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Quiet contemplation in Koyasan after the earthquake and tsunami

Quiet contemplation in Koyasan after the earthquake and tsunami

Lee Jay Walker

Modern Tokyo Times

Koyasan  in Wakayama
Koyasan in Wakayama

The nation of Japan is going through trauma at the moment because of the huge loss of life after the devastating earthquake and tsunami which struck many parts of Japan.  Therefore, while the devastated towns and villages in Fukushima, Miyagi, Iwate, and other parts of Japan, are still struggling to cope with the huge loss of life and havoc; it is a time for contemplation for the more fortunate people who reside in Japan.

Throughout Japan you have thousands of Buddhist and Shinto places of worship and Christian churches can be found all over this nation.  Even if you are not religious and only visit places of worship to contemplate then now is the right time to reflect on recent events. This applies to not just the fragility of life but to contemplate how hard it is now for many unfortunate people who have lost so much.

Religious or non-religious people can benefit from visiting either a place of worship or a beautiful Japanese garden.  Then a quiet moment to reflect about recent events and the ongoing hard work which is needed in order to restore order to many devastated parts of Japan.

It is very easy to take life for granted and to ignore the homeless person within your own nation or distant wars or the neglected member of your family.  Yet times like the recent earthquake and tsunami in Japan is a time to think about “the bigger picture” and to re-evaluate the simple things in life.

Buddhist temple in Koyasan
Buddhist temple in Koyasan

Over the coming weeks and months, many thousands of people who were badly hit by the recent tragedy will struggle to come to terms with what happened.  For some people it will take years and for others they will never fully recover because human nature is complex.

Grieving and inner pain will take over from the initial shock and sense of hopelessness. At the moment many worlds have been turned upside down and anger, bitterness, feeling forlorn and morose, and a host of other emotions, will be going through the mind and the sense of bewilderment will be very high.

Therefore, for people who reside in Japan it is a time to reflect and to show your respect.  For some people this will apply to visiting a place of worship, a quiet prayer, visiting a beautiful garden, a quiet walk, or to appreciate what we take for granted by re-evaluating many things.

The images of Koyasan remain vivid in my mind despite not being Buddhist because Koyasan in Wakayama prefecture is a religious place.  Local Japanese people visit Koyasan and many Japanese and tourists from all over the world also visit this stunning part of Japan.

Koyasan in Wakayama
Koyasan in Wakayama

Non-Buddhists and Buddhists can appreciate Koyasan because of the stunning nature, many beautiful Buddhist places of worship, and the entire feel of the mountain scenery and quaint architecture.

Kukai (774-835) who became known as Kobo Daishi established the first monastery in the ninth century on mount Koya (Koya-san).  The Shingon sect that he founded believed that enlightenment could be attained in one lifetime.

Kukai, for many different reasons than the current tragedy which hit Japan, searched for a new way and he visited China and studied Esoteric Buddhism.  He prayed for peace and prosperity but city life was too energetic therefore he searched for a quiet place to meditate and ultimately Koyasan became the chosen place.

I am not suggesting that people go to such levels like Kukai.  However, just like his restless spirit it is time to reflect for the fortunate majority of people who reside in Japan and to appreciate the small things in life which we take for granted.

In time, the less fortunate who have survived but lost many family members and friends, will also be able to contemplate and to re-evaluate many things and some will find answers but sadly some will never recover.

Therefore, for the majority of people in Japan who have escaped the havoc of the recent earthquake and tsunami it is time to take time out before the daily routine of life starts all over again.

Sadly, for places which have been devastated and for people who have lost many relatives and friends; the path ahead will be long and much needs to be done in order to redevelop so many damaged coastal areas, cities, towns, and villages.

Therefore, now is a time to contemplate and reflect for the majority of people who have escaped the clutches of death.  However, for people who have been directly hit by the recent earthquake and tsunami then contemplation will come at a later date because their world is in tatters.

Koyasan is very far away from the epicenter of the earthquake and no damage was caused in this part of Wakayama.  Yet all over Japan you have thousands of religious places or beautiful gardens to contemplate; however, I will pay my respect in Koyasan the next time I visit and I will reflect on the fragility of life and the natural beauty of nature.   (Information about Koyasan)         (Information about Koyasan)

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