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Thursday, October 13, 2011

Genkoan Temple Kyoto

Genkoan Temple源光庵

Kyoto's Genkoan Temple is famous for several reasons.

Founded in 1346, the temple is well known, among other reasons, for its two windows that look out from its main hall onto a Japanese garden.

One of the windows is perfectly round, and is known as the Window of Enlightenment or Realization (Satori no Mado). The other, adjacent window (pictured here) is imperfect and called the Window of Uncertainty (Mayoi no Mado).

The former represents Zen, a calm state of mind. The latter represents suffering, the human condition.

In addition to the gardens, Genkoan is also justly famous for its bloody ceilings. The ceilings in the main hall were built using blood-soaked lumber.

The wood came from Fushimi Momoyama Castle, which following a siege some twenty years earlier was dismantled in the 1620s.

In September, 1600, surrounded by an invading army numbering 40,000, some of the 2,000 or so soldiers within the castle chose to commit ritual suicide - thus soaking the floorboards.

In the photo below, a four hundred year old footprint in blood can be seen.


Genkoan is north of Bukkyo University on Senbon Dori.

Tel: 075 492 1858

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