Noi6 means "the 6 of us" in Romanian.

We are five, you are the sixth one.

We thank you for joining us in our trip around the world...

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Buddha's Nostril

Today we went to Nara. We bought tickets, we entered the station, found a conductor and asked him, through signs and Japanglish, which train should we take. I've learned Japanese once a week for three years almost twenty years ago and never practised since then. For the first days here I was almost lost. Beside thank you, good bye and excuse me everything seemed a long sound. After a week here I can recognize names of the stations and some other words that were long forgotten.

It is surreal traveling, being here, but separated. Everything is written in Japanese and in the important part something in English. It feels comfortable to find something that I can understand. Not being able to read eliberates me to observe. I may not know the semnification of the differences in the positions of Buddha, but I can see the people. They come looking around themselves, looking at the leaves that just start to turn reddish. At the water fountain they fill the cup with water and wash their left hand, and then the right one, and then they fill it for the third time to wash the handle, so the next person will have a clean cup to wash their troubles.

They walk and talk, buy their incense or their prayer that is written on a piece of wood tied with a red string. Or they write it on a piece of paper that they fold and tie it on a tree or a special stand.

Kiyomizu-dera Temple, Kyoto
At some temples they bow and as they say their wish they ring a bell, and throw some money in the big box, or they clap their hands, bow again and then continue their life. I like to see them in that moment of devotion.

I have to remind ourselves that these lovely gardens and pavilions are temples.

Kyoto- Golden Pavilion
 A week ago I was in JFK thirsting for a tree, even a fake one, or for some form of vegetation, and now I'm surrounded by little hills with streams that gather in ponds with colored fish. In the begginings the Japanese were animists and even when they adopted Buddhism they still believed in spirits in every form of life. They work every day to transform nature; they prune the fir trees needle by needle, make hedges from camelias. They sweep the leaves that have fallen during the night (imagine a leaf-blower in a temple).

But beyond words and language, we are here for the same reason: to admire... nature, patience, work, people, imagination, vision.

The largest wood building contains a seated Buddha. He sits on a lotus flower and every petal is inscribed with the same story of how things are inter-related and they affect each other in thousands ways.

 Behind Buddha there is a single tree column (as there are the others in the temple) and at its base is a hole the same dimensions as Buddha’s nostril. There was a long line of school children waiting to go through and our children joined them. It is said that if you manage to get through, you will reach enlightenment.

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