A Zen experience

At the entrance to Kyoto’s Kodai-ji Temple, was a familiar sight at Zen temples, mani wheels. A girl with itchy fingers fidgeted while I took a photo then spun the wheels.

Mani wheels, Kodai-ji Zen Temple
Mani wheels, Kodai-ji Zen temple

This  beautiful site sat against the Higashiyama Mountains. In 1095, in memory of her late husband, a noblewoman established the temple. Less than twenty years later, Sanko Joeki was appointed its founding priest.

Less that 200 years later, some of the buildings were ravaged by fires, but those I explored had been spared. They included beautiful rooms with screens and tatami floors, some arranged by Kangetsu-dai so the moon could be seen from the window reflected into the pond.

Kodai-ji Zen Temple
Tatami flooring and painted screens inside Kodai-ji Zen Temple

A second garden, the temple garden, was positioned not far from the teahouses. This garden was redesigned in the 1600s by a renowned Japanese landscape architect and added a depth of tranquility to a picturesque location.

Kodai-ji Zen Temple grounds
Part of Kodai-ji temple grounds

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