OBACHAN'S SCRIBBLES

Friday, May 12, 2006

WISDOM IN 262 CHARACTERS

Looks like I always feel the urge to start or re-start something at this time of the year, every year. It’s no surprise, because the climate is nice -- not too cold, not too hot--, trees and grasses are in fresh green, and I’m usually feeling better after the cedar pollen allergy is gone.

So what kind of urge am I feeling this year? Well, the other day, I re-started my habit of going walking about twice a week. Also I'm planning to spend some time painting a watercolor this weekend. You know it’s such a shame… I have a couple of hobbies that should make myself feel better when I’m too stressed or feeling weak, but I usually don’t feel like doing any of them when I am actually stressed or feeling weak.

Anyway, another thing I started recently is something I’ve always wanted to do: it’s learning about Buddhism and especially, the Hannya Shingyo (the Heart Sutra). Strange, ha? Or you think obachan is really getting older and obachan-like? (That’s the image the majority of people have here in Japan. They think Buddhism and sutra are for elders only.) Well, I AM getting older, like everyone else, but I don’t think my interest in the sutra is so much based on the worries about my health or my future.

As you know, I’ve been blogging about (and by doing so re-discovering and re-appreciating) the customs and traditions here in my home prefecture, which are, in other words, things I always had around me but didn’t actively see. And everytime I blog about our religious customs, I wonder what kind of wishes, or prayers, or wisdom inspired people to start such customs. When I visit temples to blog about the ceremonies there, I always hear about Hannya Shingyo sutra which is said to express the essence of the great wisdom in only 262 characters. So what kind of wisdom is it? This curiosity has been in the corner of my mind for several years, and for some reason, now my inner voice says, “Let’s start learning.” When it happens, it happens. So I guess you are going to see posts about this sutra on this blog once in a while. :)
posted by obachan, 5/12/2006 04:28:00 PM

2 Comments:

Obachan, I hope I can organize my life & join the J-zepp team to share my interest in migrant food culture adaptation & th growth of organic & biodynamic viticulture!
...kan-ji-sai-bo-sai-han-nya-ha-ra-mi-ta...
Heart of Perfect Wisdom is truly radical-- or maybe it's just th Rinzai Zen view of it? i used to sit with th students of Joshu Sasaki Roshi, whose famous student is Jikan Leonard Cohen...
your writing is so good, there is so much of it! I am such a weak lazy blogger!
Dewa mata!
commented by Anonymous zensolo, 5/31/2006 1:28 PM  
Hi zensolo,

Thanks for your comment. To tell you the truth, I never expected anyone to comment on this post. It’s a pleasant surprise.

Unfortunately I don’t know much about zen, but I’m hoping to learn more about it sometime. Right now I’m trying to be able to recite the sutra, and I think I memorized about 90% of it. To me, the concept of “kuu (空)” seems to be the key…
commented by Blogger obachan, 6/02/2006 12:18 AM  

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