Musashi Mix Inq

Kinkakujikan

Posted on September 24, 2010

Kinkakujikan, ©MMX

In the words of Rinzairoku, “When you meet the Buddha, kill the Buddha.”

In the face of total annihilation, we fall in love with the beauty of our floating world.

There is a pervasive Japanese aesthetic know as mono no aware; the sadness of things. Beauty is found in its inevitable destruction. The sakura must fall. And yet after all of the bombings, Kyoto remained intact. The city with Japan’s most precious treasures was denied its rightful end.

On July 2, 1950, at 2:30 am, the Kinkajuji (temple of the golden pavillion) was burned down by a monk named Hayashi Yoken. The original looked very different than the one visitors see today:

original Kinkakuji, 1885

Kinkakuji after the fire, 1950

But like the phoenix on its roof, the pavillion was reborn and gilded entirely in gold:

Kinkakuji, 2005

And so the temple shall remain, its bright and shining edifice a hollow and ritualized worship of a Japan that never was. There is no dignity in forever. Beauty is found in the passing.

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