Ryōan-ji

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Ryōan-ji, or Temple of the Dragon at Peace, was next on our list of sights for the day. Ryōan-ji features lush green gardens, beautifully set around a lake.

See the little bridge in the background? It leads to a tiny island with a shrine.

It’s just another beautiful arrangement.

I have the above photo also without the little boy, but I think it’s a more interesting photo with him standing there. In a few years I will make Oskar hate me by telling him where he should stand still and smile :)

I suppose Ryōan-ji is best known, however, for its Zen temple with the rock garden.

15 rocks are arranged inside a rectangle of nicely raked gravel. You sit on the opposite long side of the garden (i.e. to the right as seen from this photo) and regardless where you sit or stand, you will not be able to see all the rocks. It’s a neat trick and I guess it helps you empty and calm your mind or do some other kind of Zen magic in your head.
As a non-Zen master, I am mostly pleased by the way the gravel and the rocks are set up. The rocks appear as if they were islands in a calm sea…

As with most of the buildings we have seen on our trip so far, the actual temple inside is nothing to write home about and I find them rather boring. They make you take off your shoes, which I respect, but I really do not think there is anything remarkable for the thrill seeking tourist here (I know what you think: “Dude! – it’s a Zen temple!” …yadda-yadda-yadda!).

After the rock garden we walked the outside gardens a little more and came across this guy:

Yet, as well done as all these sculptures and statues are, I am more impressed by the nature around these temples and the skillful way they are presented.

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