Tuesday, June 10

Miyajima - Part II

Feeding the penguins was definitely a highlight of the weekend, but the rest of the aquarium was a bit of a disappointment. Most of the aquarium spaces had little or no vegetation or scenery for the animals. It made me sad to think of the animals spending so much time in so 'nothing' of a space. We did see some interesting things, though! Moray eels...I think I would just have a heart attack on the spot if I met one of these in the deep dark depths of the ocean. Some interesting other eels who seem to enjoy each other's company, and some sea horses!

After the aquarium, we wandered back towards town and found some lunch. Miyajima is well known for it's oysters, and my oyster rice was delicious! Keith let me try one of his deep fried oysters, which was also to die for!

Every temple and shrine posesses a unique history and story, and I love finding out the details and history behind the cultural and religious traditions. I often stop and close my eyes as I picture how it might have been, hundreds of years ago...or when it was originally built. Even to me, Buddhist though I am not, each temple holds it's own signifigance and requires respect. The Daisho-in Temple we visited in Miyajima is one of my favorite temples so far. It was diverse and beautiful. It has been a holy place of the Shignon Sect of Buddhism since before the 12th century.

The Niomon Gate houses two guardian king statues who ward off evil and are determind to preserve Buddhist philosophy on earth. I can't help but think of the artists who carved them - what a privilege it must have been to create something so beautiful and fierce to guard something so precious. Inside the gate was a long staircase seperated by six hundred volumes of Dai-hannyakyo Scriptures. Touching these Sutras is said to bring you good luck. We walked up the stairs slowly, rolling each sutra as we passed.

Inside a small building was a beautiful sand mandola. It was made my Tibetian Buddhist monks, and it's incredible! Every color and shape you see is created by a different color of loose sand. I can't imagine the patience and planning that it must have taken - but it was mesmerizing to look at.

The ornate decorations, fabrics, and carvings throughout the temple have such vivid detail, even being centuries old. I meant to finish showing pictures and explaining the temple in this post, but I've run out of time, so more tomorrow!


canadasue said...

sand mandala...
I find these exquisite. The first one I saw was in a museum/gallery in Albuquerque, New Mexico. I was enchanted by the idea of the art being a form of prayer/meditation, I was and continue to be mesmerized by this idea!

Merry said...

I really enjoy reading your blog. The photos are beautiful, and the posts are fascinating -- it's wonderful to be able to sit at my desk and open my eyes to a world thousands of miles removed from my personal reality.

Thank you!