A Zen sand-garden—arranged in squares, some raked—transversed by light and shadows.
©F.L. Blumberg 2024

4:00 p.m., Ruriko-in

F.L. Blumberg

In this spare half-room, where one cannot stay long, the old monk wears a navy robe whose gold collar has begun to fade. He sits on a wooden chair and chants a sutra in a warm buzzy voice. Some words end in a whimper. Around the right corner is the moss garden, where couples in their twenties eagerly queue to take selfies. Around the left is the gift shop and exit. Every few lines, he bows his head, picks up a mallet, and taps the singing bowl. For what does he pray?

A vibrant moss garden: grey rocks in the right foreground; verdant moss on the ground; and trees with bright yellow and pinkish-red leaves in the background.
©F.L. Blumberg 2024