Noi6 means "the 6 of us" in Romanian.

We are five, you are the sixth one.

We thank you for joining us in our trip around the world...

Monday, July 9, 2018

Nara's Deer

October 28, 2015

We decide to visit Nara, again, because Ioan did not feed the deer four years ago. Good enough reason? Oh, yeah.

After a perfect transit between several trains, we arrive in Nara. Walking toward the Today-ji temple we discover that there is a special exhibition with things that were deposited 1300 years ago that belonged to an emperor. Spontaneously we decide to see it, despite a triple folded on itself line.

 It takes so little to make an event of proportion if the objects are beautiful: a white bronze mirror, its back covered with mother of pearl and precious stones, a silver spoon and its box, a lute and so forth. There were so many people, all waiting patiently to have their turn in viewing the objects. A man had extensive handwritten notes that he would consult from time to time, and note some more. 

We were not allowed to take pictures, so we took picks of theirs: "the lute"

Copper or silver needles were a votive offering, to improve one’s craftsmanship, flutes made of stone to look exactly like the normal ones, from bamboo, a measuring stick beautifully decorated with flowers, birds and celestial figures, a ball of string…in a way they were everyday objects, some could say not fit for an exhibition, but they talked so much about those who brought them and those who made them, about their love for a well done job. After seeing twenty objects in about an hour, we could relax with tea, but we chose something else.

There are two gardens in the vicinity of the temple, each with a partial view of it. One is free for the foreigners, Yoshikien, the other one, Isuien, asks 1100 yen per person (this one has also a museum, but we forgot to visit it). I could not differentiate between the two of them. They both had a moss garden, 

a tea house, 

a pond, and so forth. 

We enjoy the space and quietness. We could stay more, but it is almost the end of the day and we want to visit the Today-ji temple.

We have left it for the end of the day especially, to skip the crowds. We have more room to take pictures, read the labels, we don’t have to go with the flow. We know this is the largest wooden structure, but we find out that what we see was reconstructed in 1700’s only two-thirds of the original.

This is how the original structure looked, flanked by two seven stories pagodas (not existing anymore)

Behind and on the left of the Buddha there is another statue, and on its left there is a metal column, on which sits a butterfly.
A "little" butterfly, bigger tha a human head.

A character that fits for the humankind salvation.

Detail of the wood joint of the above statue

It was build to contain the Vairocana Buddha (“Buddha that shines throughout the world like the sun” or the embodiment of the buddhist concept of “Emptiness”; the massive size and brilliance of the statue serve as a reminder that all conditioned existence is empty and without a permanent identity).

The central candles are taller than a man.

Build around 750 AD from cast bronze that was plated with gold, Daibutsu (another name, it means Great Buddha) is seated on a pedestal covered with 6 ft. lotus petals identically engraved with the Lotus-Matrix World-System.

Here are visible the lotus petals, behind the red banister, under his right hand and left knee.

The top half has the Tathāgata (Buddha, the one who is beyond all transitory phenomena) expounding the Dharma (for Buddhism, the cosmic law and order), flanked on each side by eleven Bodhisattvas (a term that defines those who moved by compassion want and work toward Buddhahood for the benefit of all sentient being). In the lower half there are twenty-six lines with Buddha images and palaces and under them seven lotus petals, one turned upward, containing a Sakyamuni triad (Buddha and his agents in this world, Manju-wisdom and Fugen-practice). In short, this is the pictorial representation of the religious world viewed by the man Sidharta Gautama Buddha when, after six years of austerities, he became a Buddha of unbounded expanse.

And of course Ioan wants to be enlighten, again, and that means he wants to go through a space that is said to be as big as Daibutsu’s nostril. And because Mihai was not ready to take his picture, Ioan goes twice (does it mean he is twice or exponentially enlightened?)

Finally it is deer time! There are a thousand and some deer around Nara, considered to be messengers of the gods (like the fox, Inari). They are well behaved, no kicking and bucking, strolling gently between people and approaching only those with crackers. These are especially made for them, containing only healthy stuff for the respectable deer that they are. Ioan is so kind and shares his crackers with us.

We say good bye and return home. Are you ready to say good bye?

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