Sunday, December 05, 2010

Gold in the Snow

This image of Kinkakuji, Kyoto's Golden Pavilion, arrived a few years ago with holiday greetings from a Japanese law firm with whom I did a fair bit of intellectual property work in the bad old days when I engaged in corporate employment downtown. Deadlines and court filings were piled up to the ceiling when I opened the envelope on that December day and extracted the little jewel of a card, but in that precious fleeting moment, all the cares of the day passed away like smoke. I caught my breath in delight and knew that the image was a "keeper", something I would retain and cherish and revisit, time and time again.

The original Golden Pavilion formed part of a retreat complex created in 1397 for the shogun Ashikaga Yoshimitusu, who had just abdicated the throne in favor of his son. It contained a pagoda or two, living quarters, temples, a bell tower and formal gardens. When the old shogun died a few years later, the pavilion became a Zen temple in accordance with his wishes, and so it remains to this day, a revered shariden formally called Kinkaku-ji (Temple of the Golden Pavilion) or Rokuon-ji (Deer Garden Temple).

Enshrining relics (ashes) of the Buddha, the temple exudes a timeless sense of peace by the lake in its exquisite garden setting. The present structure is covered in gold leaf and looks old, but is a replica erected in the fifties after a mad monk torched the original.

There is companion piece on the wall here in my studio, an old and fragile woodblock (see image on the right) which used to hang in my high rise office downtown. At difficult moments in my working life, the images always conveyed peace and serenity, and now they continue to give both pleasure and peace here at home.

There is nothing on my little gem of a card to indicate who the artist was. I don't really need to know, but I do wish I could say "thank you". It (the card) arrived at just the right moment, and it continues to bring pleasure now, years later.

7 comments:

LauraX said...

quite relaxing, both images, I can imagine they bring you deep peace.

the wild magnolia said...

Namaste!

One Woman's Journey said...

Beautiful - just caught up on 4 days that I missed...

liliannattel said...

It's a beautiful image. I love to think of it having lasted so long, sad that it was torched. But Cate, I can't imagine you in a downtown corporation. It's fascinating to find that out.

Loren said...

Precious.

Pallas Renatus said...

Lovely

singne said...

I caught my breath too, on seeing this beautiful image on your blog page.