Origine of stone lantern.

yama(7b Ga)December 18, 2004

Origine of stone lantern.

It is base on Buddhism sutras. plain and simple. Some of you may have question " how about shinto shrine's stone lanters ? " The oldest stone lantern of shinto shrine did not come untill 1300's . first stone lantern dicovered is estimated in early 600's at the oldest temple of Japan.

one of my stone lantern book "Nihon no Ishi toro' by Mr Kenshiro Fukuchi, list name of sutra indicate stone lantern or any light to dedicate to Buddha. Korean stone lantern book I have also indicate name of sutras. ( I cannot pronunce the author's name nor write his name properly, so I donot mention the author's name, not becourese don't want to tell about him. I respect him and admior his book. if I miss spelled his name ,it is insult to him ).

While reading /studying sutra, I found another sutras also metioning devoteing light.

this is the list of name of sutra mentioning devoteing light.

1) Kegonkyo/Fugengyogan bon. Toshi innen kyu. Busetus Seto kudoku kyu.Kengu kyo. Zosho kyo/zosho bon. Shakumon gihan. By Korean professor

2) Bosatsu hongyo kyo, Ajaseo juketsu kyo. Seto kudoku kyo, Gyoho sabetsu kyo. Bosatsu hongyo kyo.

By Mr Kenshiro Fukuchi

3) Jizo boastu hongan kyo , Muryo ju kyo. Those two sutras I found my self. probably I can find more as able to read many other sutras.

Oribe toro : Many mail order stone lantern store's article are telling that statue of Oribe toro has hidden Christian stature. If you study and understand life of Furuta Oribe and Japanese history, then you will not beleive such non sence. politic of at the time of Japan , baned christianty which was no other christian history had such harsh way to eradict christianty and it was very successful. Baning Christianity in second order in 1612,Within 30 years 99.9 plus % of christians are gone, 750,000 of Christians. either killed or become Buddhist.

If Oribe had any faith in god, Even after his death,( if he was christian or made piligram statue or designed ) many of of his relateves and his warriers and servants could be killed also. we donot have such record of Oribe in Japanese history.

I have many more to study about stone lanterns my self.

If any one know Chinese book store in USA and know where about Chinese stone lantern history or books, Please inform me.

Mike Yamakami

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Hi Mike,
You have been busy again.
Happy New Year George.

Here is a link that might be useful: George's Japanese Garden

    Bookmark   December 19, 2004 at 4:26PM
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It is difficult to know exactly what your point is Mike, are you saying that any sutra's reference to 'light' is a reference to a stone lantern? Or that all stone lanterns have a religious connotation? Or...?

    Bookmark   December 19, 2004 at 5:47PM
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yama(7b Ga)

Hi Inky
If you ( or any one else ) look stone lanterrn as just garden ornament without knowing it's history or origine of stone lanern. I do not have any problem. If you use stone lantern in your garden design as professional landscaper and , asked by your coustomer "what is stone lantern " Is it have any meaning ? where is it originated ?
Then you should able to answer instead of saying "I don't know "
as christian, devoting light does not mean to much. In bible,
devoting light and merit of devoting light are not said in bible. your thinking is based on christiany and 21 century back ground.
light is not means as only stone lantern. In sanctuary of the temple, home altar , light can be inside of buliding or out side of the builing.( candle or burning oil). incence , light, reading sutra are important part of buddhist life and buddism it self.

Or that all stone lanterns have a religious connotation? Or...?
I cannot answer stone lanterns at shinto shrine. I do not practice and don't know much about Shinto.

I also can not answer for peoples who do not beleive Buddhism and have stone lantern as ornament.
Only I can say is that devoting light is one of importance of Buddisim practice. How important? devoting own life for other life, other peopls is much more important than keep light on. I am only provideing some informations which some of you might have intrest.

Believe it or not is up to you . perhaps if this posting gave you doubt , and you begin start your own reserch then I am happy. You should not believe everything on paper until you confirm your self. This is the how I found this information.
Since the book I have mentioned sutras in that book, I had to confirmed it's information with my eye. now I can tell the book provided me correct informations and I believe it.


    Bookmark   December 19, 2004 at 11:24PM
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I was not questioning your religious beliefs Mike anymore than I was explaining mine, all I am trying to do is understand what it is you are saying when you state "Origine of stone lantern.
It is base on Buddhism sutras. plain and simple," as if it was a fact.
I have no problem with the theory that a stone lantern, as it appears in a Japanese Buddhist temple, is a receptacle for a lamp and is symbolic of the light mentioned in the sutras, or that it was probably a version of a stupa. Mostly though, we talk here about a lanterns purpose in a garden and the origin of that use is different from its use in a temple, although materially it is the same object.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2004 at 12:34PM
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yama(7b Ga)

Hi Inky
yes. I think stone lantern design has may have been came from stupa /Gorinto. In fact some of old Korean stone lanterns are just like stupa/ gorinto.
Gorinto is symbolize earth, water,fire(sun) wind( air) and Ku /universe. as you mentioned , stone lanern took many years to developed from stupa. Many Japanese gardens out side of Temple use stone lanerns. It is nice to know history of stone lanerns. use as garden ornament and not see stone lantern as relegious meaning is perfectly ok with me.

Edzard :
I finaly found meaning of "Kozama" for sure. I am now makeing note about it. It took me for long time, very long time , very, very long time ;););).

Visiting Korean Temple paid off. now I found two other Korean temples in Atlanta. I am hopeing that those two Korean temples have nice liburary as well as the temple I visit. I found more Chinese garden paintings yesturday in commentary of the sutra. Paintings are black /white .
I have to look the paintings more carefully next week.if I find some thing new I let's you to know...........Yama

    Bookmark   December 20, 2004 at 4:40PM
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Mike: you should have a look at what a stupa is and this may help with your enquiry as to what a stone lantern as its symbol is.

    Bookmark   December 20, 2004 at 6:56PM
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yama(7b Ga)

Hi Inky
Thank you for being patient.
Stupa is big doom like building which keeps Sakiya muni's ash Ash was devided into 8 and placed in stupas. later hundred of stupas were build in many Asian countries. Korean Buddism has "Futo" which we do not have.

Futo is between stone lantern and stupa. it is like miniture stupa.
I cannot read Korean book of Futo I have . Between Korean letters, I see Chinese Characters read as Foto( read Chinses character way we read ) probably you do not have any information about it. I never saw my self in my Japanese garden books or Japanese Buddism related books untill I start attending Korean temple and find the book.

without explaned Korean Futo to you , you are only thinking of typical shape of Stupa. It is hard to relate between stone lantern and stupa if you do not see "Futo"
since I can not read Korean , only understanding kanjis/chinese characters between Korean letters. ( sutpa is "Busharito " in Japanese. Japanese Gorinto is simplified form of "Futo" I think ). what you know about stupa and what I know about stupa may be little bit different way.
stupa, Futo,stone lantern, statue of buddha, zen, zem masters, Muso kokusi, Jodo shu monks, karesansii, sutras are like river . all flow to ocean of Buddha/Sakiya muni. ........... yama ( Mike )

    Bookmark   December 20, 2004 at 10:27PM
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yama(7b Ga)

Hi all and Inky
If I write all over about stone lantern,what you like to know about stone lantern ?
Is my writeing clear to you ? ( sadly I know answer )
Can you find good book(s) of Stone lantern ? or internet information ?
what is your sugestion ?

Inky , please write a little bit more about your question. it may help me to respond to your question better.......... yama

    Bookmark   December 21, 2004 at 12:28AM
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yama(7b Ga)

Hi all .
about top of this posting. "light/ stone lantern "
some you may not like what I am going to write now. You may think " Is this relate to Japanese garedn ? " In the way some how related but you may not agree. I will write anyway for those who may think it is usefull or related to Japanese Garden.

Last prcept of Budda ;
Underneath the sala trees at kusinagara, in his last word to his disciples, the Buddha said:
Make of your self a light. Relay upon your self: do not depend upon anyone else. Make my teachings to your light. Rely upon them; do not depend upon any other teaching.
Consider your body; think of purity; knowing that both its pain and its delight are alike couses of suffering, how can you indulge in its desires? Consider your soul;

Many sutra I have mentioned above sutras said "light" I think this is reason(s) light is important for Buddhist/ Buddhism.

also many sutras are begin with " Thou have I heard "
Unlike bible , It is matter how you heard , not how you are told or god said or written on bible. You are the center of precept. How I undersand, How I heard .... giveing me room to think myself.

I like it . how I heard, how I understand is important as how I was tought. no one shave precept into my ear or into my heart.
In Koan of zen, If you see Buddha , kill buddha, if you see your master, kill master, if you see parents, kill parents. the Word of "kyoge Betsu den" of Rinzai sec of Zen.
meaning is ; Do not depend on the precept of others, sutra(s)etc.
you have to find the answer your self. This above word lead me to many teach of Koan.
Dog has Buddha's character ? Cat has Buddha's chracter ? while young monks are debating about it , the master cut cat in half and ended bebate. Shayki muni told that everything has Buddha's chracter in his last sutra. after Shaki muni told every thing has Budbha's character , why they had to debtae either cat has Buddha's chracter or not. instead explaing to those debateing monks, master took action, simple, straith action gave answer to student monks.......

zen put you on edge of clife of grand canyon, and demand answer instantly, answer of practical usefull. no one give you hand but yourself, if you stand on edge of clif too long you may fall off. washing dish, sweeping floor also is the Zen.
maditation is also zen.

This is how I understand Buddhism. the way I understading may be wrong.
you have to find your own answer.

Sala trees = shyala in Japanese gardening. Stewartia monadelpha one of fovorate and used offten in Japanese garden. sla tree in chinese sutras and in Japanese landscaeing is same kanji character. now you know why it is used in Japanese garedns often.

Back to stone lantern .......... I am way off of light of stone lanter topic........... I need a flash light to find way back to my home. Do you have one ? ................yama

    Bookmark   December 21, 2004 at 6:40PM
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As I said I was not asking you to justify your belief Mike only to explain how 'light' becomes 'Japanese stone lantern' and this is not clear.

    Bookmark   December 21, 2004 at 8:15PM
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edzard(3b Canada)

if I may...
Mike wrote, "Make of your 'self' a light. Relay upon your 'self': do not depend upon anyone else. Make my teachings (to) your light."

= make a light that shows teaching = lantern (light of self).

Lanterns represent man's presence in the garden, first by being made or gathered, erected (pattern) by man, and that the remonstration from Buddha, from beneath the Stewartia tree is to be a 'light' of the self. The stupa then as Buddha's light, of his 'self', of the ashes, the bone of a Buddha representative.

In making a lantern, the designers, gardeners, teamen, etc. made of themselves 'the light of the self' that guides the (interpretation) way of seeing the teaching of the garden. Lantern balanced, size, motif, embellishment, etc., 'to ones taste', of one self. (Oribe's taste, = Oribe gonomi, Rikyu gonomi, Shoka'do', shoka's way (intp.)

short form, Buddha instructed to make a light, this is manifested in the lantern.
corrections Mike?

    Bookmark   December 22, 2004 at 12:59AM
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Gorfram(7b W Oregon)

I think that there is also an important distinction here between the Buddhist origin of lanterns in Buddhist temples (where we could reasonably expect them to be based in some part of Buddhism like the sutras), and the subsequent secular use of these same lanterns in gardens.

To understand the lanterns (as much as we can, anyway :), it is good to know how their design and original purpose was based in religion, just as it is important to understand that lanterns as used in J. gardens are not religous symbols in particular.

If you will allow me a parallel with a Western tradition, (what sources I have seen tell me that) the Christmas tree originated as a pagan practice recognizing and celebrating forest spirits. This does not mean that the reason I put up a Christmas tree this year is to propitiate the spirits of the Greenwood :)

- Evelyn

    Bookmark   December 22, 2004 at 2:35AM
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yama(7b Ga)

Dear Inky
I had primitive question myself about stone lantern.
for exsample ,shionto shrine had stone lanetern first or temple originated stone lantern ?
what is purpose ? when, who , how made it ?
while attending church , I can not read suras or spend lot's of time to study buddhism . In stead of spend time for studying sutras , Buddhism , I should study bible.
I felt guilty studying Buddhism. I had to study bible and christianty even my occupation related to Buddhism.

Since I do not attend church no more, I am free to study Buddism.
what you have question is what I had it myself.

writeing in English about it, my brain and hand can not walk same. I think many of other readers may have same question as you have. I am only trying to fill gap between us. we have no evile deed. you are simply asking me something I could not explaine well to you. and I am only trying to fill gap between us. whole purpos of my wrieing is share with you and others what I have learned my self, trying to inform facts as acurate as possible.
I am not resercher nor scholor , I am a gardener, simply trying do my best on each one of job. If my customer ask me what is stone lantern ?, I prepiar to able to answer the questions from A to Z of stone lantern or any other subjects of service I offer .

I just want you know that
am not charenging your question, opinion nor anything else. I am trying to fill your question with best of my knowlege. that all...................yama

    Bookmark   December 22, 2004 at 12:06PM
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edzard(3b Canada)

I'm not certain that the distinction needs to be made. Rikyu wasn't a priest, monk, just a teaman. Rikyu's symbol, nothing to do with Buddha, excepting perhaps his reference to Buddha, as 'how he refers to...'.
I would venture that the basis of interpreting your taste, way, self as a light is ingrained, far beyond Buddhism, more a reaction at a sub-conscious level, given voice in the word from Buddha.
Light exists in other cultures, in the same way, much as the Irminsol is the Christmas tree, also pan-cultural, the character for tree, as the New Years pine branch...

why would you draw a distinction? how?

    Bookmark   December 22, 2004 at 12:07PM
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Gorfram(7b W Oregon)


Certainly festivals of light, religious interpretaions of light, and winter celebrations involving evergreens are pan-cultural, occurring seemingly everywhere that winters are dark, sere, and cold.

Why would I draw a distinction between the religious origin of Japanese stone lanterns and their current secular use?

- to explain the difference between using a lantern in one's garden and using an object currently regarded as religious symbol, such as a Buddha statue and a Torii gate (or a Celtic cross).

- to understand the significance of Buddhist symbolism (lotus blossoms, etc.) used in the lanterns, while understanding why there should be no religious conflict with a devout Christian, Muslim, or other non-Buddhist placing one in his or her garden.

- to accord appropriate respect to the aspects of Buddhism represented in the lantern, without stumbling down the conceptual short-cut of thinking them "exotic" or "quaint."

How to do so is tricker, as I think one must rely on someone of that religion and/or culture to say what the signifance of a given artifact is.

To pick on Christmas again, you and I can easily sort most of the symbols out. A creche is religious, mistletoe is not (except to Druids :). A snowman is not religious, an angel is.

Some things are trickier: a trumpet is not religious, unless there's an angel holding it. Similarly, a stone lantern on a temple grounds being lit by a priest in the course of a ceremony probably has religious significance; a similar stone lantern being installed by you in the backyard of the non-Buddhist Mrs. Pretentia Gotbux probably does not.

:) Evelyn

    Bookmark   December 22, 2004 at 2:58PM
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Thank you Ev, it was something like that I was driving at, you used a better map.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2004 at 3:47PM
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yama(7b Ga)

, Hi Edzard and Evelyn .
"Rikiu was not monk" It is true. he did not ordained, but he was Buddist. in his late teen, he met with Murata Juko who is zen monk and Rikyu did "sanzen" prcticed zen, learned zen from Murata Juko. untill his death he was having "tea party" with many monks. at the end of his life Kokei Osho was his zen master. Rikyu ( 1522~1591 ) Rikyu's second wife and doughtier may have been Christian. Oda Nobunaga ( 1534~1582) allowed Christianity in Japan.

Kobori Enshu designed water basin known as "Zenigata" Zeni = coin. gata = form. shape " Ware tada taru o shiru : I onll know enoght . I found similer word in sutras many times. many things in Japanese garden have relation to Buddhism just like christianty in Erorope and North, central, and south America. you don't think of it or don't see it, but it is there. ............. mike

    Bookmark   December 22, 2004 at 4:20PM
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edzard(3b Canada)

-presumably where I am getting lost is that there are Buddhist lanterns and then there are the others that are simply the taste of a designer, teaman, & so on..
Shoka was a designer among other things, Shoka-do = Pine Blossom lantern,
Mizubotaru = firefly lantern, then Rikyu's taste, Oribe's taste (gonomi)...
Various lanterns such as the Kasuga are overlaid with the Kasuga cult/sect, with Buddhism overlaid. These one should be considerate of.
The previous, some 1000 + of them are non-religious...
where is the difficulty I ask myself. Perhaps in a lack of lantern information.

I do not install lanterns where the client does not understand the ramifications... it may lead to later discomfort. Much to some clients annoyance.

:), mistletoe is also religiously used by the Deutsche Allegemeinschaft..., Norse etal as Baldur the Goods' nemisis thru Loki's mischief. ...--just being a pain... :).

    Bookmark   December 22, 2004 at 4:24PM
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edzard(3b Canada)

hmmm, thanks for the reminder, I was thinking of the two types of Rikyu lanterns, one the Buddhist overlay, the other his 'relaxed' taste. For me, two different design states.

    Bookmark   December 22, 2004 at 4:28PM
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This is my theory: calling the object that was originally the receptacle for votive (offering) light, a 'lantern' is inaccurate. It is only when this same object is used to give light that it could properly be called a lantern. When it is used in a garden for neither offering nor light it is an ornament.
As the attachment to the self is one of the main problems from a buddhist point of view it seems unlikely that one would carve a lantern so that the light of self could shine.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2004 at 10:24AM
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yama(7b Ga)

Hi Inky
words in sutra " Light "is plain and simple. many times in sutras mentioning merit of offreing "light" none of sutra mentioning size, where, sorce of light ,how many nor stone lantern.

sourse of light have to come from mainly plant oil, can not use annimal fat. If temple need a light out door, how light can keep burning ? . lantern made out paper and wood may not last. rain, wind may knock then out, sutra is not saying anything about material like stone lantern, wood lanern, cast
iron lantern nor candle holder of indoor use . simply saying "light" , offering light

also sutra mentioning merit of building temple, makeing statue of buddha, offering light , offer to monk/sanga.
Offering to monk(s), sutras do not say which monk, mahiyana monk, theravada ( smale vihecle ) old monk. young monk nor nun . no mater of what color of robe of monk,age of monk, nationalty of monk. If I see 15 years old monk, then I bow to the monk. not bowing to 15 years old boy. I bow to the monk.If I have extra change, I will offer some thing I have or I can.
Makeing statue of buddha, sutras is not saying what material have to be used. if you have ice then make statue of budda with ice, it is good enought for eye of Buddha, since I cannot use ice,I can use clay soil to make statue of buddha. it is not matter how long it is last, or how good skillfuly made what matreial used.
I don't have to skill to make art peice of statue.
If small chidren draw buddha on ground with stick, it is good enough for eye of Buddha. I think light is same.

you keep stone lertan and light separately.

stone lantern is part of light.candle holder is part of light.
I keep wax of candle, oil , stone lantern,hanging iron lantern, candle holder etc as unit of one " light "

I have to think the way buddhist think :) :) :)

It is good discussion,in civilized manner . I appreciate all responds and cilent readers......... yama/ mike

Edzard, Herb
you will recieve copy of buddhas statue photos which look like piligram within next few day.

    Bookmark   December 23, 2004 at 3:53PM
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Are we not debating two origins here? The origin of the lantern on temple grounds and those found in secular garden? My understanding was that temple garden builders had lanterns carved and placed on the temple grounds to help heighten emotions during night time rituals. Sadly as often occurred in Japans past war would break out and the temples destroyed.
While 'recycling' material from the temples people realized that the old stone lanterns made great compliments to their secular gardens without the burden of religious overtones. Thus the second origin of the lantern.
So, both sides of the camp can lay rest. The lantern when used on temple grounds most surely had religious connotations in their design and use, yet the lantern in secular gardens originated out of thoughtful resourcefulness.

Ideas? Comment?


    Bookmark   December 23, 2004 at 9:33PM
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yama(7b Ga)

Merry Chrismas ! to all
To keep happyness in home is more important than reading J garden forum :):) :)......... spent time with your family.
Happy Holiday /Holy days. ............... yama

    Bookmark   December 24, 2004 at 9:48AM
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Gorfram(7b W Oregon)

Thanks, Yama-san!

I am visiting my mother for Christmas, and I am sure she will appreciate your advice!
(and my taking it :)

- Evelyn

(PS to Edzard: Sorry, I haven't got my Druids completely sorted out from my Norse and Germanic pre-Christians yet. Makes for quite a bit of chaos in the Mead Hall sometimes. :)

    Bookmark   December 24, 2004 at 4:58PM
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Jando_1(Zone 5 IL)

No matter how the lantern is used it's function seems to be the same. A guiding light.

Thanks for the interesting and stimulating post.


Cheers Jando

And Mike, I'd love some seeds, thanks.

    Bookmark   December 30, 2004 at 11:38AM
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Cady(6b/Sunset34 MA)

Hi June,
Mike just said he'll send seeds your way as soon as he gets back to A'lanta.

    Bookmark   December 31, 2004 at 7:46PM
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Cady(6b/Sunset34 MA)

[This post is from Mike/Yama, using Cady's GardenWeb account!]

Hi all,
I have learned from Jello instructions.
I poured dry Jello mix into boiling water on stove and stirred mix in boiling water. I waited for a few hours to see the result. The Jello was still soft. It never got firm. Then, I had to read the instructions again. Instead of pouring Jello mix into boiling water, I had poured boiling water into a container and mixed the Jello, then let it cool off. Never cook Jello mix in boiling water.

I am making the same mistake by reading your postings carelessly. I wrote back without fully understanding the questions. While I am writing, 70% of my thinking goes to spelling and English grammar. As my English writing skills improve, I can think of the questions themselves rather than having to think about spelling and English grammar. ^-^

P.S. Cady helped with the spelling and grammar here - and I am using her GardenWeb account.

    Bookmark   January 1, 2005 at 7:00PM
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kobold(Vancouver BC)

Hi Cady, Mike!

Looks like you two are good team, keep it up!! Happy New Year!


    Bookmark   January 1, 2005 at 11:28PM
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Jando_1(Zone 5 IL)

Thanks for the reply Cady, and Mike thanks for the seeds you are going to send. :)

Cheers Jando

    Bookmark   January 2, 2005 at 7:52AM
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Hi, Mike

My mother used to give us hot jello as a drink in the winter. It can be used your "mistaken" way - as a drink - albiet a sweet one. So by reversing the process you can have a different and valid libation.

Think wassail :-)


    Bookmark   January 3, 2005 at 12:25PM
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yama(7b Ga)

Hi Paul.
I am going to make hot jello. Thank you . I let's you know about hot jello drink later.

Hi Edzard ;
Responding to your Dec- 22 -04 posting regarding Rikyo coment.
Rikyu wasn't a priest, monk, just a teaman. Rikyu's symbol, nothing to do with Buddha, excepting perhaps his reference to Buddha, as 'how he refers to...'.

Life of Rikyu had always deep relation to Buddhism. when he had intrest in tea ceremony in his teen age, where he could learn it ? It was Rinzai sect of temple and zen monks.
At the time of his death, He deeply associated with the temple/ Daitokuji temple and Zen monk "Kokei osho".
Rikyu was not monk but many of thinking and writeing are reflectiing" Hyakujo Seiki" Hyakujo is Chinese Zen monk who wrote rules which zen monks should follow.

Thinking my self about Buddhism, how much infulenced to my life after visiting The temples regularly and read sutra regularly. My thinking and life cannot separate from Buddhism. I am not monk and cannot say "I am buddhist" my thinking and action are not always following precept of the Buddha some time. I only studying Buddhism for two ~ three years. Rikyu had relationship with temples and buddhism all his life.
If you can think of his name of Rikyu, two kanjis Ri and kyu , you also will find something to do with Zen thinking perhaps His "Sen" name might have something to do with Jodo shu/ pur land buddhism.
Rikyu and his life, was not just "Tea man"..... Being "tea man" He had to be Buddhist, whole societty of Japan was based on Buddhism at the time.. Remember , even Confusciasum was and is teaching at temples.

The influence of christianity to The temple of Japanese,Korean , Chinese are live and well.

worshiping Buddda at temple , we visit temple every Sunday. why sunday ?
you don't think of christianty influence to the Buddhist temples. But there were no monday and sunday words in Buddhist sutras. you only find word of sunday in Bible. Buddhist who never attended Church of Christ or do not read bible takeing day off sunday and visiting Buddhist temple on sunday.

Many of things about Japanese cultures,Japannese gardening, most of you are judging/thinking from view of christianty. Please think about Buddhsits who are visiting to temples on every sunday.
Rikyu was associateind with monks and temples most of his life.

"Furuikeya Kawazu tobicomu mizu no oto." old pond , sound of water of frog jump into water... This haiku was not mean to be for poem. It was zen mondo between Basho and His zen master " Bucho osho"
If you have chance, try to read " Zen and Japannese cultuter" by Daisezu Suzuki( Daisetus Suzuki ) It will help you to understand Japanese garden indirectly.

" Namboroku" tea book which was written by Rikyu's deciple of Nambo Sokei( he was monk , by the way), you will know Rikyu and tea is not just way of
drinking tea nor tea man................mike

    Bookmark   January 5, 2005 at 10:35AM
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edzard(3b Canada)

in translating literally, reading to reply to my post only, you missed the point of the greater whole. And I gladly accept and appreciate the additional education.

I can not think of any Japanese person who is not influenced by Shinto or Buddhism, excepting perhaps Christian Sansei, even then, memory is always 3 generations, which carries the remnants of Japanese culture... I doubt it is possible to separate a Japanese person and Shinto or Buddhism, perhaps in the next 50 years it may be possible, if they grow up as an orphan in a foreign country and never learn that they are of Japanese descent, ie: living without mirrors.
Rikyu was a Buddhist, agreed, that was hardly the point.
Of Rikyu's 2 common lanterns, one is Buddhist, the other is termed, "Rikyu gonomi", check your Saito book..
now explain gonomi.
And being a Japanese word, of course it carries Shinto and or Buddhism within it.
I'm was trying to illustrate that one is more 'taste' than religion, in relation to Mizubotaro or Misaki or other lanterns that are not as obviously "Buddhist', whereas Rikyu's other lantern is more Buddhist than 'taste'.

60/40 & 40/60
so desu neh

    Bookmark   January 5, 2005 at 12:54PM
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Yama-san, I was taught that Oribe toro was the first lantern created for en use, not an adapted temple lantern. This may have been a conveyance of a legend, I do not know. I have seen "pre-Christian" Oribe toro with the Buda. I have limited study of Lord Oribe, but I would like your opinion of this idea:

You point out that the politic of that time banned Christianity. So desu. I was told that, because Oribe-sanÂs relatives, servants, and followers could be killed, the Christian Oribe-toro's "Virgin Mary" base carving was hidden below soil, plants or moss, but could still be known by those believers. (Sounds dangerous to me!)

In 'lantern yards' where there are hundreds of stones, I have seen both versions of Oribe-toro.  I have seen several that could be either a version of Buda, Virgin Mary, or a Virgin/Buda compromise. I do not know the answer, but I definitely see this difference in some Oribe-toro. Mike-san, dozo...

    Bookmark   January 5, 2005 at 7:36PM
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yama(7b Ga)

Hi Don
I have qestions for you ^-^.
1) Who told you about Oribe toro ?
2) what is pre chrstian Oribe toro ?

There were three ruler of Japan at the time involved Christiany deferrently. Nobunaga Oda , Hideyoushi Toyotomi and Ieyasu Tokugawa. Oribe Furuta serveved two shogun and both Shogun baned Christianty.
you have to understand history of Japan at Sengoku era/War era. mid 1500's to mid 1600's .

1543 portiguse's machchnt ship was wrecked on the way to china and drifted island of southern part of Japan "Tanegashima" and sold all guns the ship had. 1445 Portiguse machant ship came to Japan and had the first trade relationship, Spanish missionary came to Japan first time in 1549 Missionary name was Francisco Xavier .

Nobunaga Oda was trying to controle Japan and had very hard time with Ikkoshu/ Jodo shinshu believers and Negoro shu, Nobunaga fought with group of Buddhist and soldger monks. NObunaga barned many temples. He was killed him self at Honnoji temple by his subordinate . In order to controle group of Buddhist/ Jodo shin shu , Nobunaga Oda couraged christianty. after death of Nobunaga Oda, Hideyoshi Toyootomi quickly took power and contenue trying to controle
whole Japan. some of his daimyo become christian, missionary braged about Chsritian soldgers and Daimyo saying all of Christian Dimyo will die for god,not his shogun... probably Japanese rulers learned What spanish and other western country did to other Asian counties.

Hideyoushi baned Christianity but he need to money/profit from trade so He did not controle Christainty harshly.
Ieyasu Tokugawa took power after Hideyoushi's death He need have 100 % royalty from all daimyo . all solder must die for him . not for God... precept of Buddhism,confusios are much suitable for the ruler than Christianty..

At shimabara ( kushu island) had very hard resistance of Christians . at the time population of Christian were
estimated 750,000. (1637)
oribe toro.
I have seen "pre-Christian" Oribe toro with the Buda.......
Furuta Oribe ( 1544~ 1615 ) Spanish missionary Francisco Xavier came to Japan 1549 . Furuta Oribe was only 5 years old when first Christianity came to Japan.
Do you think 5 years old boy can design stone lantern ?
1612 Ieyasu Tokugawa establish ban of Christianity.
first Christian was given chance to convert to be Buddhist.
when he/she refuse to convert to Buddhist, then he/she tied to log and burned alive or speared in public.
after mother and father died , where thir children can go ?
the other family nor friendsay may not want to take children. so children better die with parents....

In Christian history, no other hash persecute recorded like Tokugawa's . Furuta oribe was Daimyo/ warrior of Tokugawa, Ieyasu Tokugawa's tea master and one of seven high decipal of Rikyu.
The personal history of Furuta Oribe and history of Japan cannot suport what you know about Furuta oribe or Oribe gonomi toro has Christian motif.
Hiden christian was very isolated and mostly they survived in Kushu .

No matter of size, shape, matterial,where to use. stone lanterns are came from Buddhism . You can look stone lantren as garden ornament, art piece and don't have to think of Buddhism .but it is nice know where stone lanterns are come from.................
you can ask me more and let's me to know what you have been told or read about Oribe toro. It is intresting subject. I am going to read books about Oribe toro again if I can find something else..........mike

If you know someone who can read Japanese, I am happy to send you some information of Oribe and Oribe stone lantern.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2005 at 11:14AM
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yama(7b Ga)

Hi Edzard

Please don't forget mention "Shokado bento" ^-^.
I first thought I should call and talk with you and not write on garden web above subject. It may sound like charenging your opinion.

Then had second thought. since many of Gw readers trusting your accuracy of the informations, and just like me , some of readers may have been missed point(s) of your writing. ^-^.....
gw reader may have benefit if we exchange opinin on gw j garden forum.
stone lantern of defferent shape, size, material, where to use, Oribe gonomi, Rikyu gonomi, Enshu gonomi , use in Katura Rikyu, shinto shrine. no matter of what call it, how to use it do not change historical facts of Origin of stone lantern........... My brain is not flexible as I thought myself...hehehehe .

MR Saito's book show three set of sanzon/three buddhas.
Shyaka sanzon, Amida sanzon and Dainichi nyorai. It took me for a while to find what Budddas are side of Dainichi nyorai. I am for sure that Mr Saito is not "Danka" of Shingonshu................mike

    Bookmark   January 6, 2005 at 12:47PM
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Mike-san, I am extremely frustrated by my inability to read Japanese. I think I have worn out my free translator friends but will try to find someone if you send the text and source. Thanks. Still, I defer to your knowledge and experience. I am asking questions, just like the others on this forum.

As I said, the Christian Oribe-toro teaching may simply be a legend. But aside from the hidden lantern engravings, some 16th century ceramics credited to Oribe feature a white cross. There is a Japanese art exhibit titled "Turning Point: Oribe and the Arts of Sixteenth-Century Japan " featuring examples. Does anyone have a schedule?

There is a "Christian" Oribe-toro at Shugakuin Country Villa and supposedly one at Katsura Detached Palace, but it was buried to deep to see if it was true. I wrote the words "pre-Christian" in quotes, meaning to indicate this term was "so-called". These lanterns feature seated or praying Buddha motifs. Some of the "Christian" I have seen appear to have a standing Virgin Mary.

Furuta Oribe was only 5 years old when first Portuguese missionaries came to Japan. A grocery store was built in my old neighborhood when I was 5 and is still open. At 48 years old, can I not buy a potato there today? It is possible he was exposed to the teachings and later developed an understanding he was drawn to. He was known to have a great political and cultural influence and certainly interested in creating new experiences and the avenues to get there!

I will continue to track down my introduction to this concept, but perhaps this is not in the spirit of the Japanese Garden forum. If others are not interested our obsession, perhaps we should switch to email??? I may need to start calling you "Sensei".

Mike-san, let me know how to receive the info you have offered to send. Meanwhile, I am thankful to the Portuguese for Tempura!


    Bookmark   January 6, 2005 at 7:48PM
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edzard(3b Canada)

Hi Mike,..
:),... Shoka (do) + bento is a trap... :))) -pine blossom is less of a trap.

The exciting thing about research is that even though history does not change, what we know about that history changes. With more research we are normally more aware of what influenced the history to be written as it was written.

On the other side, I sense that you feel you have provided research, and that I have provided an opinion. In my perspective, I have provided an interpretation that is not accurate, but is hopefully easier to understand for someone who does not live and breathe the subject everyday. (ha! like I know the answer to that one)
This is even less than opinion, since I know better myself, and yet at one time understood less and remember what helped me to understand it better so that I could learn more. And my opinion may be different from what my research has shown. One would need to ask me.

In this sense, we are not comparing research with research or opinion with opinion, but rigid research as compared with a suggested 'way' of understanding a subject. My concern is not so much the accuracy, but rather the understanding of at least a portion of that research. (that will allow more of that research to be understood later)

In turn, rigid research is repeating only what has been written, rather than thinking through why it may have been written this way, or is often the case, that the writing was only what the writer felt it was safe to write, whether from potential loss of life or politic, polite agreement with current thought.
Or comparing this to what would have been written if it was safe to write anything they felt like writing.

long ago I said that Japanese gardening is not a style, but is landscape architecture,... now Marc Keane says that the Japanese garden does not exist... then what does?
Lorraine Kuck wrote that the karesansui is a "Zen" garden,... now we find out that this is not true... a stone garden was a response to the lack of land with flowing water... it is not a Zen garden,... and a Zen garden may have many plants/trees in it.
---New research is always coming out.

Marc Keane proposed that the image of Buddha is taken from an Assyrian King, not an Indian image,... this is his current research. I doubt any books would say that someone took the image of an Assyrian and made it into Buddha... who would admit to that or even write,... "I took the image of that Assyrian King over there to be the Buddha image, because Buddhism needed something mysterious and people liked it".
hmmm, would someone have lost their head over this?
(on the other hand someone did change the Buddhist religion to enable the political / spiritual control of samurai... wonder if they lost their heads...)

(black & white = ink on paper) rigid research is also a pitfall as is a broad 'concept' statement such as I often write to enable people to understand something. When the basic thought is understood then eventually there is enough background for rigid research, which still needs to be balanced with why and how a history is written.

(Todays challenge for patience was applicable, in a modern today sense, an editor here thinks that borrowed scenery, shakkei, is not important in writing about for a garden... and the pages are to be edited out... hmmm, if this were used for research, then what would that say to future people, if only what is written may be used for evidence?? - borrowed scenery does not exist?? right,.. people do not have eyes, I forgot... sorry for my opinion that we have eyes, I wonder where I read that... ooops that needed eyes and is invalid,... I heard that but its not written, so only braille may be used because I can feel that.... that would make it real,.. no?? shrug,... challenges are always good, imo, even editors that do not understand the subject matter. They all make you think.

    Bookmark   January 6, 2005 at 7:50PM
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yama(7b Ga)

Hi Edzard
Shokado bento trap will not crash your bone ^-^.
I have another shokado for you.
Sho= pine tree, ka= under, do= building. This Shokado also located in kyoto. This shokado has no Bento. you can sleep now ? ... ^-^

about assyrian king image ;
statues of Buddha from Thiland, China, Korean, Tibet are all different from each country and era . If Marc thinking only from Buddha's image of temple of kyoto, it may lead him to wrong direction. since I visit Korean and Chinese temple reguarly and spent lot's of hours at liburary of temples. I found out that image of Buddha are deffrent from Japanese temple's statues. The Era, countries, makes big defferent.

I am not scholar like Marc. I don't have money to buy books I like to have. and even I get books, I have no space to keep books now.... I need to have more than a dozen of books to end Kozama study . I need to find and have whole Bonmokyo/sutra. This monday I got only portion of Banmyokyo/sutra which is not explaining " shumisen "

You have been giving me many things to think, study and courage. I will tresure friendship we have ...... Mike

    Bookmark   January 6, 2005 at 11:17PM
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yama(7b Ga)

Hi Don
I had to make coffee befor write you back. you might want to make coffee or tea yourself...^-^
Oribe toro has hiden Christianity > you are asumeing there was /is hiden Christianity in Oribe toro. I started to study that Oribe toro has no Christianity in Orebe Toro.

Befoer learning Oribe toro, I serched life of Oribe, time of soceity, politict, his complishent as tea man, as one of seven deciples of Rikyu. then studied oribe toro it's self.
I remind you that Furuta Oribe was war time warrior and dainyo of 35,000 goku of Yamashiro, adjcent to kyoto. after Tokugawa Ieyasu controled entier Japan.
Ieyasu Placeed trusted daimyo adjcent to kyoto to observe/watch Empror and nobles activities.
some Christian Dainyo was forced to leave Japana and went to Thiland and veitnam and established Japanese town. He had oppotinity to leave Japan if Oribe was christian and wanted to leave Japan.
Takayama Ukon was christian daimyo and also asocited with Rikyo.He and the famliy left Japan on ship.
all oribe's life was facing life and death which lead to Zen and tea ceremony.. Oribe established Buke style ( warrior , sumurai ) tea ceremony .

Katusra rikyou:
Katura rikyu has 24 stone lanterns. There are 7 of Oribe style stone lanterns among 24 of stone lanterns.

Name of oribe toro: Are we thinking that Oribe is designed oribe toro ? or Oribe gonomi toro ? The shape of stone lanters which favored by Oribe .

Use of Oribe toro: Since Oribe toro base is in ground, It is easer to adjust hight which made popular in tea gardens and other gardens.

Original of Oribe toro: oldest of oribe toro has curved year of made on the stem of the stone lantern is 1615. same year Oribe died. It is locate in Tokyo.
Ninwa ji temple oribe toro : (1644) the temple has three of Oribe toros

Kitano tenmagu shrine oribe toro :(1645) this oribe toro beileved to be very original

Oribe toro at Nagoya castle tea garden. This Oribe toro was given to dainyo Kato from Furuta Oribe. Kato family kept
over 350 years and when Oribedo/ memoriel building was blild after world war two, this Oribe toro was moved from Kato familys garden to Nagoya castle tea garden.

as you mentioned Shugakuin Palace has Oribe toro, Kenrokuen/ Kanazawa also has oribe toro,

I also remind you that Oribe toro of Katura rikyu and Shugakuin. Empror was living god of shinto and center of shinto.
If you are faithfull Christian , Do you place Hindo god staues or Moslem's god statues in your garden ?
If you are Daimyo, trying to find hideing christians and killing them burning alive , do you keep yourself anything sugesting christianty in your home ?

If you are buddhist monk, all temples had to keep record of peoples when baby is born, when died, numbers of each family and aiding Tokugawa's policy to eradicate all christians . Do you keep Oribe toro in your temple's yard while Oribe toro has any chrisianity future ?

It is much deffrent than your potato story. ^-^ buying wrong potato kill not only 5 years old boy but kill all of the family member. you are thinking of it with based on chritianty mind, 21 century mind.

to make you feel better ^ -^ :
while Oribe alive, baning chritianty was not harsh as 1630's and after . DR Keiji Uehara said there are few opinion of Oribe toro. but he is not saying either Oribetoro had Chrisianity or not. You should find your self about oribe toro facts. But please donot believe internet stone lantern informations nor stone lantern mail order informations. I checked it myself and most of informations are useless and inaccurate.

statue of buddha on Oribe toro, you can find identical statue of Buddha hundreds years befor Christianity came to Japan. Many of placement of Oribe toro were very unlikey of Christianty ever lived , Shinto shrine, Home of liveing god of Shinto/Empror's place, Temples, Tea gardens which owned by person deeply involved zen.............

Don; I already finished second cup of coffee. after you did your own reserch Please write me back. ....mike

    Bookmark   January 7, 2005 at 3:46AM
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edzard(3b Canada)

dozo yoroshiku
-what comes to mind for this Sho ka do, is for some reason the Daime at Nishi no Doin, used by Yabuuchi Shochi... i would have to look back into a book but the image is in my mind of a pine beneath the eves in the engawa that was a favourite touch-pine of ?? Hideyoshi?, and though too large for the space was never removed... you could always save me some time and refresh my memory.
Marc Keane also has the Universities to purchase or borrow books for him... this makes a vast difference in the amount of research one can do. Even though there are different faces, the research still continues, without anyone discouraging him with observations and reasons why his theory will not work.

In turn the exploration of that research often turns up many unexpected things as we both know.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2005 at 1:53PM
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What did the Buddha really look like? could make an interesting study, perhaps not related to Japanese gardens directly but may have some bearing on the point Mike is trying to drive home.
What I find hard to understand is first how a stone lantern came to carry such importance and second how it found its way into the garden. Did it carry its original significance with it when transplanted? If it was not a religious icon what difference does it make if it has a cross on it or not? This is a good area for speculation.
Where does Marc Keane say this about the Assyrian king edzard? Contrary to what you say I think there would be a line up of kings from all over wanting to model for a statue of Buddha, Shakyamuni would not have been in the queue. As Mike says, images of Buddha would have been caste differently depending on all kinds of influences but remember the man himself did not want this.
It may help with an understanding of who would die for what. to consider that religious freedom is still a contentious issue today. To talk about what 16th century Christians were up to in Japan cannot be realistically/historically quantified without understanding that Europe was violently divided between catholic and protestant. Spanish = catholic: Dutch = protestant.
Nacho daddy has accused me of being unkind in my posting. What I have said here is not personal i.e. I am not denigrating those with a different outlook, in fact I offer this to further our joint discovery.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2005 at 6:15PM
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edzard(3b Canada)

we've had a good relationship for a long long time in Gw terms, most people may not recognise this or appreciate 'inhouse' crustiness,.. if we all had the same perspective, nothing would ever be revealed anywhere...

The information came from Marc's presentation at the Symposium/Sept./Seattle.

Crosses,.. why did vagabonds, penitents and travellers in Europe mark houses where others were likely to find food and generosity,.... and how is this directly related to the timber-framing of early houses which began as clever runes as building supports?

By the visual patterns = codified messaging to a select few. secret societies, groups. And nebulous enough to mean something only to those that know about it with enough vagueness in structure for plausible denyability.

    Bookmark   January 7, 2005 at 8:00PM
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You are correct to say that claiming the iconic cross is fraught with possibility and danger and I like the vagueness that you suggest.
However, I am not so happy with "Marc Keane proposed that the image of Buddha is taken from an Assyrian King, not an Indian image" I am recently getting into this and I just got the book you suggested yesterday, all the way from India.
Have you seen images of Assyrian kings? Where did Marc get that idea?

    Bookmark   January 8, 2005 at 6:26PM
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edzard(3b Canada)

grin,.., word use and snappiness are indicating? --aghast-ness??
what about JC Superstar... irreverence? what have 'we' used for templates? all the way back?? what have we done to the beautiful Medusa, that we changed her locks of hair to snakes and dumped her upside down.

the 108 'shells' on the Buddhas head may have been ringlets at one time in the design origin of a deity... as straight hair is the norm, curls would have been quite exotic.
Head only... not the entire image.
in a musing aside,... i've come to tell myself.. never say never or could not or didn't/doesn't or won't/wouldn't have... anything is possible and the Niwa-sono + human kind subject is far far too vast for one lifetime. Let alone how original Steppe grasses 10,000BCE still exist in Japan in ricepaddy ways, that support almost extinct butterflies... that have evolved to conform to the ricepaddy.
enjoy the researching...

    Bookmark   January 8, 2005 at 8:22PM
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yama(7b Ga)

Hi Inky and Edzard
Image of Buddha;
I have many photos of Buddha . Java,Sri lanka, Cambodia, Tibet , Laos,Thailand Afganistan,India, China , Koera Japan.
Image of Buddha are deffrent from each countries and age of Buddha,era of Buddha statue was made.
Head of Buddha's photo taken in Afganistan is more like greek marble stone curveing. short hair of the Afganistan Buddha's statue is not curly hair like Japanese Buddha statues has.

when we look around, we will discover many intresting things......................... Mike

    Bookmark   January 11, 2005 at 9:25PM
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When looking for the origin of the Japanese stone lantern, the ubiquitous emblem of the 'Japanese Garden', following the trail of 'light' will only get us so far. It is possible that the item used outside temples was a stupa/pagoda that contained fire (life) and not light, certainly (according to the Kyoto National Museum) these 'lanterns' had a chimney but no windows.
My suggestion is that the origin of the garden lantern comes from its use to dimly light the path to a tea hut and the designers used the earlier artifact as a model only. In other words the garden lantern is a derivative of a religious icon and therefore does not necessarily have any religious significance in itself.

    Bookmark   January 21, 2005 at 12:13PM
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Very interesting. I found some Japanese Lanterns at gardecor.com. Do you think these look authentic?

    Bookmark   February 12, 2007 at 10:08PM
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yama(7b Ga)

Hi all
Do you want to me to say diplomaticly ? or honest opinion?^^.
Stupa is for storeing Buddha's ash.not fire^^. Buddha told his followers not bother his funeral. against Buddha's will, followers built stupas.
Pagoda do not have hibukuro( where keep light) so that it is nothing to do Stone lantern. If you can find "Gorinto" that is more look like stone lantern.
Gardnes include Japanese garden is another art form.
If you see relegion in Japanese garden, then you see it. if you don't see(believe) any relegion in Japanese garden then You don't see it.
Japanese garden at famous temples, garden is important income source for them.
Monks and temples can live without garden.

I am reading "Sakuteiki" by Takei Jiro and Mark Keane.
Do you have the book ? It is good book. I am compareing with Japanese text of sakuteiki, Japanese histry text books and many Buddhism scholar's books.
I do not agree everything in the book but I can say it is a good book. I will give you lists of things I do not agree, If you want to ^^

If it is not too late, I will try to answer to your questions above. I have sent some book and photos To Mr keane but din't send you.
Go for it ! I will help you any way I can.

    Bookmark   February 14, 2007 at 1:20AM
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