Wednesday, May 07, 2008

Photo Essay: Suzhou

We didn't have long in Suzhou, but we did have a burst of sunny weather which was perfect for admiring this pretty little city.

Candy colored Tuk Tuks are a popular alternative to the gridlocked taxis. These little conveyances have the luxury of a special lane shared with motorcycles and bikes.

While in Africa we grew accustomed to seeing people carrying huge loads of just about everything on their ill equipped bicycles. In China the loads are the same but the trailers seem more efficient.

A massive stone Buddha welcomes you into one of Suzhou's many Zen gardens.

The nine tiered tower is a monument to the princeples of Feng Shui. Perfectly balanced and almost circular with precisely equal levels, it allows energy to flow in and out from all directions.

The view of the city was picturesque and clear (especially compared to the smoggy skyline in Shenzhen!)

Candles in a shrine near the main altar.

Giant sticks of incense popping in a furnace.

Joseph Campbell talked admiringly about Zen Gardens in the Power of Myth, saying the architects would carefully build the paths to move the viewer through a prolonged area of narrow focus and then a dramatic transition into a sweeping vista. For him, this was a mirror of the psychological transformations one undergoes in a spiritual journey where something small becomes a metaphor for something much much larger. All I know is that I want to see many more of these gardens. It was so peaceful, and geen. I'm not sure if this is representative or not, but this one was also wonderfully unkempt, like a head of rumpled hair first thing in the morning.

We left the temple just as the sun was setting.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Those are some fantastic pictures

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