About this series
古池や 蛙飛び込む 水の音
The old pond
A frog leaps in
Sound of the water
by Matsuo Basho
These few photographs are from a photo-book that documents a visit to Saiho-Ji – a tranquil moss garden in the historic Arashiyama district of Kyoto, Japan.
Part of the experience of visiting Saiho-Ji is to complete a sutra transcription before entering the garden. You are ushered to the main temple to complete this formal ritual. With the prayer done you can then make your way to the garden.
A pathway designed for meditation meanders around an undulating moss soaked landscape enveloping a series of intersecting ponds that forms the kanji character for “heart”.
As I walked and photographed I couldn’t help but be taken in by the beauty and fragility of the landscape. There is a reflection of quietness and stillness in these images that frames for me the heart of Saiho-Ji.
Saihō-ji is a Rinzai Zen is a UNESCO World Heritage Buddhist temple located in Matsuo, Nishikyō Ward, Kyoto, Japan. Zen monk Muso Soseki began the task of restoring Saiho-ji between 1339 and 1344. The moss became an accidental feature of the garden after it was flooded and left unattended due to lack of funds for many decades.
Series shot with a Canon EOS 5D Mark IV & 24-70 F4 Canon lens