where truth resides




Kinkakuji (The Temple of the Golden Pavilion)

This is the famous golden pavilion of the aptly-named Kinkakuji (lit. "The Temple of the Golden Pavilion"), located in Kitayama ("Northern Mountain"), Kyoto, not far from where Tecla Hashimoto was martyred (in Higashiyama, or "Eastern Mountain"). It was burned down in 1950 by a crazed Buddhist monk, Hayashi Yoken, because he apparently felt it was "too beautiful" (as well-chronicled in the famous 1956 novel by Yukio Mishima.* The same exact thing happened to Tecla Hashimoto in 1619--she, a Temple of the Holy Spirit (according to the words of St. Paul in 1 Cor 6:19-20), burned down by crazed Buddhist monks because she was "too beautiful" (i.e., a member of the beautiful Catholic Faith they despised in their own spiritual ugliness).


Perhaps the crazed Buddhist monk in 1950 was unconsciously mimicking that act by other crazed Buddhist monks against Telca in 1619, particularly as there is a Golden Phoenix atop the structure which beautifully reflects in the adjoining lake along with the pavilion itself (which Mishima chronicles in-depth in his novel), perhaps symbolizing Tecla rising from the ashes into heaven next the Kamogawa River after she likewise was destroyed by an arson attack.  Christ's own words to the Jews that if they burned down the temple he would build it again in three days (Jn 2:19-21) was a reference to His own body, which is further verification that the burning down of a temple may represent the burning down of a body; and that the building again of a temple may be likened to a Resurrection, such as Tecla no doubt had.


Just as Kinkakuji is beautifully reflected in the adjoining pond in space, so is Kinkakuji beautifully reflected by the sacrifice of Tecla Hashimoto in time.  In fact, the vision of Kinkakuji today is like the vision of Tecla Hashimoto almost four centuries ago, and since they are both in Kyoto, we are reminded of this famous haiku by the great poet Matsuo Basho (1644-1694), which links past and present in what is arguably the most beautiful of all cities, and which every Japanese schoolchild must learn: "Kyo nite mo/Kyo natsukashii/Hototogisu" (Although in Kyoto/Nostalgic for Kyoto/[the sound of a mockingbird]).


 * In the novel, Yoken's name is "Mizoguchi," which means something like "sewage gulch" in Japanese.  Before reading this novel, you might want to be warned of Mishoima's often profane, vulgar view of things, which is inherent in the Buddhist faith, as is well-evidenced in the pornogrpahic Kama Sutra "Scriptures" and the lintels of temples with carvings of orgiastic goings-on, as a I saw at a recent exhibit at the Norton Simon Museum of Art in Pasadena, CA.


(photo courtesy of http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Kinkaku3402CBcropped.jpg, 10/1/10)