Sogenji monastery

Tsukimi - Moon viewing - 中秋の明月

Today is Chushu no Meigetsu - the beautiful full moon in the early autumn. It is said that this moon is brighter and bigger than any other full moon, because with the change in season, the air becomes clearer and the moon seems even closer. When we think of a representative seasonal word of this time, there is nothing beyond Tsuki (the moon). Traditionally in many Asian countries this night is celebrated with the moon viewing ceremonies. On a small altar under the full bright moon, dango (rice flower dumplings), the flower of Hagi (bush clover) and Pampas grass are offered. Family members get together, admire the brilliant full moon, celebrate the harvest, express their appreciation for nature's abundance and share dangos. Eating dumplings - made from rice pounded into paste and shaped into spheres like the moon - made people feel like they were sharing a meal with the lunar god. Autumn is the season in which we are lost in deep reflection, as shown in the Japanese word Shushi (the deep grief of autumn). Also the beginning of the intense training period leading up to Rohatsu Sesshin. Traditionally in Zen monsteries a Dharani (protective prayer) is read 108 times: 

Kannongyō On !! Sen Dari Ya ! Sowaka !!!

Here the Hagi flowers growing in the garden in front of the Roshi´s room in Sogenji.

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