East end of the rock garden at Ryoanji, photographed from the veranda of the hojo, looking to the south. Early December morning, frost on the roof of the wall surrounding the garden. The frost will disappear quickly as the sun rises in the sky.
The former Hiroshima Prefectural Industrial Halll, as it has stood since the atomic bombing of Hiroshima. In front is one of the three rivers that runs through Hiroshima. This site is just down the river from the bridge that was the intended target for the atomic bomb.
Driving back to Morioka City (Iwate Prefecture) from an onsen (hot spring) weekend in the Aomori Prefecture.
The yearly family tradition of pruning the persimmon tree in the garden. Pictured are Ruri, the daughter in the family, sitting on the fence, and Kunio, her father in the green jacket.
Southern portion of the inner (â€upperâ€) garden as seen from the Shisendo. Built by samurai Ishikawa Jozan (1583-1672) beginning in 1636. He bacame a scholar and based Shisendo on retreats of mid-Tâ€™ang dynasty Chinese poets and scholars.
View along the east-west axis of the pond garden, from the west end of the pond. On the left in the image is the kare sansui garden that runs along the edge of the pond, between the veranda of the Omote shinden and the pond. The rocks in the left foreground are said to represent different characteristics of the flow of the Kamo River.
The niche in the wall, the mehrab, is placed in the direction of Mecca so that all facing the mehrab for prayer will also be facing Mecca. On the wall are the names Allah and Muhammad representing the creedal statement, the Shahada: There exists only one God and Muhammad is his messenger. Also, on the wall is the clock, a reminder of the 5 daily prayer times.
The museum labels states, "This handsome, well-modeled figure depicts a bodhisattva, an enlightened being who selflessly remains in the cycle of death and rebirth in order to help others attain enlightenment. His relaxed posture is typical of a teacher while discoursing, but it is unusual for a bodhisattva. It is a form of paryankasana,in which one foot rests on the opposite thigh (paryanka)." -- Nepal, Kathmandu Valley -- Coll. Art Institute of Chicago (James W. and Marilynn Alsdorf Collection, 134.1996)
This female yakshi represents the auspicious fertility of the earth as she stands under the canopy of a fruit-laden tree, possibly mango. Auspicious symbols surround the entranceways to the caves, making these caves also auspcious places to dwell.
Before praying, all Muslim worshippers must purify themselves by performing ritual ablutions. Mosques provide fountains or individual water spigots so that each person can carry out this ritual cleansing.
Outside many mosques in India, small shops sell perfumes and small ornaments. Before prayer, all must perform ritual ablutions to purify oneself. From an early period, perfumes have been associated with the idea of purification.
In this photo, several Tibetan women are seen walking behind an Indian woman visiting the Ajanta Caves. Pilgrims and tourists travel to this historic site and walk the series of caves in all seasons. Pilgrims from many different Buddhist cultures often perform ritual prayers as they visit individual caves.
This carving of the parinirvana of the Buddha Sakyamuni includes figures of monks receiving teaching from the Buddha, emphasizing the importance of the Buddha as a teacher even as he was dying. Cave 26.
Detail, rock groups at the southwest corner of the garden at Ryoanji.
Across the top of the entrance to the Chaitya Hall is this series of small niches containing amorous couples in slightly different poses with their bodies bent as if in response to their partners. On either side of each couple is a small figure, perhaps a child. Repeating these figures across the length of the top of the entranceway offers images of fertility and good fortune to all who pass through.
Gandharvas (celestial male musicians) flanked by apsarases (celestial nymphs) float on either side of the opening over the balcony entrance to the Chaitya Hall. These auspicious heavenly creatures represent good fortune for all who enter this site.
Alternately quarrelling and reconciling, the couple, Shiva and Parvati, sit close together here while the demon Ravana shakes their abode from below. Shiva has placed one hand on Parvati's breast while she is resting her hand on his leg.
At the Tomb Shrine of the mother of Zar Zari Zar Baksh, women tie glass bangles over the door lintel into the shrine room as symbols of their petitions.
A reminder of the Quranic injunction to pray five times a day. At 4:45 p.m., the next prayer time is posted for 19:00. This prayer, the Maghrib, is the fourth of the day to be performed just after sunset.
Within a few yards of the tomb shrine of Zar Zari Zar Baksh lies the tomb shrine of his mother, also understood to intercede with God on the behalf of pilgrims. Women pilgrims often pray to her to help them conceive a child.
As noted in Bhajan singing 1 and 2, the warmly dressed singers from the Rama Temple are singing songs of praise to Vaishnava deities. Women and men sing together in these groups.
On the wall of the masjid, over the mehrab or niche designating the direction of prayer is this blue-green plaque with the shahada written in gold lettering: There is only one God and Muhammad is his prophet.
This oddly shaped but magnificent tree is said to have spontaneously begun growing when the saint threw a stick in the courtyard. Women tie colored fabric on its branches as a symbol of their petitions to the saint.
An ascetic figure sits atop the roof of the temple, clothed in the saffron robes that indicate his commitment to live as a brahmacarin and carrying the walking stick necessary for his life as wanderer. The sunglasses indicate that this figure was probably meant to represent a contemporary guru respected by the lineage of ascetics associated with this temple.