Morning Blessings Received Years Ago, Not Forgotten

(This is a recently found account of a tour to a morning service at a Zen temple in Kyoto.) It was still a dark and cold early spring morning when we arrived a bit nervously at the impressive Zen temple in Kyoto. A young monk greeted us pleasantly. His obvious assignment was to instruct us…

In Praise of Friendship

As many years as I’ve been coming to Japan, there are experiences to be had here that can only happen with the help of caring friends who have contacts and relationships that open doors that are not  available to the casual visitor. When our friend Masa invited us to spend the day with him at…

Jolly Time for Matcha

Taking a Stroll Yesterday late afternoon, the sun was still warm as I strolled/sauntered several blocks south of our apartment, to Bukko-ji, a progressive neighborhood temple, well off the tourist grid. I decided to say “saunter” because it indicates a growing self confidence and jolly spirit I have while navigating the streets of Kyoto. Design,…

Hail the Chrysanthemum

Had I visited Daikokuji before? Though I’ve visited dozens of the thousands of temples that remain in Kyoto, I’m often guilty of forgetting their names.  Once I’ve visited, I remember it on sight, but often before I go, I’m not at all certain. I’d read a listing in the helpful Kyoto Visitor’s Guide that captured my…

Witness and Pause

“Through our eyes, the universe is perceiving itself. Through our ears, the universe is listening to its harmonies. We are the witnesses through which the universe becomes conscious of its glory, of its magnificence.” ― Alan W. Watts It takes several minutes of walking to approach the humble thatched gate at the Honen-in Temple.  When…