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The Age of Karesansui in Myoshinji Temple’s Tenzoin Temple

We visited Mr. Daiko Matsuyama at the Tatezoin temple of Myoshinji, a Zen temple in Kyoto.
Mr. Oko is a terrific idea man!
Too unique, including a “Hitotsu no Zen” experience with candy balls and a marathon project that transcends religious boundaries! (See below for TED and related articles by Daiko)
Of even greater interest to me was the groundbreaking karesansui (dry landscape garden) here.
Karesansui is a garden design in which the landform is formed using only stones and no water. Most gardeners create such gardens, but the “Motonobu’s Garden” here was created by Motonobu Kano, a painter of the Muromachi period (1336-1573). By using only evergreen trees such as camellias, pine trees, Japanese pines, maki, mokoku, and kanamemochi, the design remains unchanged throughout the year. In other words, the garden is art itself.
It is said that Motonobu Kano was nearly 70 years old in 1546, when he was at his most mature as a painter. It is a three-dimensional rendition of a painting he did himself, and is said to be unusual because his last work was a landscape garden.
Karesansui was established between the Kamakura and Muromachi periods to represent the Zen religious view. The minimalist view of the world that represented the spiritual world may have matched the view of life and death in the Warring States period.
Incidentally, this is what it looks like historically. This garden is from the Muromachi period, the era of Toyotomi Hideyoshi.
Muromachi Period 1336 – 1573 (Warring States Period)
Toyotomi Hideyoshi 1536 – 1598
Although we were not able to see it this time, there is the oldest ink painting in Japan, “Hyonenzu. It is designated as a national treasure.
The idea was conceived by Ashikaga Yoshimochi (1386-1428), the fourth shogun of the Muromachi Shogunate, who used a gourd to create the “namasu” (a Japanese name for a gourd). The theme of the painting was “Can you hold back the ゙? Some people say that the painting depicts hard work and accomplishment, but I think it is more about the powers-that-be enjoying an intellectual game with an artist. It looks to me as if they are just trying to make a living. I believe that culture can be nurtured through artistic expression on these themes. In other words, Ashikaga Yoshimochi was an excellent curator.
I would love to see it next time I go.
* Photos taken from the official website, Wikimedia Commons, and TED.
◆See also
Myoshinji Temple, Kyoto, Japan
Reasons for religion — a quest for inner peace | Daiko Matsuyama | TEDx
Zen Experience” – Why Myoshinji Temple’s Tazo-in Temple in Kyoto has begun offering a new visiting experience: a seven-minute candy ball tasting Zen experience.