We visited the Ryoanji Temple in Kyoto.
Did not get to read much about in advance of arriving. Perhaps a little paragraph in the Lonely planet guide “the main attraction is the garden arranged in the karesansui style. An oblong of sand with an austere collection of 15 carefully placed rocks, apperently adrift in a sea of sand, is enclosed by an earthen wall. The designer, who remains unknown, provided no explanation…”
Which is slightly different to the information given in the leaflet provided by Temple. This says it was created by the highly respected Zen monk – Tokuho Zeneketsu.
When we arrived we stood at the sitemap and happened to be standing behind a tour guide for an elderly American couple. We listened eagerly as he told them that one meaning for rock garden was that rocks represented this tips of the mountains (Himalayas?) and the white gravel represents the clouds. He told the couple that there are 15 rocks but they cannot all be seen at once.
He told them that to see all 15 rocks at once, one would have to be perfect. Given that none of us is perfect this was not going to happen. So he said that we would have to accept that and try and get on with our lives as best as we could. Or words to that effect.
It was interesting.
Whichever place I stood I could not count 15 rocks and I am learning to live with my imperfections!
So we did yet more wondering around the site and came across a number of beautiful buildings and wildlife.
And then it was over – oh so quickly!