Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Ryoanji (and some nuns)

I've been to Kyoto twice before so I wasn't exactly thrilled when Kristin said she wanted to go there. Although really it was my fault because I did suggest it. But we did manage to see some things I hadn't seen before (and some things I had that I wanted to see again like Fushimi Inari.) One of them being a convent! That's right, because Kristin's mom works for the Sisters of St. Joseph we were able to stay with some sisters connected to them in Kyoto. I told them early on I wasn't Catholic so I didn't get the pressure to become a nun/missionary that Kristin did but they were all lovely and took good care of us.

The other great thing was that their retreat house was right across the street from Ryoanji Temple - one of the many hundreds of temples that hadn't really made it onto my radar, but I was very happy we went. Ryoanji is famous for its Zen rock garden. There are 15 large rocks floating in a sea of gravel that is raked every morning. 15 is a perfect number but from the viewing platform you can only see 14 at a time. If you move to see the last one, another rock slips from view. Only through attaining Enlightenment can you see all 15. (No luck so far! But I did fit through Buddha's nostril at Todaiji so there's hope yet.) It might have been a very peaceful experience if there hadn't been a crowd of junior high school students also visiting at the same time.

And if you take a picture you can only get five boulders.



Besides the rock garden there is a beautiful garden.

And a nice pond!

And Sister Jeannie and Kumiko and maybe a future Sister Kristin??? ;-)

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