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Buddhism in the News


Tuesday, July 12, 2011

The Tree Legend of Japan.

(PHOTO CREDIT: Torii, Shinto arch, surrounded by ancient, Japanese, cedar trees on the Kumano Old Road in Wakayama, Japan).

(Translation: Alternate, Ukrainian translation:

In the ancient, Shinto, belief system of Japan, a legend says, that the Japanese people descended down from the heavens by climbing down the tall, sacred, cypress trees of the island. As someone who is in awe, admiration, and respect for our noble trees, I find this creation story to be deeply, spiritual. The other aspect I admire, is how it echoes the Buddhist teaching that we are interdependent upon nature for our very lives. As a Zen Buddhist, I find much within Shinto that I admire and respect; not the least of which, being nature veneration.

May we all find freedom atop the great tree of Dharma. All branches, regardless if they are Theravada or Mahayana, contribute to the strength and vitality of the tree. Do our branches bend a little differently, of course!! But, when was the last time you saw two tree branches that were the exactly same?!! Diversity is the strength of any system--it takes all sizes, shapes and age of branch to sustain a strong tree. This is true, by the way, for humanity. If everyone was supposed to be the same, then everything would be one color; imagine how boring that would be?!!

~Peace to all beings~

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BD said...

Your post reminds me of the saying, "be yourself , everyone else is taken"

Sofan said...

Right we are all created differently, I hope humanity finally finds peace and will be able to live harmoniously.

echo said...

I've long been interested in Shinto and its influence on Japanese Buddhism. I think what first drew me to Shinto is exactly what you wrote about here, the focus on the reverence of nature. I'm from the Pacific Northwest, and having lived all my life surrounded by huge Douglas firs, red cedars, and hemlocks, I've always been touched by the power of trees.

You might be interested to read something I wrote about this on my blog:

Tor Hershman said...

Climbin' down a tree!!!
Then whacky Shintoists, thoseadays.


Amanda said...

Your post resonates strongly with me. I begun to explore Tibetan Buddhism and am also trying to gain an understanding of Taoism as well. I agree that the power of nature is immense and not yet fully understood by all. Who can deny that feeling of being truly alive when surrounded by nature in any form.

David "Shinzen" Nelson said...

In my studies of Shinto and Native American culture, I find so many 'similarities', but the most evident is the respect for nature. Thanks for the post and great pic.

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