five story pagoda

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Five-storied Pagoda (五重塔) by Albert Jafar
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The Five-storied Pagoda was built in 942 along with the Main Hall of Sensoji (浅草寺) by military commander Taira no Kinmasa.

Zen Koans

‘Koans are capsules of thought, psychic knots that resist unraveling. In some Buddhist sects, students are assigned phrases or situations to meditate upon, to focus the mind and free it from the bear-trap of reason. For example:

1. “A man is sitting atop a hundred-foot pole. How does he get off it.

2. “A wheel maker makes two wheels, each with fifty spokes. Suppose you cut out the hubs. Would there still be wheels?”

3. “On a windy day, two monks are arguing about a fluttering banner. The first says, “The banner is moving, not the wind.” The second says, “The wind is moving the banner.” Who is right?

4. “Two hands clap and there is a sound; what is the sound of one hand?”

5. “What is the straight within the bent?”

6. “Pull a five-story pagoda out of a teapot.”

Inexhaustible, koans are intended for live practice between master and student, with illumination as a goal, not interpretation, because, as the old saying goes: “It’s easy to confuse the pointing finger with the moon.” As Zen teacher Norman Fischer explains: “This practice consists of living and sitting with phrases, until they become very large and very strange, and reveal themselves to us. That is to say, through them we are revealed to ourselves.”

There’s no right answer to these puzzles designed to focus the mind, and I sometimes dwell on koans while waiting in the dark for first light. This morning, I’ve been thinking a little about mu, though I appreciate it’s not something understood by occasional thought. Mu, which translates inadequately as nothingness, often appears in Buddhist practice, and sometimes in this venerable koan: “What is mu?”’

- Diane Ackerman, Dawn Light: Dancing with Cranes and Other Ways to Start the Day.

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Tokyo City Skyline at Night with Senso-ji (浅草寺) and Tokyo Skytree (東京スカイツリー) in Tokyo Japan by TOTORORO.RORO
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The night view of Tokyo city skyline with many famous tourist attractions including Asakusa Senso-ji (浅草寺), Five-story Pagoda (五重塔), Asakusa Culture Tourist Information Center (浅草文化観光センター), Tokyo Skytree (東京スカイツリー), Asahi Beer Hall and Asahi Flame (Golden Turd 金のうんこ), in Tokyo Japan. Camera Information: Model: Sony ILCE-6000 (A6000) Lens: Sony 10-18mm f/4 Wide-Angle Zoom Lens OSS Alpha E-mount (SEL1018).

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The Sakura season in Kyoto is always the highlight of the spring season. There are so many beautiful spots scattered around the ancient Heian capital, that it’s hard to decide where to go.
The peak of the Cherry blossoms doesn’t last all that long either, just about one week. Although its spring and the rain that comes with it, there are days that the sky is heavenly blue and the sun is shining!
This year I visited many different spots and its hard to say which are prettier. The topping on the cake was my visit to Haradani-en Garden (原谷苑) in the North of Kyoto. Another highlight was the “Sakura Hana Matsuri” at the Hirano Shrine (平野神社) in Kyoto. I just happened to be there a few minutes before the matsuri arrived in the shrine. Truly a remarkable experience. There was a procession passing through the Sandō (参道)-The approach way leading to the main shrine- and coming to a halt in front of the Haiden (拝殿). A small ceremony was held for the return of the Kami to the Honden (本殿). The participating troupe of man and woman were all dressed in Heian style kimono.
The next stunning event was the matsuri held on Mount Yoshino in Nara. It is called the “Yoshino Hana Eshiki” (吉野花会式) procession. The participants are the famous Shugendō (修験道) ascetic mountain monks. They made their way from the Sakuramotobō (櫻本坊) to the Zaōdō hall of the Kimpusen-ji temple for the final climax of this matsuri. A dance by the oni odori (鬼踊) and the burning of a large pile wood and pine branches. After this they trow mochi kubari (餅配り) into the crowd.
Some of the other sakura hotspots where the Sewari-tei River Bank (背割堤) in Yawata, Katsuragawa Ryokuchi Park (桂川緑地) along the banks of the Katsuragawa River, the Takase River (高瀬川) along Kiyamachi Street, Tōji Temple (等持院), Suika Tenmangu Shrine (水火天満宮), the magical Momoyama Castle (伏見城) in Fushimi-ku, Tenryu-Ji Temple (天龍寺), Senkō-ji Temple (千光寺) and Jōshōkō-ji Temple (常照皇寺).
The following pictures are unpublished as of yet and I’ll be posting them in this album as time permits. Hopefully these pictures and locations will inspire you to come to Kyoto next year and enjoy the beauty of the “Cherry Season”. This is the five story pagoda (五重ノ塔) of Tōji Temple (東寺) During the 2014 Sakura Season in Kyoto.

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Asakusa Temple Senso-ji (浅草寺) at Night in Tokyo Japan by TOTORORO.RORO
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The famous night view of Asakusa Temple Senso-ji’s inner gate Hozomon (宝蔵門) and Five-storied Pagoda (五重塔) in Tokyo Japan. Camera Information: Model: Sony NEX-6, Shutter Speed: 1/50 sec, Aperture: f/4, Focal Length: 10mm, ISO: 3200 Lens: Sony 10-18mm f/4 Wide-Angle Zoom Lens OSS Alpha E-mount (SEL1018).

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Five-story Pagoda (五重塔) in Senso-ji (浅草寺) in Asakusa (浅草), Tokyo (東京) Japan. by TOTORORO.RORO
Via Flickr:
Five-story Pagoda (五重塔) in Senso-ji (浅草寺) in Asakusa (浅草), Tokyo (東京) Japan. Camera Information: Model: Sony ILCE-6000 (A6000) Lens: Sony 10-18mm f/4 Wide-Angle Zoom Lens OSS Alpha E-mount (SEL1018).

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東寺夜桜ライトアップ To-ji Temple by ELCAN KE-7A
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枝垂れ桜と五重塔のライトアップ。去年は桜の開花が早く、すっかり散っていたが、今年は見事に満開だった。感動した。 The five-story pagoda of Toji temple and the illuminated weeping cherry tree. It was in full bloom!