The D.T. Suzuki Museum in Kanazawa

Posted on October 18, 2018 by Toothpicker There have been 0 comments

D.T. Suzuki Museum

 

Out of all the sights I visited in Kanazawa, my favourite was the tranquil and minimalist D.T. Suzuki Museum, a small museum commemorating the life and works of Suzuki Daisetz Teitaro (1870-1966), a prominent Buddhist philosopher and writer.

Suzuki received his Buddhist training at the Engakuji Zen monastery in Kamakura and later became a professor of Buddhist philosophy at Otani University in Kyoto. Aside from Japanese, Suzuki was proficient in English, Chinese and Sanskrit, and he translated numerous religious texts and scholarly articles. He was also the author of more than 100 works on Zen and Buddhism in both Japanese and English. I have read one of his most popular books: "An Introduction to Zen Buddhism" (1934), which is considered an influential book that brought the teachings of Zen Buddhism to the Western world esp. to the United States.

 

D.T. Suzuki Museum   D.T. Suzuki Museum

D.T. Suzuki Museum

 

The museum opened in 2011 and it was designed by well-renowned Japanese architect, Yoshio Taniguchi (also known for his redesign of the Museum of Modern Art in New York). The architecture and landscape is so serene and calming that it is hard not to want to slow down when you enter the museum. There are only a few exhibit rooms showcasing the writings and some photographs of Suzuki, but it is sufficient for visitors to learn about his dedication to Zen Buddhism.

Outside of the main building, there is the Contemplative Space, where visitors can sit in a large room with benches, take time to meditate or contemplate while enjoying the view of the Water Mirror Garden outside.

 

D.T. Suzuki Museum

D.T. Suzuki Museum

D.T. Suzuki Museum

D.T. Suzuki Museum

D.T. Suzuki Museum

 

The Water Mirror Garden outside also embodies the same Zen and tranquil quality found inside the museum and in the Contemplative Space. There is much harmony between the architecture and nature, and in many ways, I think this museum can be seen as a modern 'Zen temple'.

Here is a quote from "An Introduction to Zen Buddhism" by Suzuki on Zen:

The idea of Zen is to catch life as it flows. There is nothing extraordinary or mysterious about Zen. I raise my hand; I take a book from the other side of the desk; I hear the boys playing ball outside my window; I see the clouds blown away beyond the neighbouring wood: — in all these I am practising Zen, I am living Zen. No wordy discussions is necessary, nor any explanation. I do not know why — and there is no need of explaining, but when the sun rises the whole world dances with joy and everybody’s heart is filled with bliss. If Zen is at all conceivable, it must be taken hold of here.

 

D.T. Suzuki Museum

D.T. Suzuki Museum

 

The back exit of the museum can lead you out to the top of the hill where you can get a view of the 21st Century Museum of Contemporary Art. And as you follow the path, you will reach Kenroku-en, one of the Three Great Gardens of Japan.

 

kanazawa

kanazawa

kanazawa

 

 


This post was posted in Architecture, Travel, Nature, Buddhism & meditation, Anything Japanese, Gardens & parks, Contemporary, Japan and was tagged with nature, museums, contemporary architecture, Japanese architecture, Zen Buddhism, zen gardens, Kanazawa, D.T. Suzuki Museum

Comments