Tuesday, March 14, 2006

Crazy Zen abbot

Adashino Nembutsu-ji temple, Kyoto, summer 1996, by Michael


Crazy Zen abbot
serves tea, tries to out-bow me
at Daisen temple

10 comments:

Green said...

Wow,
This is a very interesting angle I've never thought of when I was there.
Very nice picture!

Michael said...

Thanks, Greensleeves!

anu said...

haha :) laughing here

Michael said...

Thanks, Anu!

LBseahag said...

That's amazing...you have talent capuring true feeling...

Michael said...

Hello LB,
Thanks! Truth to tell, the photos practically took themselves while I was in Japan. All I had to do was click the shutter.

g said...

This is a fascinating photo, and I am perplexed at the background. It appears to be a cemetary, although the knobs surrounding the statue could be prostrate worshippers, if they were not stone.

Michael said...

Hi g,

This temple is one of my favorite in the Kyoto area. Each of those stone objects is a Buddha statue or representation thereof. During obon, the festival of the dead, which is held in summer, this field of Buddhas is aglow from the lights of innumerable candles, guiding the spirits of the dead back home.

Patry Francis said...

Oh no, even bowing can become a competitive sport!

Michael said...

Hi Patry,

In Japan, bowing is an art form. It can be construed as compliment or insult, sincere or insincere.
In the case of my encounter with the abbot of Daisen-in in Kyoto, it was a case (I think) of us trying to outdo each other in terms of paying our respects.
He was probably wondering who this crazy foreigner was who was trying to outbow him.
He was serving tea and offered me a seated bow. I received the tea and offered my own seated bow. The bows got lower and lower. We nearly butted heads.
Then we laughed.