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Archive: American Haibun & Haiga Volume 2

[Return to Author List, Vol 2 ]

Kenneth C. Leibman



The Path of Philosophy

A few days in the old capital, Kyôto. Today, a walk on Kyôto’s Path of Philosophy, and visits to the temples at its two ends.

To the north, Ginkakuji, the Silver Pavilion. Not the breathtaking magnificence of its older relative, Kinkakuji, the Golden Pavilion. It was never coated with silver as originally planned when it was built as a shôgun’s villa. But philosophically silver in relationship to the famous Golden Pavilion. Typically on a mountainside, the temple paths lead up through a carefully tended “forest,” from which glimpses of the temple and the cones of its sand garden may be had.

Then to the bend in the old canal, where tetsugaku no michi, the Path of Philosophy, begins. Strolling down these traffic-free walks on both banks of the canal on a Saturday noontime are a goodly number of Japanese and just a few gaijin, enjoying the cherry    blossoms at their peak.

elderly woman
sakura petals
on her blouse

Along the canal, private houses interspersed with shops and restaurants.

just think!
people actually live
on the Path of Philosophy!

I stop at the Matsuhana for lunch. Thank heaven, the less expensive restaurants use katakana rather than kanji in their menus!

simple food for
the Path of Philosophy

Finally, the street veers from the canal and leads to the Eikandô. There, the Mikaeri Amida cranes his neck backward. It is said that when the priest Eikan was dancing in honor of the Amida Buddha, the statue got off its pedestal and danced along. Eikan stopped, in amazement, at which the Amida looked backward and told him to keep on dancing.

And so I keep on truckin’ to the Eikandômae busstop.

[Return to Author List, Vol 2 ]


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