Yogen-ji Temple of the Hongan-ji school of Jodo Shinshu (True Pure Land) sect of Buddhism in Kaizuka, Osaka is one of five temples belonging to Gansen-ji Temple, the central temple in the Kaizuka Jinai-machi area. This garden was designed and constructed in 2017-18.
In this garden, we expressed in dry landscape form the worldview in the story “Nigabyakudo” (The Two Rivers and the White Path) that Shan-tao—a Chinese Buddhist monk who influenced Jodo Shinshu founder Shinran—spoke of in his famous work “Commentary on the Meditation Sutra.” The garden’s name Kenkan-tei (literally “Sent-Summoned Garden”) is a reference to how the believer in this tale is both sent by the Gautama Buddha and summoned by the Amida Buddha along a narrow white path that leads between two perilous rivers toward the Pure Land.
By likening its garden stones and other stone materials to the six methods in this story of crossing to the opposite shore (selflessness, self-reproach, perseverance through adversity, constant effort, self-awareness, and wisdom), this landscape features a view from the temple’s hiroma (large hall) space where the two rivers symbolizing anger, hatred, and greed and the white path symbolizing the spirit of wishing for rebirth in the Pure Land can be seen. The garden stones include Kibune stones, Kumogahata stones, Kurama stones, Benikamo stones, Maguro stones and Itokake stones, all of which belong to the Seven Famous Stones of Kyoto’s Kamo region. The newly planted maples allow the contrast between green and red to be seen in the changing color of the leaves in autumn.
Additionally, the temple stone and bamboo barriers depict the spiritual boundaries of the teahouse Saiko-an’s outer and inner tea gardens. This is a strolling pond-style garden designed so that each one of its spaces can be perceived sensually.
Location: Kaizuka, Osaka
Accessibility: Closed to the public
Garden construction period: 2017-18
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