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Published on 04.27.2016
Going up Takagamine Avenue, you can find Genko-an temple in the Kita-ku, Kyoto. It has a Tang style temple gate, a main hall of gambrel-building, and a beautiful garden. Genko-an temple was built in 1936 as a Rinzai sect Buddhist temple, and was converted to a Soto sect temple in 1964.
The ceiling of the main hall is the remains of Fushimi castle, which serves as a reminder of the tragedy of the collapse of Fushimi castle, a tragedy which occurred in the year 1600. There was a battle between Ieyasu Tokugawa and Mitsunari Ishida, and many people died during the battle. Since the wooden floor of fallen Fushimi castle is used as the ceiling of the main hall, it is covered in bloodstained footprints that lead to the ceiling to being nicknamed “Chi-tenjo”(bloody ceiling).
There is a rectangular “Ambivalence Window” and a circular “Enlightenment Window”, where one may appreciate the beautiful green, orange, and red coloured leaves of trees in the garden from.
The rectangular shape of the “Ambivalence Window” shows inescapable process of a human life from the birth to the death?a lifetime of a human being. Four quadrangular tops indicates four pains of Buddha; birth, old age, disease, and death. Addition to that, it also shows additional for agonies; Aibetsuri-ku which means the pains to part from beloved ones, Onzoe-ku which means the pains to meet a grudge people to hate, Gufudoku-ku which means the pains to occur by not being able to get things desired to have, and Go-onjo-ku which means the mental and physical suffering that five components of our existence cause.
The circular shape of the “Enlightenment Window” shows the heart of Zen and encyclopaedic knowledge. By just standing in front of this window, one can truly open the ground of the realization by looking gazing into their inner-self. The circular shape also indicates the universe.
“I recommend sitting in front of the ‘Ambivalence Window’ first, then talking to yourself to look inside your heart. Next you should move to ‘Enlightenment Window,’ where you’re sure to find your-self.” Says the chief priest of Genko-an temple.
Leaving out the main hall of solemn atmosphere, you can see mossy rocks, Japanese pampas grass blown by wind, and leaves partially changed their colour. By being in the garden in early autumn, one can enjoy a calm and peaceful moment.
Read more from Takako Sakamoto: http://en.japantravel.com/profile/takako-sakamoto/1358
Music: Hirokazu Akiyama (Hirokazu Akiyama)
Source: Japan Travel