Visit Daitoku-ji temple in Kyoto to find tranquility, history

The Garden of Solitary Sitting in the Zhuiho-in sub-temple at Daitoku-ji, Kyoto, Japan. JOSEPH DITZLER/STARS AND STRIPES
The Garden of Solitary Sitting in the Zhuiho-in sub-temple at Daitoku-ji, Kyoto, Japan. JOSEPH DITZLER/STARS AND STRIPES

Visit Daitoku-ji temple in Kyoto to find tranquility, history

by Joseph Ditzler
Stars and Stripes

Drop “Zen” into conversation, and thoughts of one hand clapping or a properly maintained motorcycle may come to mind.

Less popularly understood, however, are the main precepts of Zen Buddhism and the different sects within the practice. One of those branches, Rinzai, is centered in the ancient, former Japanese capital, Kyoto, 2 ½-hours by bullet train from Tokyo, in a place called Daitoku-ji. It’s well worth a visit, even if you don’t know a koan from a kotsu.

Founded in the early 14th century, destroyed in the 16th century and subsequently rebuilt, the temple complex today encompasses 56 acres and nearly two dozen smaller sub-temples. One of them, the Koto-in, is considered an important site in the history of the Japanese tea ceremony. Many threads of Japan’s history in the 16th and 17th centuries are woven into the story of this world unto itself.

The entire walled complex is expansive, but only four of the sub-temples are open to the public. Many of the interior gardens of the lesser temples are visible from their gates. The main temple is not open to the public.

Read more at: https://www.stripes.com/1.615129

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