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Temples and shrines

JAPAN | Sunday, 17 August 2014 | Views [318]

Silver Temple, Kyoto

Silver Temple, Kyoto

There are literally hundreds of temples and shrines in Japan, especially in Kyoto. They range from the ultra-ornate, such as Kinkakuji, "the Golden Temple", to small, moss covered ones hidden between mid-rise concrete buildings. Some have immense Buddhas inside, such as Daibutsu in Nara, whose ears are longer than I am tall! 

My favourite temple so far is Ginkakuji, "the Silver Temple", which was designed by one of the first Zen-Buddhists in 1482. The temple grounds have raked-sand gardens, a mirror-like pond, and a bamboo wood. Curving water channels pass through mossy grounds, past strategically placed rocks, plants and shaped trees. It seemed that, in freeing the surroundings of clutter and creating space also freed the mind in a similar way. To me, it felt full of peace, calming and very spiritual.

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