Explore Kiyomizu Temple’s Natural Spirit

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Some of the best places for spiritual contemplation are known for their beautiful natural surroundings. They are an oasis from the demands of the world, where you can sit and reflect in the tranquility.

Kiyomizu Temple, an acclaimed Japanese Buddhist temple in Kyoto, Japan, is a prime example of the melding between spirituality and nature. Also known as Pure Water Temple, it is 14,000 square feet and serves as a place of contemplation, a tourist attraction, a UNESCO World Heritage site, and a national treasure.

A Spiritual Escape Preserved Among the Trees

This amazing structure has a history of over 1000 years. The temple was founded in 778 and went through reconstruction in the 17th century. And the ancient architecture still stands today, including a three-storied pagoda, terraces, several halls, and gardens. Trees, plants, and flowers make this religious site a beautiful place to visit and get away from the hustle of everyday life.

Kiyomizu Temple also sits on a mountain by the Otowa waterfall, which many believe has healing properties. In a guidebook on Kyoto, Judith Clancy describes the Temple:

“Just beyond the three restaurants is Otowa no Taki, the ‘Sound of Feathers Waterfall’, from which the water is channeled into three spouts that pour down from above. Long handled dippers are available for visitors to sample the clear, delicious water that inspired Echin to build his hermitage here, and which is the course of the temple’s popular name, which means ‘Temple of Pure Water.”

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(Image note and source: Kiyomizu Temple, Shubert Ciencia on Flickr.)

An Experience to Nurture the Soul

Kiyomizu is part of the Hosso sect of Buddhism, a relatively small sect with origins in Japan dating to 650s. It teaches “consciousness only” — that all phenomena are phenomena of the mind.

Because of this it is fitting that Kiyomizu is surrounded by such beautiful natural surroundings. According to Buddha, it is easier for humans to attain detachment from expectations and desires in nature. It may be easier to understand concepts of conciousness in a place where the phenomena are simpler and peaceful.

If you are in Kyoto, take a trip to visit the Temple and walk beneath the cherry blossoms and maple trees. This remarkable place serves as a revered site to nurture the soul, say prayers around alters and shrines, meditate, and cultivate some inner peace.

(Image notes and source: temple gate, Everjean on Flickr.)

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About the Author

Gina Merlino is a freelance writer who cares about environmental issues. She has a Bachelor's in Philosophy, a Master's in Engaged Humanities, and is an avid reader of the news. You can find me on Twitter.