The Temples of Kyoto
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Presents 21 of the oldest and most beautiful of these temples found in the ancient capital of Kyoto by the Dean of art critics in Japan with brilliant photographs by the award winning photographer Alexandre Georges, highlight these world renowned structures that are both places of worship and examples of the finest art Japan has ever produced.
fact that the "secrets" of Shingon are only properly passed from one religious officer to his adept—and not to the general public. It remains personal and, though not without a certain civic aspect, it still turns inward. x Ishiyama-dera was among the first temples to neglect a careful citification, to instead cultivate a certain rustic look.With its rocks (ishiyama means "stone mountain"), its many gentle levels, and its modest heights, this temple seemed to be almost an elegant country
no canon, no scripture, because words are themselves illusionary, indeed, the aim is for an intellectual vacuum which will allow for enlightenment. Here was also offered a political vacuum through which the Hojos could establish the connection between Zen and the warrior class. Another reason was that Zen soon became the conduit for cultural imports from China.TheTang Dynasty might be over but the Song offered all sorts of interesting new ideas. Zen itself was one of these and was thus in part
declared complete. Nonetheless the reigning emperor did not attend the 1344 dedication ceremonies. He was afraid to. Mass meetings had been held at Enryaku-ji and resolutions were passed reproving the court for dealing with Zen heretics— using such language as "demons masquerading as priests." The emperor thus thought it discrete not to appear on opening day but he did turn up the next, secretly.Though the imperial house actually sponsored the Zen sect it was still afraid openly to do so. So far
himself. At least this was the opinion of Yoshimasa's secretary who elsewhere often spoke of his master as "that man of incomparable taste." 1 2 6 • Temples of Kyoto Whether either of these sand shapes were ever looked at during the daytime is debatable. In this century, however, that is the only time they are ever seen. Hence today they are found very "modern" looking and these abstractseeming shapes, are as pleasingly incongruous to the modern eye as Pei's glass pyramid in the Louvre, and as
the same time separate from it, more one with nature. There is also, just off a corridor, a most elegant toilet. One is reminded of Tanizaki Jun'ichiro (a latter-day bunjin) finding it a place of placid pleasure. His example is another literary figure, the famous Natsume Soseki—novelist, essayist, poet, and the man whose face now graces the thousand-yen bill. He, says Tanizaki, "counted his morning trips to the toilet a great pleasure, 'a physiological delight' he called it."This is because the