Fall in Kyoto
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The Japanese are enthusiastic about celebrating the autumnal changing of the leaves. In Kyoto, several of the city's major temples remain open at night for special lighted garden displays, illuminating the brilliantly-colored trees. And at Shôren-in, the temple's expansive moss garden is underwired with hundreds of blue light diodes that flicker and change in a micro-cosmos star show...

The simplicity of Ryôan-ji serves as a kind of illumination of the colors as well. I was invited to Ryôan-ji by a friend and member of the temple's traditional family, and we were privileged to a special tour. These photos thus include photos taken from the zorokuan tea room not open to the public. Ryôan-ji is famous for its Rock Garden and for a stone hand-washing basin, inscribed with an aphorism that reads: "I learn only to be contented" or "The knowledge that is given is sufficient". The four characters composing this phrase share the central square radical in a complex visual "play-on-words." However, we learned that the Stone Basin seen by tourists is actually a reproduction, and that the real Basin, seen in these photos, remains in its original location in a small garden closed to visitors... This necessary deception seems to suggest a spark of the same curious wisdom that pervades the uniquely zen atmosphere of Ryôan-ji...

 
 
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