This blog is the record of the Roy W. Howard National Collegiate Reporting Competition media tour through South Korea and Japan. The nine winners of the award, college journalists from across the country, will be updating this blog from the trip with written reports and photographs as they travel through Seoul, Osaka, Kobe and Tokyo. Stay tuned for up-to-the-minute news and reporting.
Saturday, June 21, 2008
Rock Garden at Ryoanji
Today marks the achievement of a life goal. I have waited for years to come across the world and see this embodiment of Zen, much imitated but never replicated. The air was cool, dark and rich with the scent of plants and invisible forces.
The path to the garden is a dense and quiet jungle of moss and spirits. One tree wore a simple rope belt tied about its waist, the sign of a Shinto deity. I felt possessed by the spirit of Basho.
I prepared myself for enlightenment as we ascended the massive stone steps. As soon as we removed our shoes and entered the pavilion, I sat down on the wooden floor before the garden and began to sketch. An inky brush would have been preferable but my mechanical pencil began to move. The steps were crowded with visitors but I felt alone with my dream.
In the presence of the these ancient forces, I was instantly energized. How can I be tired when these rocks never complain, I thought. The 15 rocks, misshapen, perfect and serene expanded to glacial, continental, planetary scale as the pebbles began to blur and shift. Creatures, stars and achievements indistinguishable, small yet infinitely large in scale to the sand of time, present and fleeting.
Leaving the temple, I felt satisfied, content, complete. On the path back to modernity I felt a part of myself pulling away from my physical self, with my blessing. I have never felt so safe, surrounded by the manifestations of the divine.
I kept going and never stopped. My home is this place. My spirit will stay here forever, invisible, in hiding, in trees, laughing.
Photos from the rock garden
- September (4)
- The Return of Milky Boy!
- Arrival: Chicago
- End of a (2 Week) Era
- 1950's Geisha Is 2008's Prostitute
- Tokyo Arrival
- Rock Garden at Ryoanji
- Korea Is the Future Is Now
- Did We Mention This Trip Is Free?
- The Beginnings of an Adventure
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- Trip Prep
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