-photos Valentin Grigore
text Andrei Dorian Gheorghe
design Florin Alexandru Stancu

Senso-ji Temple
Buddhism next to Shintoism
Asakusa Shrine

In 23 May 2012, on a cloudy weather,
Valentin Grigore and I visited one of the oldest zones in Tokyo
(the largest metropolis the world, with 35 million people),
named Asakusa
and dominated by the Senso-ji Temple
(a Buddhist one, the oldest in the city,
founded in the 7th century)
and the Asakusa Shrine
(a Shinto one,
founded in the 17th century).

I suppose that no stranger can really penetrate
the Japaneses’ thinking,
but it seems they have large and tolerant visions on their religions,
most of them accepting a combination between
(which came from India via China,
with Buddha as the Illuminator
and Nirvana as the supreme target and state in the Universe)
and Shintoism
(the local mythology-religion,
with Amaterasu as the sun-goddess
and the Japanese Emperors as her descendants).

Goodness and Belief
in a perfect Universe
Asakusa zone

Before going to Asakusa
we had passed beside the Tokyo Skytree,
the highest tower and the second highest building in the world (over 600m),
and its image continued to follow us
from the distance even to the Asakusa zone.
(Although Japan is one of the most advanced countries in astronomy, with:
-the national telescope, Subaru the Pleiades - 8 m in diameter -,
placed in Hawaii;
-the most numerous planetariums in the world;
-the famous Japanese Space Agency etc.,
the Japanese people respect the traditions from the past,
the tree that supports the sky
being one of the most spread beliefs on our planet).

That’s why I thought to try to compose a poem in the spirit of Zen
(another Japanese religion-philosophy,
founded in the 12th century,
which evolved from a Buddhist branch
and was adopted by leaders, samurais and artists):

The Senso-ji Temple signifies light from the past.
The Skytree Tower signifies light from the future.
Now dark clouds are dancing over Tokyo, but
The Senso-ji Temple and the Skytree Tower lighten the city.

But we did not forget:
we were in the Land of the Rising Sun,
where the emperors come from the Sun,
and the Sun is engraved on the national flag.

So, in spite of the cloudy sky,
the Sun penetrated the clouds a few times
and Valentin Grigore was photographically awake,
while I decided to end this visit through another haiku
(the most famous Japanese poetic form):

Asakusa zone
Shintoism next to Buddhism
Sun and Nirvana


© 2014 SARM
(Romanian Society for Meteors and Astronomy)