Didem Doğan

Maruyama Park and Chion-in

I am riding my bicycle up Kiyomizudera and somewhat towards the west. My destination is Ginkakuji, but I cannot help stopping on my way because there is a temple or a park in every corner on my route. I am arriving at a park: all autumn colours here deserve admiration. This is Maruyama Park, with a pond in the centre and red trees around it. I am coming across a temple at the exit of the park. Again I am parking my bicycle and entering it at once. This is Chion-in, the centre of Jodo-Shu, a sect of Shintoism which means the school of pure earth. It was founded by the priest Honen. I am entering the first door that welcomes me and climbing up the stairs. All places of worship here were built on the top of a hill with a difficult slope to climb, as if they give the message that the desired level of consciousness is hard to attain. Right next to the temple is another garden you need to buy a ticket to enter: Yuzen-en Garden which has a design of its own is a part of the temple complex. In Zen which is a sect of Buddhism, temples and gardens are always together.