Gesture : Compassion & Wisdom

Japan Adventures (9) : Letting Go of Letting Go

MM900040981Japan is the land of much formality and courtesy. Sometimes, it might even seem ritualistic – even though it is sincere. At least, it can appear so – for those unaccustomed to multiple greetings, smiles and nods which have become second-nature to many Japanese. A friend brought us to visit a Shin Buddhist temple in Nara. To my pleasant surprise, the Abbot came in the main hall with his full robes to have a short chat with us – via my friend’s translation. He had arrived shortly after seeing off another visitor. While we were parting, there were a few other family members at the temple who gave their regards and goodbyes. To my surprise, it went on for quite long (to me at least)… with half bows, waves and many words I unfortunately did not understand. The Abbot waved too. When the farewell by the others must had seemed a little excess to him too, he waved us off with a friendly grin before turning to leave. I appreciate that! And I’m sure he knows that. It was not rude at all. I see that as a simple but sure gesture of both compassion and wisdom… for ‘letting us off’!

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