Ryoan-ji —The Essence of Zen

Ryoan-ji is certainly one of the most sacred places on the planet. It contains the most famous zen rock garden in the world, laid out at the end of the 15th century. So much has been written about Ryoan-ji; pictures of the garden are ubiquitous and yet, when you visit here, all words fall away. Words are too clumsy to contain the subtle majesty and the deep stillness that the garden evokes. Even the bustle of flocks of school children and the snapping of cameras do nothing to diminish the power and serenity of this place. When we are willing to strip away (or to gently let go of) all that does not matter, and to let go of trying “to be something” to just sink into the stillness of being—when we jettison trying to become “better” versions of who we think we are and just surrender to the more of who we really are—that, my friends, is Ryoan-ji.

On the grounds of Ryoan-ji, nestled among the landscaped gardens, is a wonderful “yu-dofu” restaurant. And, being here in Kyoto, where yu-dofu is a specialty, who can resist? How often can one sit on tatami, overlooking a bubbling brook and drooping maple branches, the leaves reflecting prisms of light from the morning rain, while eating some of the most refined and subtle food in the world? Not often enough for me!

path to the yu-dofu restaurant

As you can see, even the path up to the restaurant can evoke a potential enlightenment experience!

Here, bubbling, soft, freshly made tofu is waiting to be dipped into a delicious shoyu-based broth. Check out the foreground!

yu-dofu paradise

And who could ask for a better traveling companion and co-conspirator in the search for the sublime and transcendent than my amazing and utterly inspiring mom? Blessings and blessing upon the lotus feet of her awesomeness!

team yu-dofu


1 Comment (+add yours?)

  1. bendbooks
    May 20, 2010 @ 14:08:52



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