04 Feb Ryoanji: Six Stones
The rock garden at Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto is one of my favorite places in Japan and one of the most sacred places on the planet for me. In its sere simplicity, its stark purity, it’s a place that slows me down, quiets me, leads me to look within as well as without, and to find the connections that abide.
I’ll be visiting Ryoanji again this spring on a trip with GeoEx, and in anticipation of that, I’ve been reliving visits past. On my most recent journey there, last spring, I spent half a day sitting on the temple’s wooden platform, staring at the raked pebbles and the moss-circled stones and the trees beyond, and wrote these six haiku.
I think of them as stones in my own inner Ryoanji.
In April, rain on
I sit and absorb
Just as 40 years before:
Rock, moss, pebble. Still.
Gust of wind, cherry
Petal lands upon my palm:
Welcome back, old friend.
Slow down, close your eyes,
Complete the garden in your mind:
Every absent stone.
The path I once dreamed
On the platform where I sit
Now: Sacred circle.
Empty your mind and
Open your heart: What garden?
There’s no garden here.
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