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Why do Japanese people love Sakura, or cherry blossoms?

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The Spring has come

河津桜2019満開

Every year, Kawazu Zakura, the earliest blooming Sakura in Kyoto, tells us that tough winter is on the verge of ending. We have some Kawazu Zakura place here but my favorite is Toji temple. Toji a.k.a. Kyoh Gokokuji temple is a few remnant of ancient Hiean Kyo city and is still located in the same place as some 1200 years ago.

Near Miei do hall, we can spot the words of Kukai, the founder of Shingon Buddhism on a sign board. A monk of Toji choose Kukai’s words suitable for a season and write it down on a sheet of paper and stick it on the board every month.

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Sakura and an ancient poem

 

いろは歌

This year, Kawazu Zakura started to bloom earlier than expected but the words were exquisitely chosen:

色は匂へど 散りぬるを

我が世誰ぞ 常ならむ

有為の奥山 今日越えて

浅き夢見じ 酔ひもせず

This is a famous poem used to learn to write Hiragana letters.

For those who learn Japanese language, I’ll show you the poem in Hiragana and its translation:

いろはにほへと ちりぬるを   Blooming flower is to be fade away.

わがよたれそ つねならむ       We are to go away.

うゐのおくやま けふこえて   Do not be indulged in fleeting dream.

あさきゆめみし ゑひもせず   You shall be enlightened.

The last two sentences are translate roughly. It is not easy to translate these sentences are very prolific ones.

The important part of the poem are the first two sentences:

“Blooming flower is to be fade away. We are to go away.”

They stand for “Mujokan”, one of the most important idea which is indigenous to our cultural inheritance and us.

Mujokan is a state of mind to understand everything is subject to be changed; Everything dies and is born in every single moment.

鴨川・高瀬川の桜ライトアップ 2018

Our ways of thinking and behavior depend on the idea because it is an inextricable part of us.

The life expectancy of full blooming Sakura is a few days. Once it bloomed, its petals start to come off and all of them are on the ground in a couple of days later.

We understand the way Sakura blooms and we are in Mujokan when see it.

That’s the reason why Japanese people love and Skura is special for us though we have lots of beautiful flowers in spring.

Of course we are content in the midst of gentle caress of spring wind but we also are amongst of Mujokan being conscious of it or not.

Every spring, Sakura reminds us of the deceased persons who were and still are very close to us.

I hope you enjoy Sakura as we do.

This article is dedicated to the victims of 3.11. and those who in despair all around the world. 合掌。



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