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Name:Shisendo garden photo
Shisendo, Kyoto
Photo: Alan Tarver

Alternate Name: 
Address:27 Monguchi-cho, Ishojo-ji, Sakyo-ku 
Mailing Address: 
Postal Code: 
Latitude/Longitude:lat=35.11667; long=135.8
Find Gardens Nearby
Phone:+81 (0)75.781.2954 
Designer(s):Ishikawa Jozan 
Contruction Date:1636/1641 (Edo period) 
Added to JGarden:1/1/1998 
Last Updated:8/22/2003 
JGarden Description:Built by Ishikawa Jozan (1584-1672) after he was exiled from Edo by the Tokugawas, this small garden served as Ishikawa's refuge to study tea, philosophy and garden design. He moved to this iste in the hill sof northeastern Kyoto in 1636. It was not designed in the contemporary tea garden style, though it has changed somewhat from the original. It's memorable features include a large camellia tree, a bamboo forest framing the entrance, karikomi azaleas, maples, a shishi-odoshi, and its blending of interior and exterior spaces. The garden uses a common arrangement of dry gravel in the foreground, clipped karikomi azaleas in the midground and a verdant hillside the background.

His house consists of a kitchen and living quarters, reading rooms, living room and a small tower built for mooon-viewing. The main foyer basts portraits of 36 famous poets and lends the name 'Shisendo' or 'House of the Great Poets'. 

Saihoji Temple, Kyoto
Actuality is emblem here: a walled-in garden
With its hieroglyph of the heart a lake with lotuses,
And its stones and trees a figure of ascent
From painted maze and sensuous paradise
To the Pure Land of the mind, the interior garden.
All paths wind inward to this inward mirror --
Reflecting-pool of primitive solitude --
Where the mind, quiescent, meditates its shadow,
In the garden's Heart this cipher of the heart.

Some bonze cropped bald by wisdom's scythe, to glean
In Chinese glaosses on the Sakya sage
Reality's scattered kernels, planted here
A green and less laborious commentary:
Perpetual witness of the perfect stillness.

Only the moss speaks still, a living scroll;
From the lakeshore to the hillside a silver-green
Page of continuous discourse where the foot moves
More soundlessly that thought along the paths laid
Over ten centuries ago
For the saints rehearsing sutras.

Their path unfolding in a single text,
They moved on an obscure way more quietly
Than the arhat's mantras or the lohan's prayer;
And bruised no stone, no grasses in their passing,
The ground of their desire inviolate.

Nameless, they merged into indifferent turf,
Engrossed in one impartite grace of green,
Their separate deaths lost in this single life --
Men without memory, without distinction.
Though earth assumes them like a scroll rolled up,
The path is fragrant still because they passed here.

  John M. Steadman
  20th Century

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