Dawn at the Myoshin-ji Zen Temple, Kyoto.
It's still dark when the temple bell strikes, summoning monks to begin Zendo.
The deep, billowing tone rises above steep roofs which overnight got dusted with a silver coating of frost.
The steady rhythm of monks' steps - the click-clack of wooden getas on gravel paths echoes around temple buildings.
The hojo is filled with the musty odor of old wood mixed with sweet incense smoke.
A gong strikes three times.
Gravelly , sonorous voices of the monks kept being broken by drums.
A stream of fast, intense sounds is followed by gentler, slower movements. Then chants resume again.
Shadows on the shoji look almost like ink paintings.
The gong is to remind everyone that they have come to the end of a long night and it is time to start their daily routine.
It is to relieve all beings from suffering, to eradicate worries, and to lead them to enlightement.
Rocks and moss covered with a thin film of frost in the Taizo-in Zen Garden
Prayer for Bell Ringing
Meishō no ge
sanzu hachi nan
sok-ku jo san
mon sho godō
May living beings of the dharma realms,
stifled and mired in bitterness
in the three painful destinies and hundred and eight hardships,
hear the sound and awaken to the way.
Just as they finish, the sun rises: