Tuesday, May 17


I was looking around one of these temples a few days ago, where I noticed that you couldn't figure out how big it was, or it didn't seem to have any limits. I said to the priest, "I don't know whether I'm going exploring or not, or just leave it alone and think that, well, here I left Kyoto and never did find out what was through that little gate, and so what!" Forever there will be magic behind there which I didn't define and didn't draw in. So this whole temple was done that way. All sorts of suggestions of little avenues disappearing, like a mountain path winding up among the trees... because always, every wall of a room seemed to be a screen which led to something else beyond, and at the back of every garden there seemed to be a little gate that led to some other courtyard and everything led into something else.

Where does it go? True, if you follow it you will eventually go up out of Kyoto and get down to Otsu and find yourself back down in the suburbs. But there is a sense that the disappearing mountain path goes to the place that everybody has in the back of their minds as the image of the place that you want to go to (not really an image, as it's always slightly indefinite). There is a certain feeling that there ought to be somewhere that thing I've always wanted.

-- Alan Watts Uncarved Block, Unbleached Silk: The Mystery of Life