The occasional observations of Carolyn Kephart, writer

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Remembered Beauty

“From the withered tree, a flower.” ~Zen proverb

I've loved Japan since childhood, and the beauty of its culture has continued to enrich my life in countless ways. Its language is able to define the ineffable: wabi-sabi, shibui, mono no aware, mottainai. Visiting Tokyo and Kyoto in 2008 was the fulfillment of a dream for me, and now as I try to comprehend the horrifying news images from the earthquake, what I most remember is how kind everyone was, and how gracious and patient. Those memories give me hope.

Out of my wrung heart, the wish to live mindfully, spending each instant in the best possible way; to do all I can to help as much as I can. Out of the withered branch, a flower.

The following photographs were taken by me during my Japan visit, and reflect the spiritual strength I found everywhere. Click twice on them for the biggest view.

A granite prayer wheel. Heavy as it looks,
the slightest touch moves it -- a lesson in stone.

A quiet shrine on a rainy day.

The Buddha of Old Fans,
its altar-table piled with offerings.

A favorite temple, serene and restful.

A Buddhist monk chanting in the street.

A shrine fountain with the inscription
"I live for the joy."


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