Sundeep Bhutoria

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ess bee

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Sunday, July 18, 2010

The Land of the Rising Sun

The land of the rising sun – Japan - is an archipelago of 6852 islands from where each new Earth day begins. The other and older name of Japan is Nippon that literally means `Sun’s origin’ or `rising sun’ in Japanese and is still used for official purposes like money, postage stamps and international sporting events. Like Bharat, the Japanese also call their country Nihon and their language Nihongo and themselves Nihonjins. In some parts of the country the days are long with 17 to 18 hours of sunlight.
The old and historical capital was Kyoto, a large city situated in the heart of Japan. This city is also known as a `magic city’ surrounded by purple haze-mountains seen from afar. Nature has been very kind on this city. The roads and lanes of this city are like a walk through Japan’s history - old houses, old Buddhist temples and shrines, often located next to each other and visited by almost 75 per cent of Japanese.
One such type of temple is the Kiyamuju temple. Kiyamuju is one of the most popular shrines and Buddha temple. It is like our Ajmer Sharif or Vaishno Devi or Tirupati. In fact while climbing on the hill to this temple I felt like I was climbing one of the Indian temple only. Not just the approach, many other things in the temple strikingly similar to our very own temples in India.
In the backyard of the main temple building there were two big stones kept at a distance of 10 meters.  These stones are called future-teller stones. The belief is that if you love somebody and by taking his or her name and walk the distance between the two stones perfectly with closed eyes, one would get his or her love for sure.
I remember there was a huge queue in sub-zero temperature on that hilltop – people out to test the walk to get their love. Once the wish is fulfilled the person comes back to write a thank you in small wooden plate and hangs it on the wall next to these stones. How revered this place is exemplified in the numerous thank you notes in many mainstream languages of the world.
One more thing, the way of hanging that wooden takhti is same as we see at Rani Sati temple in Jhunjhunu Rajasthan or Vindhya Vasini Devi near Mirjapur in Uttar Pradesh. All things were same there only that it was extremely neat and well organised.
 I also saw different kinds of
 tabiz there i.e., for good marriage, love charms, good health, for profit in business, for safety from enemies, for healthy child and so on. Only one tabiz I could not see there which is very common in our country in the world of tabiz and tuna totka that was a tabiz to bless with a boy child.
There was a metal statue as well. I saw one person was rubbing his right shoulder on the statue. The belief is that the pain in any part of the body would be mitigated or cured if rubbed on the metal statue. I smiled as it reminded me of Ramdev ji Maharaj’s temple where I has seen someone gently rubbing the stomach on the statue to get rid of pain.
There is so much of similarity in the popular religious beliefs of Japan and India. It is so because of Buddhism’s spread to the Far East from India.
I travelled extensively through Japan and it was very interesting to see the modern temples of Japan – the huge factories of Panasonic, National, Toyota, Sanyo and even the famous Asahi Beer factory. At that time Japan had the fastest train system in the world and I did make a trip in that as well (picture).
I haven’t been to Japan since 2002. Let me see if I can go to attend one of the forthcoming Summits. I am eager to see how much has changed in Japan in these eight years.
ess bee

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