Friday, January 30, 2009

Sincerity and the Fate of Nations - 2

In Sincerity and the Fate of Nations we saw an example of the role of sincerity in the fate of Germany. In Invocation for a Nation we saw Carol Osborn’s powerful I Ching inspired invocation for a nation (or individual) in crisis. If we look at our historical example, does the invocation pan out?
After Germany invaded Poland, Britain declared war on Germany thus respecting their recent pledge of alliance to Poland. It was a noble decision and very bold in that a successful outcome to the war was far from certain. Britain’s lead brought similar declarations of war from Australia, New Zealand and later France, South Africa and Canada. Britain was no longer alone against the greatest military machine the world had yet seen. But things got worse quite soon. After the fall of France and the evacuation of the British Expeditionary Force from Dunkirk, there was no reason to suppose that the fall of Britain was not a question of weeks away. But the British, utterly alone in their struggle, did not give up. They found their strength in sincerity. Faith in a positive outcome never left them. Through the courage of their armed forces the threat was met. And in time help from unexpected quarters came – the New World came to the aid of the Old.
And what about Germany at the end of the war? Their industry was in ruins, the flower of their youth had fallen in a war on two fronts, and worst of all, their country was divided in two, the eastern half disappearing behind an Iron Curtain. There was virtually nothing from which the Germans could now draw strength – except in sincerity. But in their darkest hour of the soul, help came from an unexpected quarter also. A conquering enemy that had every reason to feel bitterness, was made of finer stuff: a generous United States offered economic and technical assistance to all European nations, including Germany, in the form of the Marshall Plan. The Germans, always a steadfast and hard-working people, asked for no more in order to accomplish their Economic Miracle. And many who saw those dark days lived even to see the reunification of their nation.

All that is truly meant to be mine will be returned to me in time…
I can begin anew the moment I envision the best rather than the worst possible outcome…
I can make myself receptive to new possibilities…
I see only a small patch of darkness surrounding me…but even here I can have faith…

The wisdom contained in Carol’s invocation is the truth of ages and has its roots in human nature and the forces of the universe. Let us take strength in it today.
.Photo by Cheryl Empey

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

Invocation for a Nation

As we saw in my last post Sincerity and the Fate of Nations, nations have their karma as do individuals. Nations feel collective guilt, anger, indignation, fear, and hatred: also pride, generosity, resolve, courage and steadfastness. Nations go through their crises of the soul as do men. At this time of national crisis, I think it would be a good time to post an invocation that helped me through my own personal crisis many years ago.
It comes from the book How would Confucius ask for a raise? by Carol Osborn. It is a beautiful invocation, poetic, sincere and powerful. It contains the wisdom of the ages, expertly condensed by Carol from the I Ching. It is a suitable invocation for any individual and any nation in a time of crisis. Read it and feel its power working on you even before you reach the end.

Invocation for New Beginnings

All that is truly meant to be mine will be returned to me in time.
Even if I fear I do not deserve it.
Even if I fear I have thrown it away.

May I remember that any moment can be a turning point.
I can begin anew the moment I envision the best rather than the worst potential outcome.

Although I find this difficult right now, I can make myself receptive to new possibilities that arise from outside my existing expectations and experiences, trusting that everything that happens to me has a purpose.

From my limited perspective, I see only the small patch of darkness surrounding me. But even here, I can have faith. For my willingness to invoke my higher self shines like a beacon of light showing the way through the darkness quenching my regret with the comforting thought:

Where else but in the dark could light shine?

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

Sincerity and the Fate of Nations

With the power of sincerity and the weakness of insincerity in mind, it is revealing to look at history and the fate of nations. Where truth is suppressed and trampled upon by dictatorship, where there is injustice and error, there is no inherent strength and the nation suffers the consequences.
At the 1919 Treaty of Versailles at end of the First World War, Germany was ‘punished’ with the imposition by the victors of excessive war reparations. The sum – 269 billion marks - was later reduced to 132 billion, which was still an astronomical amount and Germany would have been required to pay until 1984. The German people felt betrayed, and I am sure that Marshal Foch of France was speaking the minds of many in France, England and Germany when he said of the Treaty: ‘This is not a peace. It is an armistice for twenty-one years.’
The Germans found their strength in the sincerity of their grievances, expressed forcefully by Adolf Hitler, who galvanized them into a unity of purpose to right the wrongs of Versailles. The moral superiority of sincerity was on Germany’s side and the allied nations, in their heart of hearts, must have felt this and feared it. Then, as Hitler’s lust for and abuse of power increased, the moral advantage slipped away from him, and the German people in their turn must have felt their loss of strength as the justness and sincerity of their cause faded away.
Such is the strength and significance of sincerity for nations as well as for individuals. We had best beware we are sincere.
Image from Wikimedia: decorative Hindu swastika. The swastika is a recurring ancient and often holy symbol going back 5,000 years to the Neolithic period. It symbolises peace and harmony and can be found in many Eastern traditions, notably Buddhism.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Sincerity - the greatest strength

Little do I know about the Qur’an (or Koran), which Wikipedia describes as the central religious text of Islam.

Muslims believe the Qur’an to be the book of divine guidance and direction for mankind, and consider the text in its original Arabic to be the literal word of God, revealed to Muhammad through the angel Gabriel over a period of twenty-three years and view the Qur’an as God’s final revelation to humanity.

Little do I know, but I am now curious to read more after I came across the following passage while doing a search about sincerity. It comes from Sincerity described in the Qur’an by Harun Yahya.

The works of Bediuzzaman Said Nursi, a renowned Islamic scholar, play an important role in guiding the Muslims who strive to attain sincerity. Bediuzzaman emphasised the need of self-purification in particular, and presented critical recommendations to true believers:

“O my brothers of the hereafter! And O my companions in the service of the Qur’an! You should know – and you do know – that in this world sincerity is the most important principle in works pertaining to the hereafter in particular; it is the greatest strength, and the most acceptable intercessor, and the firmest point of support, and the shortest way to reality, and the most acceptable prayer, and the most wondrous means of achieving one’s goal, and the highest quality, and the purest worship.”

This passage rings true to me and no doubt it would ring true to all the great minds I have quoted in my previous posts. It echoes the sentiments expressed by other religions and philosophies, as we have seen. And to me, it is another example of the universality of the wisdom contained in all spiritual traditions. They are all different faces of the same mountain.

Photo from Wikimedia

Friday, January 23, 2009

The Sword of Sincerity

History with its flickering lamp stumbles along the trail of the past, trying to reconstruct its scenes, to revive its echoes, and kindle with pale gleams the passion of former days. What is the worth of all this? The only guide to a man is his conscience; the only shield to his memory is the rectitude and sincerity of his actions. It is very imprudent to walk through life without this shield, because we are so often mocked by the failure of our hopes and the upsetting of our calculations; but with this shield, however the fate may play, we march always in the ranks of honour. Winston Churchill

The shield of rectitude and sincerity: what a fine image! I am reminded of some other fine images of a martial nature:

Remember that it is in perfect gentleness that your soul will find the strongest defence, the only armour without a flaw. Remember the words of the Master: ‘Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.’ J.-M. Sylvain, Entretiens spirituels, P. 117

(The Taoist ideal of non-combat or non-competitiveness) disposes always of an invincible weapon: love, and a shield against which break the most furious assaults of men and destiny: sacrifice. Le Livre du Tao et de sa Vertu

We have seen that many other virtues can be considered a shield. Humility is a shield: the only sure protection against humiliation. Patience is a shield: the greatest fortitude against the evils of hatred and anger. I am sure you can think of others.
But if I may, I will disagree with my most esteemed compatriot Winston Churchill (and I think he would forgive me) by saying that I believe sincerity more closely resembles a sword than a shield. For with sincerity we can not merely defend ourselves: we can attack, we can pierce through men’s defences and win them to our cause. With sincerity as our sword and rectitude as our shield, we conquer men and destiny. Who could stand against us? Now, isn’t that a fine image?

Sincerity, a deep, great, genuine sincerity, is the first characteristic of all men in any way heroic. Thomas Carlyle

The true measure of life is not length, but honesty. John Lily

Weak persons cannot be sincere. François Duc de la Rochefoucauld

Sincerity may be humble, but she cannot be servile. Thomas Carlyle

He who is sincere hath the easiest task in the world, for, truth being always consistent with itself, he is put to no trouble about his words and actions; it is like traveling in a plain road, which is sure to bring you to your journey's end better than byways in which many lose themselves. John Tillotson

Sincerity is the face of the soul, as dissimulation is the mask. Joseph Sanial-Dubay

Sincerity is not only effective and honourable, it is also much less difficult than is commonly supposed. George H. Lewes

Never apologize for showing feeling. My friend, remember that when you do so you apologize for truth. Benjamin Disraeli

Sincerity is an openness of heart; it is found in a very few people, and that which we see commonly is not it, but a subtle dissimulation, to gain the confidence of others. François Duc de la Rochefoucauld

The happy talent of pleasing either those above or below you seems to be wholly owing to the opinion they have of your sincerity… There need be no more said in honour of it than that it is what forces the approbation of your opponents. Sir Richard Steele

You can play a shoestring if you're sincere. John Coltrane

It is best to be yourself, imperial, plain and true. Robert Browning
Photo from Wikimedia: King Leonidas of Sparta

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Sincerity, I Ching, Obama

There is a hexagram dealing with sincerity in the I Ching: hexagram 61, Inner Truth. The hexagram is formed of the trigram for ‘The Gentle, Wind’ above the trigram for ‘The Joyous, Lake’.

Wind over lake: the image of INNER TRUTH

The wind blows over the lake and stirs the surface of the water. Thus visible effects of the invisible manifest themselves. The hexagram consists of firm lines above and below, while it is open in the center. This indicates a heart free of prejudices and therefore open to the truth. On the other hand, each of the two trigrams has a firm line in the middle; this indicates the force of inner truth in the influences they represent. (Wilhelm/Baynes edition of I Ching)

The visible effects of invisible forces are easily seen on the lake. They are more difficult to see elsewhere but they are nevertheless all about us. The metaphor speaks of the power of invisible spiritual forces in the world and their visible effects on it. I am reminded of this quote of Confucius:

The power of spiritual forces in the Universe – how active it is everywhere! Invisible to the eyes, and impalpable to the senses, it is inherent in all things, and nothing can escape its operation.

Nothing escapes its operation. Spiritual forces include their opposites. When integrity and sincerity are lacking, the seeds of decrease, discord and death are sown. When integrity and sincerity are present, the seeds of increase, harmony and life are sown.
Listening to President Obama’s address, I was impressed by his clear sincerity and strong appeal to spiritual values, in other words, to spiritual forces.

Whenever a feeling is voiced with truth and frankness, whenever a deed is the clear expression of sentiment, a mysterious and far-reaching influence is exerted. At first it acts on those who are inwardly receptive. But the circle grows larger and larger. The root of all influence lies in one’s own inner being: given true and vigorous expression in word and deed, its effect is great.

Each of us was affected by the words we heard in Obama’s address; some strongly, some mildly some perhaps little but nevertheless we were all were affected in some way. A feeling was voiced with truth and frankness. Who can tell what the visible effects will be? What ripples on the lake have been set in motion by this invisible force?

Words go from one’s own person and exert their influence on men. Deeds are born close at hand and become visible far away. Words and deeds are the hinge and bowstring of the superior man. As hinge and bowstring move, they bring honour or disgrace. Through words and deeds the superior man moves heaven and earth. Must one not, then, be cautious? Confucius

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Obama and the new era of responsibility

The karma of the United States of America has given it at the same time an extraordinary crisis and an extraordinary new president to meet that crisis. Times of hardship have reached the land and it is time to face the truth and draw strength from that sincerity.
After President Obama’s address, I am sure no one can be in any doubt about the challenges now facing the nation. I was struck by his strong appeal to spiritual values, wherein lies the real treasure of the land:

They (previous generations) understood that our power alone cannot protect us, nor does it entitle us to do as we please. They knew that our power grows from its prudent use, our security emanates from the justness of our cause, the force of our example, the tempering qualities of humility and restraint.

The Clinton administration failed in that it allowed the bubble of the credit markets to develop, the Bush administration failed in not detecting the problem and fixing it in time. To paraphrase Sun Tzu, the general who does not see problems when they are far off, will soon find problems close by. General Obama now has to lead us through problems on every side. And I find it significant that the first spiritual lieutenant he names is none other than Honesty:

Our challenges may be new, the instruments with which we meet them may be new, but those values upon which our success depends – honesty and hard-work, courage and fair-play, tolerance and curiosity, loyalty and patriotism – these things are old, these things are true… What is demanded then is a return to these truths. What is required of us now is a new era of responsibility.

What is demanded is a return to these truths… Compare this with this passage from the I Ching, 41st hexagram Decrease:

If a time of scanty resources brings out an inner truth, one must not feel ashamed of simplicity. For simplicity is then the very thing needed to provide inner strength for further undertakings.

Inner truths and inner strengths are now needed. Shortcuts and narrow-minded self interest – the mentality of the swamp plant – got us here. Far-sighted, enlightened leadership – the mentality of the tree on the mountain – must get us out. Fortunately, the I Ching leaves us with hope:

Decrease does not under all circumstances mean something bad. Increase and decrease come in their own time. What matters here is to understand the time and not to try to cover up poverty with empty pretence.

That would surely be the precursor to and the guiding principle of a new era of responsibility.
For an interesting parallel insight, head over to The Useless Tree and Obama’s Mencian Themes.

Saturday, January 17, 2009

Sincerity - the treasure of a land

Years ago I came across the following phrase, no doubt from the Confucian tradition:

Sincerity is the treasure of a land, and it is in sincerity that the people find their strength in times of hardship.

This impressed me greatly. It seemed so abstract, even naïve a concept to think that sincerity was the treasure of a land. It was not courage. Not fortitude. Not patience. It was not money. Not the financial system. Not industry. Not oil. It was sincerity.
The phrase had a numinous, spiritual quality to it, and I had the distinct impression of being transported back into a time when sincerity was perhaps the treasure of the land back then, but it certainly was not now. But as with many forgotten, clichéd virtues, they are as valid today as they always have been. We only need to remember them.
I could not attribute the quote to Confucius, although I did find this:

The strength of a nation derives from the integrity of the home. Confucius

Here we are not merely talking about not telling lies but a way of being. Sincerity is total or it is nothing. We must be sincere with ourselves before we can be sincere with others.

No man can produce great things who is not thoroughly sincere in dealing with himself. James Russell Lowell

Sincerity is impossible, unless it pervade the whole being, and the pretence of it saps the very foundation of character. James Russell Lowell

When we are sincere as a way of being, we are obviously our true selves, acting without guile, and the contact with the other person is direct, clear and strong. We do not waste any time or energy in scheming or appearances. We are acting in accordance with our true nature and it is here that we tap the power of the universal, or God, or the Tao, (according to your belief).

Sincerity and honesty carry one through many difficulties which all the arts he can invent would never help him through. Benjamin Stillingfleet

The Lord is close to all who call on him, yes, to all who call on Him sincerely. Psalm 145:18

Sincerity and truth are the basis of every virtue. Confucius

Of course, we may be sincere and be mistaken. The point is not to be right; the point is to be sincere. We cannot always be right, but we can always be sincere. However badly we screw up and however hard things get, if we are sincere the universe will always ‘see us right’ in the end.

Better is the wrong with sincerity, rather than the right with falsehood. Martin Farquhar Tupper

Insincerity is always weakness; sincerity even in error is strength. George H. Lewes

Sincerity is moral truth. George H. Lewes

Sincerity makes the very least person to be of more value than the most talented hypocrite. Charles Haddon Spurgeon

So as we can see, and as we shall see, sincerity is a powerful virtue that we should cultivate and value at all times. It is much more than just being truthful in our speech, although that is a large part of it. It has far-reaching consequences. And if you doubt this and would have a powerful example, you have only to look at the sub-prime mortgage collapse, the packaging of dubious mortgages into derivative securities of unknown value, the subsequent crisis of confidence in the credit markets and the financial system, and the deep global recession it has created. All this for want of sincerity.
Times of hardship have now come upon the land. Let us turn to our treasure. Let us find our strength again in sincerity.

There is no time so miserable but a man may be true. Shakespeare
Photo by Angelthenomad at Picasa

Monday, January 12, 2009

The Observer - I am not my anger

Following my last post The Observer Within, I wondered where I had come across the concept of the observer. I did a Google search and quickly found this talk entitled The Observer by Sri Vasudeva. Here is an excerpt that is very à propos:

In all our activities, if we look carefully, we will see that there is an observer involved. Sometimes we are so identified with the activity that we are not able to experience this observer self as distinct from the activity. In other words, we become the activity. For example, instead of seeing that there is the emotion of anger within us and being able to observe it objectively we become carried away in the feeling ‘I am angry’. If we are really observing we will experience the observer as being separate from the anger and will be able to say ‘There is anger within me’ rather than ‘I am angry’. Do you see the difference? This is extremely important to understand when seeking to experience the full or pure state of the observer. So there is a part of us that can observe the process of thinking, feeling and physical sensation whilst feeling the sense of separateness. Focusing on this observer can lead us to the Source of our being.

Vasudeva goes on to expound the great virtues of meditation in developing our awareness of the observer, since in meditation we practice observing many things – our body, our breath, our thoughts – without attaching to them. The practice of meditation then is an ideal way to get in touch with our centre, our inner, higher self: our observer.

Give attention to the observer within and seek to centre yourself in the seat of the pure observer. It is the seat of the ‘I am’ consciousness. It is the seat of your freedom and joy in the human experience. It is the seat of connectedness with your Source. Seek to live and act from this space.

Sri Vaseduva’s advice to train ourselves to see anger from an observer’s point of view rather than ‘becoming’ the anger reminds me of a Taoist practice expounded by Stephen Russell in his ‘Barefoot Doctor’s Guide to the Tao’ called ‘The Nobody Contemplation’.
Russell asks us to make a list of our possessions and say ‘I am not these possessions. I am not this house. I am not this telephone. I am not this rubber biscuit.’ Then do the same for our hopes and desires: ‘I am not that different house. I am not that personal satellite phone with built-in modem, fax and organizer…’ On to the people in our lives - ‘I am not my mother, I am not my son…’ - to our habits, addictions, aversions and phobias and finally to our body with all its aches and pains: ‘I am not my body’.

Feel it. You’re not your possessions, your desires, your people, your habits, your fears: you’re not even your body. You’re simply nobody. Revel in the freedom of it, then move out onto the street, a busy, grimy street preferably, and be nobody, absolutely no one at all. Being no one at all, you’ve nothing to lose, you’re just atoms moving in the everything, child of the Tao, and everything is yours.

Thursday, January 8, 2009

The Observer Within

Even after writing several posts on anger, I find that I still have a long way to go. I recently ‘blew my top’ in quite a (for me) shocking way. I went from being in a good mood, laughing and smiling, to blood-curdling indignant anger and oath calling in the space of about 45 seconds. That is several thousand eons of good deeds up in smoke right there. And I cannot say it was for a good cause. However, in the midst of the anger I did experience what I have known some writers call ‘the observer within’. This is our ‘higher self’ or subconscious, which always remains emotionless even if we cannot, observing events happening to us in a dispassionate way. There was a distinct moment where I could have ‘snapped out of it’, but it passed – I let it pass - and I continued in my anger.
I remember once my son said something to me that from anyone else would have angered me enormously. Indeed for a fraction of a second I felt the anger. But before anything could be expressed some inner circuit-breaker was flipped - getting angry at my son for sort of ‘being me’ seemed suddenly ridiculous, impossible - and the anger instantly disappeared. Note that I did not ‘suppress’ the anger: it suddenly no longer existed.
This leads me to conclude that anger is a very strange thing indeed. If one second we can be gripped by its emotion and almost in the same second switch it off or look at it from a calm centre, then it has no real life, no real basis in our mind. Anger really is a temporary insanity.

A Zen student came to Bankei and complained: "Master, I have an ungovernable temper. How can I cure it?"
"You have something very strange," replied Bankei. "Let me see what you have."
"Just now I cannot show it to you," replied the other.
"When can you show it to me?" asked Bankei.
"It arises unexpectedly," replied the student.
"Then," concluded Bankei, "it must not be your own true nature. If it were, you could show it to me at any time. When you were born you did not have it, and your parents did not give it to you. Think that over."

From ‘Zen Flesh, Zen Bones’ by Paul Reps

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Gratitude Watch

I am almost guilty of committing a gross ingratitude, shame on me. Daniel Brenton over at The Meaning of Existence (and all that) – A Curmudgeon’s Guide to Spirituality has kindly chosen not one but 3 of my posts on gratitude for his Gratitude Watch 2008 which he describes as ‘an eye on the internet for news, articles, videos, and other items, all focusing on the subject of gratitude’. A very noble and worthy endeavour Daniel, and very encouraging if only to show that gratitude is not entirely dead and forgotten in this age of get it now, get it quick, and get it on. Here you will find links to a goldmine of articles and posts on the subject of gratitude. Be sure to check out his Gratitude Watch for 2009. Thank you again, Daniel.

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Christmas feast, New Year fast

Another year lies before us like a blank page. What shall we write? More of the same or something new?
To write something new, we must first want it. We must want it so much that we are willing to change our sacred habits to get it. We have to reach that ‘tipping point’ where the dubious pleasures of staying in a certain bad habit are overcome by our desire for something else. We must imagine our new goal. Dream it. See it. Pray for it. Ask for it. Believe it. Think about it all the time. Only then will our subconscious get the message and make it appear. We will act in new ways as our subconscious prods us in the direction of our new blueprint.
Our subconscious will also make us notice new opportunities that were always there but to which we were previously blind. One of my goals for the coming year is to improve my health and vitality. With my recent sickness (bronchitis) I had emphatically reached the tipping point that had been building for a while. And whilst browsing a website called The Habit Code I came across Ways to eliminate bad habits and a comment about fasting being helpful in this regard. I already knew something about the ancient time-proven physical and spiritual benefits of fasting but had I not had it in my mind that I wanted to improve my health I probably would never have noticed the comment. Now my subconscious seized upon it, virtually waving it in my face and saying ‘This is what we need’.
So I am starting off the New Year with a fast. Ain’t I the life of the party?

I fast for greater physical and mental efficiency. Plato

Everyone has a doctor in him or her; we just have to help it in its work. The natural healing force within each of us is the greatest force in getting well. Our food should be our medicine. Our medicine should be our food. But to eat when you are sick, is to feed your sickness. Hippocrates

Fasting is the greatest remedy – the physician within! Paracelsus

To lengthen thy life, lessen thy meals. The best of all medicines is rest and fasting. Benjamin Franklin

Fasting is the world's most ancient and natural healing mechanism.
Fasting triggers a truly wondrous cleansing process that reaches right down to each and every cell and tissue in the body. Within 24 hours of curtailing food intake, enzymes stop entering the stomach and travel instead into the intestines and into the bloodstream, where they circulate and gobble up all sorts of waste matter, including dead and damaged cells, unwelcome microbes, metabolic wastes, and pollutants.
All organs and glands get a much-needed and well-deserved rest, during which their tissues are purified and rejuvenated and their functions balanced and regulated. The entire alimentary canal is swept clean. By rebuilding immunity, health is naturally restored and disease disappears.If health and immunity are thereafter conscientiously maintained, the individual is no longer vulnerable to disease and dieting become unnecessary. Surely one of the most overlooked and yet most valuable modes of healing that will be rediscovered in the future of the new medicine is the fast. This is because of the increasing interest in looking to oneself for healing powers. For the fast is an inward process and cannot be entered upon only from an outer approach with any expectation of a lasting benefit. The person must invariably be involved with the overall results. This therapeutic encounter is in direct contrast to the usual non-involvement in the physician-directed, disease-oriented medical practice of today. Evart Loomis M.D.

Ship's log - January 2009

Another year has passed. For myself, it was a mixed year (aren’t they all?) I know it was not a year of increase on the material wealth plane. Nor on the physical health plane. Nor on many another plane. But it was the year I started Healing Philosophy. And so it cannot be considered a bad year. What started out as a project to share philosophy has become something of a journey of discovery. I revisited old shores and took bearings in some unknown waters, all the while advancing into the open seas with the prospect of some new discovery only a day’s sail away.
It seems very providential to me that this year should end with my posts on Habit. It would be the world’s pity not to use our new philosophy in our daily life. 2008 was the year of discovering some great truths. 2009 must be the year of putting them into action. As we have seen, we can choose what we wish to become. And as we gain in wisdom, we will choose more and more wisely…

Choose the life that is most useful, and habit will make it the most agreeable. Francis Bacon

We are what we repeatedly do. Excellence then, is not an act, but a habit. Aristotle

We first make our habits, and then our habits make us. John Dryden

Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)

Discover The Tale of Genji, the 11th Century classic of Japan (click image)
Kiyomizudera Temple has a large veranda looking out over Kyoto and beyond