Back from Japan, I am struggling to process memories and energy from a culture both different and synergistic to our own.
Recently, an article written by the Dalai Lama was published in the New York Times, and it called people of all faiths to respect each other and work toward understanding, and peace. He related that at first he thought of his own religion as unique, but as he learned and grew as a soul he came to recognize other paths as valid. He reflected on crying with a Jewish Rabbi on hearing stories of the Holocaust.
And I cannot help but reflect on two places where tears came to my eyes. The picture here is of the shrine of Yushukan (or Yasukuni Jinja), dedicated to Japan's war dead. There is a museum that tells a very different story of the period leading up to The Great Pacific Basin War, or the Pacific portion of what we know as World War II. And perhaps, what matters, is not squaring the differences that led to that War, but seeing the human commonalities. At Yushukan, I found not anger or resentment, but white doves flying from one Gate to another, and people being helpful and friendly.
There is a hall dedicated to Japanese pilots who wrote "last letters" prior to taking off on Kamikaze missions. Right or wrong, these human beings genuinely believed that their nation was under attack, and they freely gave their lives. In dying many of them believed that their spirits would continue to look after their towns and families in death, in a way they could not in life.
And what is so striking in all the time I spent in Japan, is how much this is a forgiving people, and how much, while ready to defend themselves they yearn for peace and compassion.
Reading these human stories brought me to tears, as Yad Vashem brings me to tears, human beings share a common spirit.
There is a place on Kurama Mountain (Kuramayama) described in the book by Jessica Miller, "Reiki's Birthplace." It is usually missed, but easily accessible - I went to this particular spot not through reading the passages in this book, but because a talented Reiki practitioner who we mety in Japan, and who climbed Kuramayama with us, suggested I do so.
The Jessica Miller book concludes that in spite of similarities, "the religion of the followers of Kurama Temple has nothing to do with Reiki" (page 36). On page 86 of this book is a translation of a plaque in this sacred private place that says, "This treasure palace simply exemplifies the teaching of Kurama Mountain. All beings, including humankind, are manifestations of Universal Energy and are created by the Universal Life Being. The teachings of Kurama Mountain are: Be grateful at being given life, and take good care of other lives. Let us live to the fullest in order to improve and evolve our lives as worthy high and profound aspects of the Universal Life Being."
Agreeing or disagreeing with conclusions, this book is worth reading and is highly recommended, but without visiting this place and actually feeling the energy - it is hard to describe. And for many, the challenge will be to get out of their own perspective, and understand that the Creator of Life made many paths.
As I was in Japan, and as I visited various places, I sent energy to friends and patients, family and colleagues - and as well to a private email list of former students of Rick Rivard. While I was in Japan, by chance, Tom Rigler was also criss crossing Japan, and sending energy.
In many places Tom noted the presence of important Reiki energy, and of the presence of statues to Kannon (in Chinese Buddhism Kwan Yin). A statue of Kannon is present on the walk to the grave site of Mikao Usui, and a statue of Kannon is present in the special private place on Kurama Mountain. But the most moving site for me involving a Kannon statue was in Kamakura, where a large ancient statue is present, and mothers pray for the health of their sick children, and for the souls of their departed children.
In Western society, the possibility of "miracles" exist, but we tend not on a day to day basis to expect them, or to really believe in them. At the same time, some people work at Meditation, and having spiritual experiences, connecting with the spirit of living things around them, or the spirits of amcestors looking after them - in our world, such things are "possible." In Japan, it seems to me such things are expected - people seem to generally believe in miracles.
It does not stop them from going to Western doctors, no not all all, since the Meiji restoration Japan has sought science and advanced medical care, it simply means that at the same time, they would seek spiritual support. Use the doctor - but help the doctor along. A holistic spirit, that is something we sometimes, seek, is something that exists in their culture, it is something a school child knows.
Home from Japan, I have a hope that all cultures can attempt to respect and understand each other. From ashes of having cities bombed, and nuclear weapons used against them, I sensed no anger in Japan - simply a desire to have a peace in which they are respected.
Each culture has something to offer others. In Japan, there exists a deep sense of spiritual connection to the world of living beings, all with one creator. There seems a desire to live in harmony with other living beings.