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Touching Paradise

Written on October 15, 2009

Over time, disparate sets of friends in Japan have told me that Joruriji, a Heian Period (794-1185) temple, was their favorite in all Japan.   On this recent trip to Japan, with two good friends, on a cool autumn day amid beautifully diffused light, I visited Joruriji.  I now understand my friends’ feelings: Joruriji, remote, soulful and still, is a remarkable haven of peaceful beauty.


The temple, above, is located in the countryside of Kyoto Prefecture and houses nine remarkable, large scale gilt wood images of Amida Buddha in supremely peaceful postures.  These images of the Buddha indicate the nine levels of enlightenment and suggest the paradise which awaits in the afterlife.  The nine Buddhas are housed in the perfect place for this purpose as this is a stunning location.

Feral cats–many of them–have the run of the place, as this one does.  The carp and turtles in the temple pond seem curious about him, although they must know him: this blond tom seems to be one of the more dominant cats of the group.


This is the approach to Joruriji.  Notice the rustic, almost unkempt feeling: this “natural” look is beautiful, and is unlike most of Kyoto’s countless other temples which are impeccably maintained.


The golden sheaths of rice, above, indicate autumn, as do the wild cosmos, below, which were seen in profusion around Joruriji and its environs.  Just lovely.



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  1. Comment by india Flint:

    lovely images, thank you

    October 15, 2009 @ 6:59 pm