Renge-ji temple is a small out- of -the- way Buddhist temple in Kyoto that has resonated in my memory for several years.
In typical Japanese fashion, the garden doesn’t appear to the viewer immediately. The simple unassuming entrance reveals nothing until you turn and enter into the quintessential “room with a view.” Here is a garden that asks nothing more of the viewer than to sit down and open your pores to the scene before you.
For me, viewing this garden is similar to the feeling I’d get as a child when looking into a snow scene in a glass ball , or peeping inside the magic world hidden inside a fanciful sugar Easter egg.
It was raining on my first visit here. The sight and sounds of the rain falling on the pond were mesmerizing. I could feel the earth breathing with me.
On my second visit, it was autumn, under a crystal blue sky. The Japanese maples set the vista aflame with color, reflected brilliantly in the pond water.
On my most recent visit, nature was not showing off, at least not at first glimpse. Now, the young maple leaves spread a chartreuse green swath across the garden.
Although beautiful, the garden didn’t have the same punch for me as it had on earlier visits. I felt mildly disappointed. Then, I was disappointed that I was disappointed. I sat with that disappointment and allowed myself to take in the garden as it was NOW. I watched my disappointment gradually dissipate.
When I lit a stick of incense within the temple, a profound sense of calm had replaced my earlier unease.