Afternoon sun embraces the winter woods

Kanrin sekiyo o obiru
Afternoon sun embraces the winter woods 

In Japan in the early spring, the dogwoods and wild magnolias bloom white on the mountain sides. Eventually the mountains are ablaze with purple azaleas and pale pink cherry blossoms. As the flowers begin to fall, the young leaves turn a deeper green and wisteria flowers drape from the highest branches. As the plums and the peaches and the cherries bloom, the meadowlark raises its voice. Then, in the strong sunlight of early summer, the cicadas, holding precious their brief lifespan, sing their dream. In the heat of summer the west wind blows, and then the colors of nature begin to tint into a gorgeous brocade. The ever-changing mountain scenery brings the bright mountains of the moonlit night, the fresh mountains of dawn, the severe mountains of the windblown rain, but none match the deep essence of the winter woods, pure with naked branches. The pale light that crosses the forest bathes the far mountains in its dimness. The poet Fujiwara Teika wrote: "Wherever one looks there are no more colored maple leaves or flowers, only the small hut in the autumn twilight." This is the serene Mind of nirvana. Here desires and extraneous thinking have been cut away completely. When we actually taste this state of mind, for the first time we know from our own experience that "this very place is the land of lotuses and this very body is the body of the Buddha." 

From "The Moon by the Window"
Shodo Harada Rosh

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