Photo: Sakura in Nogeyama, 1898.
Today the schools and offices of Yokohama have a holiday to allow the people to view the cherry-blossoms. The Japanese call it O Hanami. Men and women, children with their nurses and old folks, are in the country to view the beauty of the blossoms which come, nobody knows from where, for two days. They do not die on the branches; their color does not fade. When they have delivered their message of the love of Buddha and taught a lesson in detachment, they leave the branches in small petals and dance in the wind, as if saying a good-bye to the trees and the wind, and cover mother earth with their purity and beauty. The wind is in love with their high spirit and lifts the petals from the earth to embrace them; but they must go to the Land of Truth, the Platonic Region of Eternal Ideas, the Paradise of the holy Buddha.
“We must cultivate beauty of character in daily life,” declare the cherry-blossoms. Live to diffuse beauty, seeing the eternal, immutable Truth, in the passing and the changing and leave the world like them, smiling, beautifying and peace-giving. Passions are wrong because they cloud our reason, narrow the scope of our heart and localize our soul. Prejudices—that is, unreasoned, uncritical opinions, like fanatical patriotism and race-worship—darken our reason. Love tainted by a desire for possession and personal gratification is like an over-ripe persimmon, full of color but insipid in taste.
(Hari Prasad Shastri; O Hanami: Flower Viewing)
'Seeing God Everywhere: Essays on Nature and the Sacred'
By Philip Zaleski (Foreword), Barry McDonald (Editor), Satish Kumar (Introduction)
This anthology, combining articles by Buddhist, Christian, Islamic, Jewish, and Native American scholar, looks at the environmental crisis through a spiritual lens.