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March 18th 2014
Published: March 21st 2014
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Nara Tuesday, March 18 Today I went back to the Kyoto Station but took the JR Nara line further out to the city of Nara, a former capital of Japan. Nara is famous for its herds of deer that roam the large park area freely and are fed by visitors. Nara is a very assessable city to tourists and has a smaller, quainter atmosphere than the big cities. It’s a good place to go if you’re looking... Read Full Entry

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By Shin-Yakushiji
Roof Architecture at Shin-Yakushi-jiRoof Architecture at Shin-Yakushi-ji
Roof Architecture at Shin-Yakushi-ji

Outlined by winter's spidery branches.
Temple BellTemple Bell
Temple Bell

On outside of treasure hall, which housed the large statue of the Buddha, surrounded by the stone generals.
Flower AdriftFlower Adrift
Flower Adrift

In the Shin-Yakushi-ji garden.
Lantern FaceLantern Face
Lantern Face

An animal face carved out from the stone lantern.
A Miniature ForestA Miniature Forest
A Miniature Forest

The aesthetics of the moss garden still captured the feeling of a dense forest.
Rock and MossRock and Moss
Rock and Moss

Gardens like this capture the sublime using only a small-scale. Many zen gardens are representative of landscapes.
Petals and MossPetals and Moss
Petals and Moss

The sporophytes of the moss stand tall like miniature bamboo without vascular tissue.
Todai-ji From a DistanceTodai-ji From a Distance
Todai-ji From a Distance

The Great Buddha Statue sites in the daibutsuden rising in the distance.
Deer Grazing with Todaiji in the DistanceDeer Grazing with Todaiji in the Distance
Deer Grazing with Todaiji in the Distance

Only deer moved in the vast meadow leading to the temple.
The CrowdThe Crowd
The Crowd

Contrasted with the meadow, the entrance to the temple was packed with people and deer.
The Deer Outside Todai-jiThe Deer Outside Todai-ji
The Deer Outside Todai-ji

Flocking in search for food, are Nara deer subject to survival of the cutest? Males sometimes fight with each other, but the deer are overall very placid.
Entrance Gate to Todai-jiEntrance Gate to Todai-ji
Entrance Gate to Todai-ji

Massive gate to a massive temple.
Entrance Gate to Todai-jiEntrance Gate to Todai-ji
Entrance Gate to Todai-ji

Wonderful wooden architecture.
Statue GuardiansStatue Guardians
Statue Guardians

The entrance gate housed paired statues on either side. One set were stone lions and the other large, fearsome bodhisattvas (barely visible in the shadow to the right).
A Call for CompassionA Call for Compassion
A Call for Compassion

Buddhist temple areas also function as wildlife sanctuaries as hunting is prohibited. I think this tradition arose out of Buddhist ethics of compassion for all living things. However, this deer got hissed at by a tour guide and retreats to other grounds. Temples like this are places where religious pilgrimage crosses paths with commercial interest and national identity, making for some interesting juxtapositions.
Gate of TodaijiGate of Todaiji
Gate of Todaiji

Leading to the Great Statue of the Buddha.
Daibutsuden of Todai-jiDaibutsuden of Todai-ji
Daibutsuden of Todai-ji

Housing the Great Statue of the Buddha.
Path to DaibutsudenPath to Daibutsuden
Path to Daibutsuden

Many student groups were visiting the temple on field trips this day, however, many people came on their own to this landmark.
Side Building at Todai-jiSide Building at Todai-ji
Side Building at Todai-ji

On the grounds of the Daibutsuden.
Entrance to the DaibutsudenEntrance to the Daibutsuden
Entrance to the Daibutsuden

The size of the building was impressive.

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