INDIA   -   Seeking the Fountainhead of Wisdom

   ー November ~ December 2007

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India - One of my old boyhood memories is about a female elephant called Indira.  She came from India to Japan by favor of the Prime Minister Jawaharial Nehru.  The big news on such a great present from the far country brightened Japan that had been devastated after the WW II.  I went on a picnic to Ueno Zoo in Tokyo and saw her lovely eyes. Since then, India has become one of my long-cherished countries in the world.  Before Indira coming, very few big animals were in the zoo due to the war.


India is “Ten-jiku,” the old name that sounds like a land in legends for most Japanese.  The image in front of my eyes switches from a plane  figure of India to a three-dimensional view, thinking about the far county, further than China, the place that the sun set over and the place many Japanese has been praying for as “the Pure Land in the West” or Heaven.  From the far country, Buddha’s teachings were brought to Japan (552 AD) through the Silk Road, China and Korea, and formed the basis of Japanese culture.  My most favorite novel in my boyhood was “The Journey to the West” (Sai-Yu-Ki in Japanese), an exciting story where a Chinese monk Sanzang (Sanzo), accompanied by super-powered Monkey King (Sun Wukong, Son-Goku) and other two followers, had a journey to Ten-jiku to study Buddhism while fighting against evil spirits or monsters on the way.  This novel was created based on the actual Xuanzang Sanzang’s journey to India (629-645 AD).  “The Heart Sutra” (Han’nya Shingyo), he retrieved and translated into Chinese, has been the most familiar sutra that teaches us the profound and sophisticated wisdom to attain enlightenment.


In my school days, I learned that Indians excel at abstract and philosophical concept from ancient times.  The commonly used positional notation of numerals using the concept of “zero” was invented by Indians although it is now known as the Arabic numerical system because it was brought to Europe by the Arabic.


Now I am visiting the country to travel alone.  To realize the dream in my boyhood I decided to be a backpacker bringing few belongings.  I will bring my MacBook though to write and upload my experiences as fresh reports on the Internet while traveling. 


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