entrance

a huge bonsai tree in the garden called Princess Komatsu (姬小松) mentioned in the chapter called 大原御幸 of the Tales of Genji (源氏物語) (circa 1001-1008) where it was described as already a thousand year old then.

Another view of the Princess Komatsu (姬小松) which was severely damaged in the fire of 2000 (see below) and eventually died in 2004. Part of this old tree was cut and then set up here in 2005, to be used as a sacred tree (神樹) during important religious rites and ceremonies. 

The main building in the temple, which used to be a nunnery of Tendai (Tientai)  sect (天台宗), , was first built  by Shotoku-Taishi(Crown Prince) Shotoku)(聖德太子)  in 594 specially for praying for the soul of his late father, Emperor Yomei.(用名天皇). He made his wet nurse its first abbess. . The temple is dedicated to Rokumantai-Jizoson.( 六萬體地蔵尊). The place was made famous as the retreat of Kenreimon-in Tokuko (1155-1213), a daughter of Taira no Kiyomori (平 清盛) the chief of Heike clan (平家)( 1118-1181) and the consort of Emperor Takakura (高倉天皇) (1161-1181). She tried to commit suicide when the Heike clan was wiped out by Minamoto no Yoshitsune (源義經) a younger brother of the chief of Genji clan (源氏)(1159-1189) at the naval battle of Dan-no-ura(壇之浦之戰) in 1185. But she was saved before she finished the job But, having lost her whole family including her eight-year-old son, Emperor Antoku (安德天皇), she , she entered the nunnery as a recluse and spent the rest of her life there mourning and praying for the souls of her lost family, she herself dying there 6 years later, in 1191 at age 36. The main hall of the temple was burnt down in an arson on May 9, 2000 and was rebuilt in June 2005. The principal Buddhist statue there now is also a replacement, modeled upon original.

The ancient bell at the Belfry. Every morning, the bell would sound to remind the monks and nuns to say their early morning prayer and would also be struck when it's meal time. According to Buddhist tradition, the monks and nuns would only have one main meal per day and no meals would be served after midday except during a health crisis.

a closer look at the bronze bell

According to this wooden plate, it was made in 1752, more then 200 years ago. Its reads: "the bell of the everlasting non-permanence of all that happens"(諸行無常), one of the 3 proofs of the truth/veracity/genuineness of the sutra (三法印) viz.諸行無常 (non-permanence),諸法無我 (anatta) ,涅槃寂靜(nirvana), which are considered the 3 basic truths of authentic Buddhism.

part of the pool

various steles in the garden

Two explanatory notes on the origin of the 1000 year-old "Princess Komatsu" (name of the little pine  tree)

A blocked path leading further up the hills

The trees there are really tall

Some of its trees

a pillar saying that this is a valued historical site

another tree stump overgrown with moss, something which appears quite common in these parts

leaves on the ground

The temple rebuilt in 2005

A notice explaining the history of the rebuilding

Another one of those stone piles

a little monk on the ground

Clever use of bamboo poles

The directions towards the tomb of the wet nurse of the Crown prince
聖德太子., the first abbess of the temple

a rake under a hut

firm roots dug deep into the ground

Rokumantai-Jizoson.( 六萬體地蔵尊) in gold

a metal lamp donated by Toyotomi Hideyoshi  (豐臣秀吉) (1536-1598) for use during his family religious ceremonies

 a huge mutli-color carp in the pond

coming up for a bit of air

Another corner of the garden with an old  5-tiered pagoda on one side and a Guanyin on the other

a shed for prayers and good wishes

various religious texts and histories related the temple

thatched entrance/exit leading to the tomb of the first abbess

another look at the entrance

The way down 

Trees on the side of the path

another ginko tre with its leaves nearly all gone

more fallen leaves

sample menu of another restaurant I passed by

a different menu

a third menu

the fourth

potted plants for sale

one of the offers

Wild plants from the area

The condition of the maple leaves at different months of the year

The condition of some maple leaves now

more maple leaves about to fall off

leaves of different colors on the same tree

Some flowers on the way down

 a small waterfall close to the temple

Some flowers I never saw before outside one of the residences I passed by

more flowers in full bloom

Some smaller ones

The condition of maple leaves at various locations around Kyoto