Tuesday, July 19, 2005

Going to Japan

Life here at Great Vow Monastery is fairly high-energy these days, with people getting ready to take the Jizos to Japan. The arrangements are made and the Jizo banners and flags are sewn. Two priests left for Nagasaki on Monday, carrying several large suitcases filled with Jizos. They will be setting up and staffing an exhibit at the Nagasaki Peace Museum http://www.nagasakips.com/ . We plan to post a journal entry and photos on the Jizos for Peace Blog at the end of each day so that those of you supporting us from home can travel along through the Internet. Stay tuned.

Recently, a Google search for “Jizos for Peace” produced 521 hits! Earlier this year the same search found about 20 hits, most of which were repeats from our own website and newsletters. Try it yourself. People share very moving experiences about making Jizos. You’ll find Blogs, photos of families, Australians, school children, myriad Zen centers, and much more. Jizos for Peace has grown far beyond what anyone expected. It seems ludicrous now to think we ever worried about getting press coverage or 270,000 Jizo images. Today’s count is 368,779 Jizos!

The current focus of Jizos for Peace is transporting the Jizos and the pilgrims to Japan. 22 people depart from Portland Airport on July 29, and about 15 others will join the pilgrimage in Japan.

The pilgrimage begins in Kyoto, then moves south to Hiroshima, and ends in Nagasaki. We have been invited to tours of Jizo temples, official ceremonies, the Peace Days in both cities, lantern ceremonies, nursing homes (where we will give Jizos to survivors of the bomb), and more. We will stay in temples along the way, beginning each morning with zazen. And, of course, we will give away the Jizos, which so many people from all over the world have offered.

In Nagasaki, the pilgrimage will end with Japanese people and pilgrims coming together through music. Robert Kyr, a composer from Eugene, is writing a peace symphony, the chorus of which will be performed for the Mayor of Nagasaki this summer. The music is simple and beautiful. In the beginning, the Japanese singers sing in Japanese, while the pilgrims sing the same words in English. As the two groups sing, they move closer and closer together until they merge at the end.

We are still very gratefully accepting donations for priests’ travel expenses, the upcoming peace shrine at Great Vow, a documentary, photography, a traveling exhibit, and more. The mission of Jizos for Peace is for people to uncover the qualities of Jizo within themselves, and then manifest those qualities in the world around them. We hope for your ongoing support as this mission continues in ripples stretching far beyond this August.

--Jihiken Gail Ruff, Jizos for Peace Project Mangager


Blogger Jiki Sen Peg Syverson said...

I'm sending you all my best as you get ready to leave. I miss everyone and hope your pilgrimage is a great success and helps foster the spirit of peace and compassion in a world that sorely needs it. Thank you for everything you've done, the obstacles you've overcome, and the struggles that have been faced in accomplishing this monumental journey. Many hearts go with you.

11:02 AM  

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