May 282011

There are many many temples here in Japan, as much (or maybe even more) than churches in Europe. A central building of a temple is the Butsuden, the hall with a Buddha statue.

daibutsuWhen I visit a temple and stand at the gate outside the Butsuden, facing the Buddha, or when I enter or leave the Zendo, I bow to Buddha.

This, I do not because I believe in any kind of mysticism or some religious doctrine, which tells me to do so.

I don’t think that junk of stone or wood displaying a sitting Indian looking person is anyhow special or holy. I am not so sure of the concept of “holiness” anyway, especially not of holy objects …

When I bow to Buddha, I bow to all my “spiritual ancestors”, the long long long line of countless human beings, who devoted their life to study, develop and transmit, what we know as “Buddhism” and as “Zen” today.

I feel very grateful towards them, I want to thank all of them! And for a moment, when I bow, I hold on and remember to not take for granted, that we can sit Zazen every day.