Today we went to Daitoku-ji. It was cool to see all the different temples and I actually didn’t know that the temples operated independently of each other. I was thinking that it might be more beneficial for all of the temples if they did work together and formed some kind of temple union. It was also interesting to relearn about the Eitoku art while actually looking at them in person. I have learned about all of them in class before but it is a totally different experience being on ground zero. Lastly, the blue waterfall slide doors were the most interesting part of the day to me because in my study of Daitoku-ji last year, these were not mentioned. I imagine this is because they are fairly new and thus lack the historical component that often makes art worthy of study. I think that the clam paint was perhaps the most salient detail of the day, as it truly brings the aesthetic of a waterfall and oceans and bodies of water in general to the walls of Daitoku-ji.
An important experience of the day was actually the vegetarian lunch at Izusen. I actually don’t like vegetables very much but the meal was extremely tasty and satisfying. I was particularly surprised by how much food there was, even though each food was only in small portions. Sachiko-san taught us about how the bowls that they used for the lunch are bowls that monks use and that they all fit inside each other. The bowls fitting inside each other could just be for convenience but I also imagine that it has some symbolism relevant to buddhist doctrine.
Lastly, on the way back home we stopped at 2 mochi tea houses across from each other. It’s interesting to me that they can have competing businesses in such close proximity to each other and not have ill will or feelings (at least none that showed while we were there.) I feel as though if that were in the U.S. it would be a lot more aggressive and problem somewhat violent. David, Ayami, Louisa, and I went into the left house and enjoyed a warm conversation about Japanese culture and racial prejudices. Unfortunately i spent the conversation still trying to sit comfortably on the floor.
Seiza is hard. Practice makes perfect.